Kennesaw State dean explores how behavior drives design

KENNESAW, Ga. | Oct 25, 2021

How architects use human behavior to design buildings, parks and more will be the focus of Kennesaw State University’s next Research with Relevance – Deans’ Showcase featuring Andrew Payne, dean of the College of Architecture and Construction Management (CACM).

Andrew Payne
Andrew Payne

The Office of Research is hosting the hybrid event at 4 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 29 in the Design II Building auditorium, room 112 on the Marietta Campus. Guests who prefer to attend virtually can participate in the live video stream on KSUTV.

“In 1979, a documentary titled The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces by William H. ‘Holly’ Whyte highlighted the methods and reasoning behind a designer studying users’ actions in public spaces in New York City. That observational research led to better understanding and improvements in design of public-use spaces,” Payne said. That research also sparked his own interest in the topic.

Payne, who joined CACM as dean in January 2020, is an avid researcher whose career has spanned from design consultancy to research and education. His research focuses on the concept of universal design, particularly wayfinding and perceptible information. These two components combine to help people navigate buildings using signs and graphics. Payne strives to help architects incorporate clear and concise information through wayfinding strategies to make these spaces more accessible, safe and secure.

While pursuing his doctorate at North Carolina State University, Payne noticed how confusing conventional wayfinding and navigational signs could be in everyday spaces. Upon completing his degree, he began researching public outdoor spaces, as well as conducting observational research and behavior tracking of how people moved throughout public buildings, such as urban centers and healthcare facilities.

Over the past 12 years, Payne has integrated his research interest into his work as both a consultant and researcher. Now, as a college dean, he continues this work by reviewing and supporting faculty and student research activities, while still collaborating with businesses to evaluate their wayfinding designs.

For more information on the talk and for information on future dean guests, visit:

– Jacob Segura

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit