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Winter Course – The Human Experience of Place

LARCH 361 | 3 credit course | VLPA | I&S

This course will explore the nature and nuances of interrelationships between people and their surroundings by examining an array of critical issues in environmental psychology. Here, the environment is broadly defined to include not only our physical surroundings (both natural and built) but also the larger socio-cultural, economic and political milieu in which we live. Starting with foundational theories on place attachment and place identity, the course will also cover classic issues that help inform urban ecological design, such as relationships to nature, landscape preferences, personal space, territoriality, density and crowding. The latter part of the course will address the emerging importance of the politics of place and social justice as manifest through the appearance, meanings and uses of place. This will include issues of affordable housing, urban public space and geographies of resistance. In addressing these issues, the course will provide a critical framework for understanding the role of the environment in our everyday lives. Through this course, students develop the ability to analyze environment-and-behavior issues, think more critically about the physical environment, and better understand the ways that we exert influence on the environment. This course will also help design students to create more effective and appropriate environments that address human needs.