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Wellbeing and the Environment

An Overview

Rachel Cooper

Lancaster University, U.K.

The environment is everything that isn't me.

Albert Einstein

The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.

Mark Caine

The two central dimensions of wellbeing and the environment are people and places. To understand this relationship, it is important to understand (a) how humans engage sensorally with their environment, (b) the type and quality of environment, and (c) its impact on people throughout their life course.

Quite simply, people are affected by their environment through their senses. This results in both psychological and physical effects, whereas people are also the agents that create, modify, and maintain much of the material world in which we live and work; a simple description of a very complex system of cause and effect. The more we know about this process and the intervening variables the more we may be able to design better places, moderate effects, and influence behavior.

The main factors in the environment that contribute to wellbeing relate to our sensory stimulation; that is, what we see, smell, touch, taste, and feel. Both the physical and the ambient environment have an effect on our senses.

Noise is cited by many scholars as a negative ambient property in physical environments. For example, noise from apartment neighbors is seen as a major cause of annoyance and reduction in individuals' quality ...

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