Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Places of the Heart: The Psychogeography of Everyday Life, by Colin Ellard. Bellevue Literary Press, 2015

Psychogeography is, in Ellard’s opinion, how our surroundings affect our moods and behavior. How plants make any place seem better- and make people less apt to destroy things. How featureless concrete expanses make a person nervous and unwilling to linger. How surroundings can awe, suffocate, sooth, or tempt a person (think the insides of shopping malls). He explains how and why people have these reactions, and how they can be used to manipulate people. He also goes into how digital technology is changing things, and how it could be used to alienate or integrate.

This is important stuff for any architect, designer, or city planner. It’s also helpful for just about anyone who wants to understand why the feel the way they do in certain environments. One part I especially liked was when he wrote about Temple Grandin’s slaughter house designs that keep cattle calm instead of panicked as they go to their deaths- this is manipulation at its most obvious. How many places do we frequent that affect us in a similar way without our ever being aware of it? The book is technical but easily readable. Recommended. 

The above is an affiliate link. If you click through and buy something- not just this book but anything- Amazon will give me a few cents. 

I received this book free from the Early Reviewers  program.

Neither of these things influenced my opinion.  

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