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Michael Brill Award
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Michael Brill Award for Urban Communication, Design, and Human Behavior

Sponsored by:

Urban Communication Foundation

Announcing the 2020 Brill Award Recipient

Kyoungmee Kate Byun - Northern Arizona University
Exploration of human perception towards physical settings of an exhibition as a narrative environment: A study using Virtual Reality (VR)

Courtesy of Dr. Sue Weidemann

The Michael Brill Award for Urban Communication, Design, and Human Behavior 
seeks to encourage research projects that connect design and communication theories to human responses in the designed environment. The intent of the Brill Award is to help support innovative work addressing human needs at the intersection of design, human behavior, and communication. The environments under consideration in this research may range in scale from specific interior environments to large-scale urban environments and may also include virtual environments. Priority will be given to new research or significant elements of ongoing research where the grant enables additional work to happen. Research results based on the grant must be presented at an EDRA conference after completion of the work.

The research may focus on design’s influence on the mode, nature, and content of human communication OR examine communication innovations’ influence of design or design requirements.  


This award honors EDRA member Michael Brill, who, while approaching research from the design and human behavior side, encompassed both of these fields in the scope of his life’s work. It extends also the recognition in his work that environment and communication are both undergoing radical change due to technology.


The award is funded by the Urban Communication Foundation and sponsored by the Environmental Design Research Association. Amount of Award: $2,500 per grant


Eligible participants must be EDRA members to apply for and receive this grant.

Application Requirements
Each complete application should include:

  • A statement or research proposal not to exceed two pages in length describing the nature and significance of the project in relatively non-technical terms;
  • Anticipated schedule (expected completion timeline), Plans for dissemination of project results, and budget;
  • An appendix of up to two pages for bibliography, photos, figures, etc. may be included;
  • A copy of the applicant’s current CV or resume.

Criteria for evaluation

  • Clarity of statement of the issue/topic/theory being investigated
  • Degree of originality/innovation in problem framing, approach, research method or analysis
  • How ‘communicative behavior’ plays a part in shaping the physical environment, or, how the environment impacts communicative behavior
  • Role of the physical setting in the research;
  • Methods proposed to address the question/topic;
  • Identification of 3-5 most relevant citations for the research;
  • Budget: Identification of how funds will be used (what proportion, for what activity);
  • How the applicant’s CV ‘fits’ the work proposed.

Michael Brill Award Application Form 

Past recipients

2020 Recipient
Prof. Kyoungmee Kate Byun -  Northern Arizona University 
Exploration of human perception towards physical settings of an exhibition as a narrative environment: A study using Virtual Reality (VR)

2019 Recipient
Chester Harvey- UC Berkeley
How Does Streetscape Design Communicate Walkability and Influence Walking Behavior?

2018 Recipient
Miyoung Hong
Understanding Communication and Patient Care Delivery in Two Different Outpatient Clinic Designs: A Comparison of Onstage/Offstage and Linear Modules.

2017 Recipient
Georgia Lindsay
Communicating Sustainability in the Green Science Museum.

2016 Recipient
Nastaran Tabyanian - Pennsylvania State University
Developing an Online Platform for Participatory Resilient Urban Landscape Design.

2015 Recipients
Seunghae Lee and Paul Platosh - Oregon State University
Wayfinding and Augmented Reality.


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