Lorraine Maxwell
Associate Professor

Web Bio Page

Current Activities

Current Professional Activities
  • Member, Environmental Design Research Assoication
  • Member, International Association of People-Environment Studies  
  • Member, Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues


  • Current Research Activities
    I investigate the role of the physical environment in children's and adolescents' behavior, health, and development. I am interested in residential settings, school and childcare settings, playgrounds and outdoor settings, museums, and public spaces. In particular, I am interested in the cumulative effects of noise and crowding when young people are exposed in more than one setting and in the role of the physical environment in children's and adolescents' development of competency, self-efficacy, and self-esteem. My research activities also include investigating indoor air quality issues related to child development.


    Biographical Statement
    I joined the faculty in Design and Environmental Analysis in 1993 as my first full time academic appointment. Prior to coming to Cornell I was a facility planner and programmer for an architectural firm in New York City.  After obtaining a masters degree in city and regional planning worked I worked as a city planner for a large city in New Jersey. My PhD is in psychology, specifically environmental psychology. My research interests have always been, and continue to be, related to the ways in which the physical environment relates to children's and adolescents' development, behavior, and well being. Noise and crowding are of particular interest to me, especially when children are exposed to these potential sources of stress in more than one setting as well as the role of the environment in children's development of competency and self-efficacy and self-esteem.

    More recently my research interests have grown to include the role of the physical environment of home, school, and neighborhood in the development of identity, self-esteem, and self-efficacy in children and adolescents. My initial appointment at Cornell included responsibilities in Cooperative Extension. My primary program was to work with the child care industry in New York State providing training and educational materials for child care providers and parents. As of the spring semester of 2005 my appointment was changed to research and teaching. I teach the department's architectural programming class (DEA 4590/6500) as well as DEA 4100 Facility planning and design in a diverse society, and DEA 4150 Strategic facility planning for social institutions.

  • Ph.D. 1990 Graduate Center of the City University of New York
  • M.C.R.P. 1974 - Rutgers University
    City and Regional Planning
  • B.A. 1968 - Queens College of the City University of New York
    History/Political Science

  • Keywords
    Children and adolescents, Environmental Psychology, Residential environments, School environments, Noise, Crowding, Child care environments, Facility programming

    Courses, Websites, Pubs

    Courses Taught

    Selected Publications
    Maxwell, L. E. (2009). Chaos outside the home: The school environment (pp.83-96). In G.W. Evans & T.D. Wachs (Eds). Chaos and its influence on children's development: An ecological perspective. Washington DC: American Psychological Association.

    Maxwell, L.E., Mitchell, M.R., & Evans, G.W. (2008). Effects of play equipment and loose parts on preschool children’s outdoor play behavior: An observational study and design intervention. Children, Youth and Environments, 18 (2), 37-63.

    Maxwell, L.E. & Chmielewski, E. J. (2008). Environmental personalization and elementary school children’s self-esteem. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28, 143-153.

    Maxwell, L.E. (2007). Competency in child care settings: The role of the physical environment. Environment and Behavior, 39(2), 229-245.

    Maxwell, L.E. (2007). Preschool and day care environments. In R. Lueder & V. Rice (Eds). Child Ergonomics (pp. 653-688). New York: Taylor and Francis.

    Maxwell, L.E. (2006). Crowding, class size, and school size. In H. Frumkin, R. Geller, I. L. Rubin, & J. Nodvin (Eds.), Safe and Healthy School Environments (pp. 13-19). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

    Maxwell, L.E. (2006). Noise. In H. Frumkin, R. Geller, I.L. Rubin, & J. Nodvin (Eds.), Safe and Healthy School Environments (pp. 34-45). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

    Laquatra, J., Maxwell. L.E. & Pierce, M. (2005). Indoor air pollutants: Limited-resource households and childcare facilities. Journal of Environmental Health, 67(7), 39-43

    Miller, A.S. & Maxwell, L.E. (2003). Exploring the role of home design in fostering family interaction: The use of programming methods in research. Journal of Interior Design, 29, 50-65.

    Maxwell, L.E. (2003). Home and School density effects on elementary school children. Environmental Behavior, 35(4), 566-578

    Maxwell, L.E. & Killeen, J.P. (2002). Museum Visits: Experiences of special education and typically developing children. Journal of Museum Education, 27 (1), 18-21.

    Maxwell, Lorraine & Evans, G.W. (2000). The effects of noise on preschool children's prereading skills. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 20, 91-97.

    Evans, G.W., Maxwell, Lorraine, & Hart, B. (1999). Parental language and verbal responsiveness to children in crowded homes. Developmental Psychology, 35(4), 1020-1023.

    Maxwell, Lorraine (1998). Designing childcare settings: A child centered approach. Ithaca, NY: Cornell Cooperative Extension.

    Maxwell, L.E. (1996). Multiple effects of home and daycare crowding. Environment & Behavior, 28 (4), 494-511