Faculty Publications

People-Nature Interactions Within Activity Settings: Understanding Health-Promoting Mechanisms using Amos Rapoport’s Three EBS Questions

Document Type

Book Chapter

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Theorizing Built Form and Culture: The Legacy of Amos Rapoport

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We apply Rapoport’s socio-cultural framework, particularly his three main questions for EBS (environment-behavior studies), to analyze people’s interaction with natural settings. Natural settings are conceptualized as systems of settings and activities. Natural settings (i.e., outdoor and green spaces) are composed of fixed-feature elements (standing water bodies, vegetation), semi-fixed-feature elements (outdoor furnishings, including art and artifacts), and non-fixed-feature elements (people, their activities and behaviors). Fixed, semi-fixed, and non-fixed elements of natural settings offer affordances or possibilities of action that link spatial, physical, and architectural aspects to psychological and health-related outcomes. Scaffolded by Rapoport’s ideas, we point to environment-in-use aspects for people in diverse cultural settings and show how nature-based interventions may help people mitigate climate-induced harm, recover from stress and mental fatigue, and build new coping strategies and skills - with culture acting as a mediating force. By approaching activity settings and their connecting patterns of nature-related affordances, we argue for an ecological approach to perception and practice to understand how contact with nature promotes health and psychological well-being for people in different cultures.


Department of Interior Design

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DOI of published version