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Immersive Design Research Lab

Coordinator – Associate Professor Heather Barker


Responding to the need for active design research as critical to design practice, while taking on the challenges of sustainability, urbanism, technology, and human value; the Immersive Design Research Lab (IDRL) at Cal State Long Beach engages in a continuous program of interdisciplinary projects – both investigating and initiating behavior in high- and low-tech participatory environments. At the core of this active research is the changing human experience at the intersection of technology and space. The IDRL provides the foundation to create value through the catalytic action of creative endeavors, innovative teaching and engaged service to the community as collaborative partners with visionary people and organizations.


Current Research and Projects

logos for pando populus , IDRL, CSULB and LA County Sustainability

Los Angeles County Sustainability Plan towards the 2028 Olympics, ‘Pando Days’ Initiative:  Long Beach - Urban Ocean City


We are engaged community partners, mobilized to empower the people of our diverse neighborhoods (both as hosts and as entrusted keepers) linking our rivers and magnificent ocean along an unbroken green ring of healthy activities; working to become a model of culture driving sustainable human living at the urban ocean interface.

logos, UN sustainable development and urban ocean interfaces

Applied Research, Teaching, and Practice 

The lab provides an opportunity to create designed environments that simultaneously stimulate and read human behavior. The research allows for a low-expenditure means to study human learning and response within real-world simulations. This work has applications ranging from disaster relief training to strategic merchandising and consumer behavior studies. Interdisciplinary at the core, the research is designed to develop a hybrid material/immaterial context and draws on geo- and psycho-spatial expertise developed through collaborating partners from architecture, engineering, psychology, neuro- and behavioral science, computer science, sociology, anthropology, business, film, human factors, and the arts and design.



Oculus Demo VR day, left with Lab Researchers, right

The IDRL, established in 2015 and recognized by the CSU Office of the Chancellor, was made possible through a catalytic donation from Nissan Design America and an award by the CSULB Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP). Special thanks to the Department of Design, the College of the Arts, Arlena Kauppi, and Cyrus Parker-Jeannette.

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