Substantively, this is a critique of environmental psycho logy as a positivistic research enterprise; a critique that centres on the predominantly asocial character of the discipline. The central tenets of positivism are outlined, as are the corresponding methodological assumptions that underlie environmental psychology. We argue that, in their subservience to the positivistic cast of thought, environ mental psychologists treat of people as objects. Further, in acceding to the naive expectations of design practi tioners, they play the role of technical handmaiden - they offer comfort in the form of a technical, an instrumental service. That is to say, the discipline treats of the mo ral, the socially rooted dilemmas inherent in the prac tice of design as technicalities, as problems to be resol ved via 'value-free' data. We, on the other hand, claim that efforts to confront such dilemmas - let alone to re solve them - must rest on the recognition of space as a social resource. Rather than providing comfort, this al ternate view seeks an understanding of social reality, of the social world in which designers and psychologists, like others, must act.