Response Papers

Response Papers



Response Papers

Theme 1: Residential Space

In The Environment Called Home, by Sydney Smith, he argues, “… home thus becomes a concept whereby individuals and groups experience a particular spatial, temporal, and sociocultural understanding, which adds to reinforce a sense of the self, family and community,” (Kopec, 2012. p. 175). After a day’s work, every person wants to go to a place they can call home and feel a sense of belonging and ownership. Although people associate home with owning a physical space where one lives with his or her family, the meaning is broader than that. For people who move around often, they call the places they spend most of their time resting and doing other domestic activities home.

In another point, the author argues that what defines a home is the attachment that one has with a place. I find this quite true because places where one hardly has fond memories are hard to refer or feel at home. The memories bring attachments to a place that makes one either want to go back or not. For most people, home is the place they grew up and had many experiences. When I am at home, all the fond childhood memories come back. These memories are completely different from those of other places. The place attachment plays a crucial role in shaping one’s behavior such as engaging in behaviors that one would not do in other places.

The author goes ahead to argue that place attachment is formed over time. This is quite true considering that one has to stay in a place for some time before they can call it home. It takes time to form social experiences and memories in order to create an attachment to a physical environment. As aforementioned, many people define home as a place they have lived for a significant amount of time during their lifetime. A home is a place where people go back to regularly with the intention of spending most of their time when away from other things such as work. Therefore, time is crucial in defining a home.   

Theme 2: Work Environments

            In Work Environments, Janetta Mitchell McCoy argues that, “The physical workplace is one component of the complex system of relationship in the changing work environment,” (McCoy, 2002. pp. 443). Today, the changing work environments require good integration of interaction, autonomy and a sense of identity for better organizational performance. Different kinds of work and operations require different physical designs to facilitate performance. For instance, group work, teamwork and other operations that require collaboration between different workers need shared spaces for meetings. Such shared spaces ensure exchange of ideas and information. In addition, for people to work together, it is important to have close contact within the workplace. An example is working in the service industry where two or more people need to come together in order to develop an idea. This requires shared spaces such as hallways, cafes and offices.

            In addition to the physical space being a component of the complex system, McCoy further argues that it should facilitate communication within the organization. In current business world, communication of information is among the most critical factors that determine success. An organization with poor communication has very low chances of remaining competitive considering collaboration is reliant on this. Physical space can achieve this through creating variety of places where people can come face to face. For instance, having common snack areas allows people to meet more often.

            In addition to physical space allowing collaboration, physical space can be designed to suite different needs of the organization (McCoy, 2002). In organizations that rely on innovation and creativity, physical space should try to achieve autonomy. This can be achieved through private space, away from distractions. For instance, a scientist working on a drug will need to have a different working space from others in order to avoid distractions. This allows one’s creativity to come out as opposed to open floor office plans. Therefore, organizations should be kin about how they use physical space considering relationship between people and working environments contributes to performance.

Theme 3: Commercial Space

            Bo Derek in Retail and Service Environments argues that branding is a combination of different elements that include color, imagery, slogans and others in order to create an identity. Within this combination, physical space is part of the retail and service environments. This point portrays current business strategies for gaining competitive advantage. In addition, these elements not only portray identity, but also give consumers something to associate. For instance, when coca cola is mentioned, people think of red color because its packaging and shops are painted red. In addition, when its slogan is mentioned, people think of opening happiness. Such elements combine to create the physical space, and branding that people create an attachment. In addition, this helps in leaving people with an image to remember about the product and services offered by a company. Another example is the bitten apple in Apple Corporation’s products that creates its identity and branding. Such unique features are critical in defining retail and service environments.

            Another point put across in the article is how creation of such brands and attachment adds value to the products and services. For example, Cadillac vehicles will cost higher than Chevrolet vehicles despite having the same specifications. This is because Cadillac was branded as a higher value vehicle from the time it had more features than the Chevrolet. However, this value is not only created by the amenities provided in the vehicle. The location of the physical location also demands the value created. When the retail space is located in highly affluent areas, people associate it with high value compared to those located in lower affluence areas. This is for not only vehicles but also other products and services. It is the concept used in price discrimination.

Theme 4: Educational Space

            In Learning and Education, Albert Einstein argues that people at various ages of development have different needs when it comes to education. Considering that education is based around the development of a person from when they are children until they are adults, learning and education space should suit needs of each group. The same way different ages require different learning curriculums, it is the same way different kinds of learning space are required (Einstein, 2012). For instance, at a tender age, children are more of visual learners. Therefore, the learning space needs to offer this feature by use of colors and drawings that motivate people at their age. In addition, physical amenities such as doorknobs, washrooms and other necessities should be at varying commodes to allow the young children to use without difficulty. The point put across is quite true considering that kindergarten and young children learning spaces are painted with bright colors that encourage children to learn.

