2022 CLaSS Strategic Priority Project

UCD Cultural Landscapes and Social Spaces (CLaSS)


UCD Cultural Landscapes and Social Spaces (CLaSS) is a UCD Earth Institute Strategic Priority project for 2022-2024.




Cultural Landscapes and Social Spaces (CLaSS) is led by: Brendan O’Neill (Archaeology) with co-applicants Anita Radini (Archaeology) and Samantha Martin (Architecture).


The Opportunity – From the prehistoric period to today people around the world make/made their houses from locally sourced, organic materials. These structures represent complex relationships between people (culture; society; knowledges), landscapes (places; ecologies), and materials (properties; sustainability). As such, they are unique focal points to consider human/landscape interactions, systems of material procurement and use, and human health and well-being.

The Objective – Bring together interested collaborators from academia and beyond to develop specific research strands and questions using ‘the House’ as a focal point to consider wider themes, including human-nature interactions, material/architectural sustainability, human health and well-being, causes and the mechanisms that drive change.


What can we learn from organic, light framed (seemingly temporary) structures found around the world?

What are the relationships between people, ecology/landscape, health (including mental health)?

How can we balance a healthy environment with how people live?

How can we better induce change while preserving cultural complexity?


CLaSS collage showing hazel coppice, a rainbow over a reconstructed roundhouse, and interior of a reconstructed roundhouse with a fire