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A Critique of the Built Environment: How We Built Unhappiness

One writer's view of the modern city goes negative. If our environment affects our happiness, surely we're all suffering from depression.
January 19, 2016, 8am PST | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Jeremy Segrott

Architect Bill Beard gives his critique of America’s miserable built environment in an essay on AdBusters. Pulling few punches, Beard offers a scathing assessment of our "flat, dystopian landscape," which at best is a succubus on our creative spirits.

Our common daily experience in the modern American anywhere is anything but robust. We live in un-places, built of cheap materials, ignorant of scale and proportion, executed with little care, imbued with no trace of the human hand and lacking in a sense of context - which can only create humans of similar character. That is to say that humans implicitly absorb the character of their surroundings. Ugly, thoughtless, depressing surroundings do not encourage beautiful, creative, vigorous people - people with soul and spirit.

The take-away from Beard's assessment is that we're doomed if we do nothing to fix things. The impacts on our health and well-being might not be visible in the short term, but this "ailing built environment condition" will irreparably harm our society in the not so distant future.

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Published on Friday, January 1, 2016 in Adbusters
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