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ARS Home » Midwest Area » St. Paul, Minnesota » Soil and Water Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #268779

Title: What Americans Build and Why

item Feyereisen, Gary

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/14/2011
Publication Date: 5/1/2011
Citation: Feyereisen, G.W. 2011. What Americans Build and Why. Journal of Environmental Quality. 40(3):1029.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The purpose of What Americans Build and Why is to foster understanding of the “forces that have shaped our built landscape” in five facets of American life in which facilities play a key role: housing, health care, schools, work, and retail. The book is written from the point of view of an environmental psychologist, that is, from one whose interest is determining the effect the built environment has on human behavior and wellbeing. The author concludes that bigger has not been better for Americans and that to recover our lost “sense of togetherness,” we need a return to physical environments that support interactions between persons. The author favors “smallness,” citing new urbanism city planning, smaller schools or the school within- a-school concept, workplaces that support places for collaboration as well as individual focus, and a post-mall retail environment built with an eclectic mix of stores, farmers markets, and park space, as positive steps toward regaining spaces that facilitate development of interpersonal relationships.