            Another argument presented is the fact that attachment to a learning space increases the learners’ morale (Einstein, 2012). A sense of ownership is important for all people whether at work or at school. A sense of ownership can be created through by incorporation of student work into the learning spaces. With their work displayed, one feels a sense of ownership to the place. This also works as a motivator to learning. For instance, if a student or a group participates in an event and wins, their trophy can be displayed in the learning environment in order to encourage a sense of belonging and ownership, which is important in learning. Placement of such achievement allows one to associate and attach to a place because of the experiences and feelings one gets when they are honored.

Theme 5: Healthcare Space

            Healing process requires environments that are conducive to make patients comfortable. In Health Care Environments, by Pedro Almodovar argues that patients need to feel their dignity, respect and a feeling of being at home. Having a good environment is crucial to the healing process. As research ahs shown, earlier hospitals were poorly designed and did not heed to needs of patients such as separations of those with communicable diseases from those without. This increases chances of contracting other diseases instead of healing. Privacy and separation of patients with communicable diseased is very crucial in ensuring safety of all people including families of the patients.

From my experience, hospitals are supposed to be second homes where one spends time during healing process or where healing is facilitated. For admitted patients, comfort is of utmost importance in their healing process. In addition, a place where one can create attachment and feel good increases the emotions required for healing. Conversely, environments are not friendly elicit the wrong emotions, lowering patients’ moods and in some cases causing stress and depression, which can be detrimental to healing process. In designing hospitals, exclusion of facilities that remind one is in an institution of the sick is not good. Rather, designers should incorporate elements that present patients with a sense of home and belonging. Such elements as lawns and benches allow people to interact with their visitors to create a good experience that boosts one’s emotions.

Therefore, hospital designers should seek to create an environment that encourages positive emotions in patients that are necessary for healing process. In addition, the needs of the hospital operations are important. Areas that are frequented need to be accessible from various points of entry and exits. These are areas such as the receptions. In addition, some areas such as emergency gates and doors need to be free of traffic all the time. This can be achieved by designing a separate section. Such a section should also not include stairs at the entrance considering patients requiring such services are brought in ambulances.

Theme 6: Community and the City

In this chapter, Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED): Yes, No, Maybe and All of the Above, Ralph B. Taylor argues that difference in the physical design in various placed contributes to the rate of crime. He argues that areas with higher crime rates have denser housing designs, mixed up with commercial, residential and industrial buildings and busier compared to areas with lower crime rates are. This is quite true considering that majority of crimes take place in less affluent areas, where houses are small and concentrated within small areas. Such areas tend to offer difficulties to security officers patrolling them. To the criminals, the densely designed houses offer easy chances of not being caught. As such, the difference in environment contributes to the level of crime.

            This argument is supported by the fact that some areas have higher rates of crime while others have lower. Comparing two such areas shows a difference in the environment. This means that changing the environment would reduce the rate of crime. One idea that struck me was the issue on high-rise residential buildings, such as Robert Taylor Homes in Chicago, considered the most dangerous neighborhood in United States. Such buildings make it hard for people to mobilize vigilance groups considering the number of people that live in such buildings. With low-rise buildings, implementing security measures such as fencing and putting barriers is possible.    

            In addition, this chapter makes an argument that the concept of defensible space is empowering people to take part in maintaining security of their area (Newman, 1996). This is done through motivating people to preserve peace through vigilance groups. Today, such security measures have become popular in the United States where people take part in neighborhood watch. However, the design of the community is extremely crucial considering it requires having minimal entry points from where an offender can get through without being seen. For example, building gated communities increases security measures because an offender will have very few routes through which to enter without being spotted. Therefore, design is quite important in influencing security of an area. I agree with the argument Taylor (2002) makes that physical design of different areas contributes to the disparity concerning crime.


Almadovar, P. (2012). Health Care Environment, In David Alan Kopec, Environmental Psychology for Design, 2nd Edition, New York: Fairchild Books, pp. 257-276.

Derek, B. (2012). Retail and Service Environments. In David Alan Kopec, Environmental Psychology for Design, 2nd Edition, New York: Fairchild Books, pp. 297-320.

Einstein, A. (2012). Learning and Education. In David Alan Kopec, Environmental Psychology for Design, 2nd Edition, New York: Fairchild Books, pp. 213-234

McCoy, J. M. (2002). “Work Environments” in Bechtel and Churchman, 
eds., Handbook of Environmental Psychology. New York: Wiley and Sons. pp. 443-460 

Newman, O. (1996). Creating Defensible Space. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. pp. 9-63.

Smith, S. (2012). The Environment Called Home. In David Alan Kopec, Environmental Psychology for Design, 2nd Edition, New York: Fairchild Books, pp. 175195.

Taylor R. (2002) “Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED): Yes, No, Maybe, Unknowable, and All of the Above” in Bechtel and Churchman, eds., Handbook of Environmental Psychology. New York: Wiley and Sons. pp. 413-426.

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