SFI Omidyar Fellow Andrew Stier studies how city environments impact their human inhabitants. (image: Dough Merriam)

How much do city environments constrain human behavior? What aspects of a city’s organization affect the psychology and mental health of its inhabitants? Scientific theories anchored in psychology that explain how city spaces shape human behavior are sparse. Omidyar Postdoctoral Fellow Andrew Stier works at the intersection of psychology and urban science to build theoretical models that examine how individuals and large groups adapt to and design city spaces. He holds a Ph.D. in integrative neuroscience from the University of Chicago, where he also earned a Master's in psychology and a B.A. in mathematics and physics.

“I want to extend the models of cities to neighborhoods in urban spaces,” says Stier. “Cities are important to us, and they are useful places to learn about human behavior scientifically. However, can we take these tools and apply them to neighborhoods? That could give us a better understanding of human social interactions.”

While at SFI, he wants to used collaborative research to build theoretical frameworks that examine the nexus of the physical and social environment, human psychology and implicit biases.