Chukwuemeka V. Chukwuemeka: A behavior-centered architectural reinvention of public toilets

July 24, 2023

A reinvented public toilet would enhance access to safe, clean and sustainable sanitation facilities worldwide while minimizing the risk of spreading infection.

Almost 2.3 billion people do not have toilets, and about 4 billion people still lack access to safely managed sanitation. Public toilets are critical in the fight against the spread of diseases, and yet public toilet design has not changed in the last 200 years. Today’s public toilets can be claustrophobic and inaccessible, difficult to clean and maintain, feel unsafe, and are not user friendly, especially for women, children, the disabled and senior citizens.

An improved redesign and reconfiguration would address the problems associated with using and maintaining public toilets while also mitigating the prevalence of over 50 different infectious diseases and reducing the risk of epidemics. Drawing on his background as an architect and designer, Chukwuemeka V. Chukwuemeka is reimagining the spatial configuration of public toilets to include ventilation systems, bio-aerosols elimination, sterilization of microbial activity on surfaces, and motion sensing to detect body activity patterns.

Chukwuemeka is creating a behavior-centered redesign through the exploration of human motivation, judgment, decision-making and perceptions at the individual and collective level. By combining observations of human behavior with sanitation and maintenance requirements, Chukwuemeka is pioneering a new public toilet design that is easy to clean and maintain while enhancing user comfort, safety and health.

“Sanitation is a primary element of our humanity. By creating a design that factors in human behavior, we can improve the human experience and reduce the transmission of disease.” – Chukwuemeka V. Chukwuemeka

Eldar Shafir, Class of 1987 Professor in Behavioral Science and Public Policy. Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs

Development status:
This idea is in the prototyping stage. Princeton welcomes interest from any party that would like to explore collaboration opportunities to accelerate the project’s development.

Kahneman-Treisman Center for Behavior Science and Public Policy

Learn more:
[email protected]

Licensing contact:
Anthony Williams
Associate Director, Office of Technology Licensing
[email protected]