Welcome to Your World (Hardcover)
How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives
Harper, 9780061957802, 384pp.
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
One of the nation’s chief architecture critics reveals how the environments we build profoundly shape our feelings, memories, and well-being, and argues that we must harness this knowledge to construct a world better suited to human experience.
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 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 nearly seventy million people. This will necessitate a vast amount of new construction—almost all in urban areas—that will dramatically transform our existing landscapes, infrastructure, and urban areas. Going forward, we must do everything we can to prevent the construction of exhausting, overstimulating environments and enervating, understimulating ones. Buildings, landscapes, and cities must both contain and spark associations of natural light, greenery, 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; authentic textures and surfaces, and careful, well-executed construction details are just as important.
Erudite, wise, lucidly written, and beautifully illustrated with more than one hundred color photographs, 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.
Praise For Welcome to Your World: How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives…
“[A} feast for the mind…[with] a vital message: We can and must capitalize on this new knowledge to build more human-centered urban environments. It’s a call to action we ignore at our peril.”
“Goldhagen’s illuminating book on the design of our world begins just where it should, with us and how we live, not with a dazzling shell. She shows us many ways that good design can uplift our lives and how poor design can fail us.”
“A remarkable book and a fascinating exploration of the human experience in the city. Ground breaking, informed, and inspired.”
“Welcome to Your World will go far to help us create healthy, equitable, and thriving cities. This is extremely powerful stuff.”
“Lucidly written in beautiful prose, Welcome to Your World will stimulate and delight professionals, students, and nonprofessionals alike. A must-read!”
[Goldhagen’s] analysis is practical and accessible ….[A] valuable compendium to design analysis and the benefits of progress in contemporary design. An eye-opening look at the ways in which carefully planned and executed design and architecture can expand cognitive faculties and improve daily life.
“Goldhagen’s fresh perspective is deep, exciting, and optimistic.”
“Rarely does a book come along where its very premise is to stop you in your tracks, compel you to look around, take account of where you are standing… [Welcome to Your World] is one of those ‘stop and smell the roses’ experiences.”