A better blog idea
The built environment is a range of systems that is designed to treat us, not as individuals, but as pieces of the herd. This is because large scale diversity and individuality in certain areas of life causes chaos. Many of these frameworks are put into place for maximum efficiency or for maximum economy.
The grid system we use for streets and land division. This is a framework we use to organize our world. This has been the way humans have thought for hundreds of years, in a linear fashion. If I am at 23rd ave and 8th street and I want to go to 27th ave and 5th street I am forced to go up 4 blocks and over 3. I can choose how many turns I want to make but I am forced to travel in the grid. This seems normal for me. I am not shocked that I am forced to behave in such a manner of feel oppressed by this structure that is imposed on me. It has always been this way while I’ve been alive and I fell it will continue to be the same. It is this theory that I have about the built environment. It neither supports nor detracts from who we are but is merely one part of who we are. We behave this way because we are forced to by our environment. We drive on the roads the way we are told because this is how we were taught to drive. The opposition between man and nature is why we use the grid to organize our land, we need to control it.
We stop at the stoplight on red, go on green, and speed up like hell on yellow cause that extra 2 minutes we would spend at the light is too much for us to handle. The built environment in which we live makes us who we are. I grew up in the suburbs and saw nothing wrong with the massive expanses of lawns and row after row of single family homes that made up my environment growing up. This was normal to me and didn’t made me think that this is helping me as a person nor did it make me think it is restricting who I want to be.
I now live in the city as a student and the city is now my environment. As a creature of my environment I use the bus system and drive when needed and have learned the nuances of the one way street. After turning into headlights a couple times I learned to look for which way the street is supposed to go and to follow this sign. I don’t think that forcing me to travel one way instead of the other has changed my soul and made me a different person, it is merely a change of my behavior. Man is a product of his environment and shall behave in the way that his environment dictates.
If A made B and B made C then didn’t A have the ultimate responsibility in making C. We are not so much shaped by our built environment as much as shaped by the ideals of those who created our built environment. William Penn and Thomas Holme are to thank for the grid system our cities are often based on in America. Thomas Jefferson is to thank for our land grid system. Mayor Dorrilus Morrinson is to thank for the start of the public transit system in Minneapolis. It is the people that shaped the systems that in turn shape us that are responsible for our behavior.
For those who think the built environment changes them I tell them to change their environment. If they think our urban sprawl is ruining the environment and causing unneeded dilution of our living density (which I happen to agree with) then they should change it (which I hope to do). The interesting thing about our environment in this age is that our environment no longer has ultimate control over us, we now have ultimate control over our environment. Problem – too many cars, too little space on the roads, Solution – better options for public transit and closer proximity to jobs. Its is that simple. If the environment is changing you in what you see as a negative way then change the environment much in the same way those who created our current environment changed it to fit their ideals. We have that power. This brings me back to the term that man is a product of his environment. This is true but now another age has dawned where environment is a product of man. We determine how we are affected by our surroundings and have the power to change them. Ozayr asked us to explore through image and text how the built environment affects who you are. I ask him to pose another prompt that is to explore through image and text how who you are affects the built environment. This I believe is the better prompt to how frameworks, clockworks and phenomena because in the case of the built environment, we are the creators of these things and even though they help to shape our world, we shape them.