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December 4, 2017 / societyforhumanecology

Special Issue HER: Call for contributed papers Uncovering the Great Indoors

Call for Papers: Uncovering the Great Indoors: transdisciplinary perspectives on indoor ecosystems and their impacts

Special Issue of the Human Ecology Review

Guest Editors: Rachael Wakefield-Rann, Dr Dena Fam


The earth is comprised of multiple biomes; habitats that support particular forms of life and ecosystems. Today, the most rapidly expanding biome on earth is the indoor environment. As cities and buildings have expanded to cover the earth in both horizontal and vertical space, they have created new habitats for different species and ecosystems to thrive.

It has been estimated that people in many industrialised regions of the world now spend up to 90% of their lives indoors. As a consequence, it is imperative that we gain an integrated understanding of the composition of indoor environments, what affects them, and how they affect human and ecological health. Yet, very little is known about the indoor ecosystems that we inhabit. What is known tends to be confined within disciplinary silos, obfuscating the ways that objects, bodies, structures and meanings interact and react to create indoor ecologies.

This lack of integrated knowledge is concerning, as research across disciplines is revealing correlations between components of indoor environments and damage to human and environmental health. For example, recent medical research suggests a strong link between ‘farm like’ microbial communities in the home and low incidence of childhood allergies.[1] There is also toxicological research demonstrating that chemicals used in building materials and consumer products effect the health of building occupants, and the environments in which the chemicals in products are dispersed and disposed of.[2] The way these micro-agents cause harm is complex, non-liner and relational. The way that both chemicals and microbes behave depends on the other chemicals and organisms they interact with, and how they travel through space over time.[3]

This Special Issue offers a unique opportunity, and challenge, to scholars interested in connecting their research to others working to address and improve sub-optimal indoor environments. In an attempt to transcend disciplinary boundaries and draw on what are often disparate areas of research, this special issue invites transdisciplinary perspectives on indoor ecosystems as a complex, ‘wicked’[4] problem.

Full details are in the attached document

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