How design can (not) support human flourishing

Anna Pohlmeyer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific

7 Citations (Scopus)


What role does the design of products, services, and the built environment have on people's psychological well-being? This chapter introduces the emerging field of Positive Design, which studies the mechanisms and manifestations of design that stimulates human flourishing. After a brief account of research on Positive Psychology Interventions, this chapter examines the possibilities and limitations of design for well-being. It is argued that especially the enablement of pleasurable and meaningful experiences and activities in daily life is a promising approach. Four Positive Design examples related to taking notice and savouring are provided in order to illustrate new forms of Positive Psychology Interventions. These examples range from designs whose explicit core function is the promotion of well-being to common, everyday products that foster determinants of well-being as an additional effect. A number of challenges that Positive Psychology Interventions in practice currently face and the potential benefits of Positive Design are considered. In particular, this chapter discusses the strengths of Positive Design in terms of reach, adherence, and person-context-activity-fit.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPositive Psychology Interventions in Practice
EditorsC. Protctor
Number of pages21
EditionPart III
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-319-51787-2
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-51785-8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Positive design
  • Positive psychology
  • Happiness
  • Well-being
  • Interventions
  • Experience Design


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