Sunday, February 15, 2009

Welcome Mercy On-line Students, 2009

Hi Class,

Here is a blogspace for us to further our discussions of Environment and the Psychology of Behavior in a public forum. It is a place where we can post pictures and youtube videos and invite the world to interact with us.

We will start with posts of the google map terrain pictures of your environments, which will appear below as you send them to me.

Once all the images are posted we can engage in comparative analysis of the landscape features that shape our behavior.

Picture number one, below, is my immediate home environment, where the home office of our Verein (NGO) "Solar CITIES" is located .  You can see that we are quite close to both a major autobahn (so we can hear the rush of traffic) and a huge railroad network.  We are also a half hour walk from downtown Essen (left side of the picture) which is a pedestrian only shopping zone.  This makes a big difference to our psychological health, because we don't have to drive and when we get downtown there is always a festive atmosphere without the roar and rush of traffic and its associated smells, smoke and dangers.

 Picture number two is of Pelham Parkway in the Bronx -- one of you lives there!
Notice how U.S. cities are generally laid out in a rectangular grid pattern, while older European cities are more "organic", with curving or radial streets coming out of various centers.  Most European cities are built around railroad terminals and pedestrian zones, most modern American cities around highway off-ramps. How does this affect our perceptions? Do straight roads "straight-jacket" our thinking? Do they help us organize our thoughts and rationalize our world?

Picture 3 is of Utica, NewYork, where another of you lives.  

Picture 4 depicts Chappaqua. One of you works there at one of three jobs.  The countryside has a more organic transit form, usually following natural contours of hills, valleys and water features.

Figure 5 is of Yorktown Heights, where that  person resides.

Image 6 is of Armonk, where that same person goes for a second job.

Picture 7 is Mahopac, the third location of her employment.

Picture 8 is of Cortland Manor, where one of our fellow students moved after living in the  Bronx.  Clearly there are differences! But how did they affect her behavior?

Picture 9 is of the Mercy College, Dobbs Ferry Campus.   I lived most of my life in the Draper Lane apartments across the Mercy Woods from the campus.  From this image it is obvious how little of the forest is left since the developers destroyed it to build the Landing and the Fireman's housing.

 Picture 11 is one student's home in  Poughkeepsie:

Picture 12 is the distance and route that one of our students has to take to get from home (A)  just to get to the college bookstore (B)!  It appears, at least, to be a scenic drive along the river, but the map gives no indication how bad traffic might be!

A.L.'s new neighborhood, in Coop City, the Bronx where eagles fly by the window:

A.L.s old neighborhood, in Marble Hill.  Note that in both cases she has been living in a RIPARIAN environment (a river environment) quite close to the water.  Given that most human civilizations evolved by rivers, how might this affect your psychology?  Does real estate next to the river command a higher price? Does it appreciate in value faster?  How is such real estate doing in today's housing crisis?  Why is living next to a river considered by people to be worth paying a premium? When does living next to a river become undesirable?

1 comment:

alotstuff said...

nice blog.....