A notable characteristic of the field of people and environment relations is that it is multi - disciplinary. This ensures that there is the potential for a rich mix of different types of knowledge, approaches to research and theoretical orientations. However while this potential exists it also brings with it a number of problems, and it is one of these problems and ways of addressing it that form the basis for the paper. For those who come from outside of the design disciplines there is a problem about the relationship between the knowledge they have and how it is related to the physical environment. For many of the social sciences the physical environment is not considered to be relevant to the phenomena of interest.