The Great Indoors (Hardcover)

The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness

By Emily Anthes

Scientific American / Farrar, Straus and Giro, 9780374166632, 304pp.

Publication Date: June 23, 2020

List Price: 27.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

A fascinating, thought-provoking journey into our built environment

Modern humans are an indoor species. We spend 90 percent of our time inside, shuttling between homes and offices, schools and stores, restaurants and gyms. And yet, in many ways, the indoor world remains unexplored territory. For all the time we spend inside buildings, we rarely stop to consider: How do these spaces affect our mental and physical well-being? Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Our productivity, performance, and relationships?

In this wide-ranging, character-driven book, science journalist Emily Anthes takes us on an adventure into the buildings in which we spend our days, exploring the profound, and sometimes unexpected, ways that they shape our lives. Drawing on cutting-edge research, she probes the pain-killing power of a well-placed window and examines how the right office layout can expand our social networks. She investigates how room temperature regulates our cognitive performance, how the microbes hiding in our homes influence our immune systems, and how cafeteria design affects what—and how much—we eat.

Along the way, Anthes takes readers into an operating room designed to minimize medical errors, a school designed to boost students’ physical fitness, and a prison designed to support inmates’ psychological needs. And she previews the homes of the future, from the high-tech houses that could monitor our health to the 3D-printed structures that might allow us to live on the Moon.

The Great Indoors provides a fresh perspective on our most familiar surroundings and a new understanding of the power of architecture and design. It's an argument for thoughtful interventions into the built environment and a story about how to build a better world—one room at a time.



About the Author

EMILY ANTHES is a freelance science journalist. Her work has appeared in Seed, Scientific American Mind, Discover, Slate, Good, New York, and the Boston Globe. She has a master's degree in science writing from MIT and a bachelor's degree in the history of science and medicine from Yale, where she also studied creative writing. She is the author of Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling Up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.


Praise For The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness

"The Great Indoors is that rare book that remains both honest and optimistic about the problems we face, from pandemic disease to social isolation, and—even better—is ambitious enough to identify real potential for change surrounding us in the architecture of our daily lives. Inspiring." Geoff Manaugh, New York Times–bestselling author of A Burglar’s Guide to the City

"A trip into the great indoors with Emily Anthes is a journey into fascination, dismay, and the occasional jolt of pure wonder." —Deborah Blum, author of The Poison Squad: One Chemist's Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety at the Turn of the 20th Century