Response Paper 8

Response Paper 8       




Response Paper 8       

Gender and Environmental Psychology

I found the comparison and analysis between gender, human anatomy, sexual symbolism and spatial space to be interesting. I had not thought of how people relate the landscape to the body, or how they use the social constructs to determine spatial space. The ideas advanced by the society which always seem to place men in a superior position, and women in a place where they always look up to men, or always have to defend their rights, permeates itself in architectural designs. Height is an important element that defines social status. The idea that many managers prefer high buildings, pent houses, and top most floors for their offices shows the importance of height as a symbol of superiority. The influence that a patriarchal system has on the rest of the society is present from the beginning of time. The author shows how the mountain, being the highest place, was important to the worship of the gods (Weisman, 1992).

Gender differences, roles and responsibilities are defined when still at a young age. Young boys learn that they are meant to occupy greater territories and to be spatially dominant through their behavior. Young girls learn their role of supporting the men and having little, if any dominance over space. The author’s illustrates this by showing how people expect girls to sit in a ladylike manner, which essentially means in a restrained position. This is not just a matter of decency, but it is a way to reaffirm their position within the society. Young boys do not face any obstacles in anything they do, and they grow up with this mentality. These ideas show why men are always ready to defend their property, even if it means denying women what belongs to them. The idea that this is reflected in different spheres of human life, including the way that people design buildings, show lack of willingness to change. However, women in many developed societies have realized greater freedom. They are not afraid to own the pent houses or occupy top floors.

Phenomenology and Environmental Psychology

People have taken architecture to greater heights as they design buildings that were not thought of a century earlier. The buildings are made with all sorts of materials and they have different shapes. Yet, reading about vision and knowledge makes one wonder whether the buildings serve the purpose for which they were intended. The author makes a strong point on how architecture developed as a matter of sight. People regard the sense of sight highly, and they consider it more important than other senses. They use it to make decisions and to judge, even though they are not always accurate. People’s reliance of vision has come at the expense of other important dimensions. Their lack of insight on how they can design buildings when incorporating other senses has led them to ignore the importance of valuing the age dimension (Pallasmaa, 2005).

            The author has raised important points in this discussion. Over time, impressive buildings have collapsed and others have been destroyed because of natural factors. People have studied the reason for failure in different architectural projects. They have this information, yet they do not use it to increase their architectural capacity. Vision remains an important dimension because it ensures that buildings retain their physical appeal. However, incorporating other senses will lead to the construction of better structures, which will serve their purpose and endure for long. They will be more interested in finding the age dimension, which will make building last longer. Some of the structures build many years ago, such as the pyramids in Egypt, are still standing to this day because the architects were more concerned with the purpose they would serve and not just with their physical appeal.


Pallasmaa, J. (2005). The eyes of skin: Architecture and the senses. London: Wiley-Academy

Weisman, K. L. (1992). The spatial caste system: design for social inequality. Discrimination by design: A feminist critique of the man-made environment. Urbana-Champaign, IL: University of Chicago Press

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