Chapter 7. What Humans Make

Civilization is a limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities.

—MARK TWAIN

The Built Environment

AS HUMANS, WE ARE the source of much of the environment we live in, including roads, buildings, and cities, as well as the social interactions and relationships we have, which influence our choices and behaviors every day. Architects and engineers refer to the human-made structures as the built environment. Although there are certainly big differences between the built environment and the natural one, our perception of context comes from the same cognitive capabilities, whether we’re surrounded by towering skyscrapers or giant redwoods. From the human point of view, the products of our culture are separate from ...

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