Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives

By Sarah Williams Goldhagen
Read by Andrea Gallo

9.17 Hours 04/11/2017 unabridged
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Taking us on a fascinating journey through some of the world’s best and worst landscapes, buildings, and cityscapes, Sarah Williams Goldhagen draws from recent research in cognitive neuroscience and psychology to demonstrate how people’s experiences of the places they build are central to their well-being, their physical health, their communal and social lives, and even their very sense of themselves. From this foundation, Goldhagen presents a powerful case that societies must use this knowledge to rethink what and how they build: the world literally needs better designed, healthier environments that address the complex range of human individual and social needs. By 2050, America’s population is projected to increase by another eighty million people. The amount of new construction that will be needed—almost all in urban areas—will be roughly equal to one-third of all the buildings, landscapes, infrastructure, and urban areas that exist today. Now is the time for us to seriously reconsider the importance of the built environment’s design—how and what we build, and what for. We must do everything we can to prevent the construction of both exhausting, overstimulating environments and enervating, understimulating ones. Buildings, landscapes, and cities must both contain and spark associations of natural light, greenery, climatological variation, and other ways of being in landscapes that humans have evolved to need and expect. Fancy exteriors and dramatic forms are never enough, and may not even be necessary: Goldhagen demonstrates that authentic textures and surfaces, and careful, well-executed construction details are just as important. Goldhagen supports her exhortations by comparing and contrasting examples of good and bad design in schools, homes, workplaces, and parks around the world. Erudite, wise, and lucidly written, Welcome to Your World is a vital, eye-opening guide to the spaces we inhabit, physically and mentally, and a clarion call to design for human experience.

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Summary

Summary

Taking us on a fascinating journey through some of the world’s best and worst landscapes, buildings, and cityscapes, Sarah Williams Goldhagen draws from recent research in cognitive neuroscience and psychology to demonstrate how people’s experiences of the places they build are central to their well-being, their physical health, their communal and social lives, and even their very sense of themselves. From this foundation, Goldhagen presents a powerful case that societies must use this knowledge to rethink what and how they build: the world literally needs better designed, healthier environments that address the complex range of human individual and social needs.

By 2050, America’s population is projected to increase by another eighty million people. The amount of new construction that will be needed—almost all in urban areas—will be roughly equal to one-third of all the buildings, landscapes, infrastructure, and urban areas that exist today. Now is the time for us to seriously reconsider the importance of the built environment’s design—how and what we build, and what for.

We must do everything we can to prevent the construction of both exhausting, overstimulating environments and enervating, understimulating ones. Buildings, landscapes, and cities must both contain and spark associations of natural light, greenery, climatological variation, and other ways of being in landscapes that humans have evolved to need and expect. Fancy exteriors and dramatic forms are never enough, and may not even be necessary: Goldhagen demonstrates that authentic textures and surfaces, and careful, well-executed construction details are just as important. Goldhagen supports her exhortations by comparing and contrasting examples of good and bad design in schools, homes, workplaces, and parks around the world.

Erudite, wise, and lucidly written, Welcome to Your World is a vital, eye-opening guide to the spaces we inhabit, physically and mentally, and a clarion call to design for human experience.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Architecture critic Goldhagen makes a passionate, persuasive plea for better design—a built environment that places humans before the ‘short-term or parochial interests.’” Publishers Weekly
“Goldhagen’s fresh perspective is deep, exciting, and optimistic, and this is a solid recommendation for readers interested in big, positive change.” Booklist
“Practical and accessible…A valuable compendium to design analysis and the benefits of progress in contemporary design.” Kirkus Reviews
“Illuminating…[Goldhagen] shows us many ways that good design can uplift our lives and how poor design can fail us.” Barbara Tversky, professor emerita of psychology, Stanford University
Welcome to Your World will go far to help us create healthy, equitable, and thriving cities. This is extremely powerful stuff.” Faith Rose, former executive director of the Public Design Commission, City of New York
“A remarkable book and a fascinating exploration of the human experience in the city. Ground breaking, informed, and inspired.” Mikyoung Kim, landscape architect

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Reviews

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Author

Author Bio: Sarah Williams Goldhagen

Sarah Williams Goldhagen taught at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design for ten years and was recently the New Republic’s architecture critic. Currently a contributing editor at Architectural Record, she is an award-winning writer who has written for many national and international publications, including the New York Times, American Prospect, Art in America, Harvard Design Magazine, Landscape Architecture Magazine, L’Architecture d’Aujourd’hui, and the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. She lives in New York City.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction
Runtime: 9.17
Audience: Adult
Edition: English