The Great Indoors by Emily Anthes

The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness  - Emily Anthes

TITLE:  The Great Indoors:  The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness.


AUTHOR:  Emily Anthes




FORMAT:  Hardcover


ISBN-13:  9780374166632

"A fascinating, thought-provoking journey into our built environment

Modern humans are an indoor species. We spend 90 percent of our time inside, shuttling between homes and offices, schools and stores, restaurants and gyms. And yet, in many ways, the indoor world remains unexplored territory. For all the time we spend inside buildings, we rarely stop to consider: How do these spaces affect our mental and physical well-being? Our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors? Our productivity, performance, and relationships?

In this wide-ranging, character-driven book, science journalist Emily Anthes takes us on an adventure into the buildings in which we spend our days, exploring the profound, and sometimes unexpected, ways that they shape our lives. Drawing on cutting-edge research, she probes the pain-killing power of a well-placed window and examines how the right office layout can expand our social networks. She investigates how room temperature regulates our cognitive performance, how the microbes hiding in our homes influence our immune systems, and how cafeteria design affects what—and how much—we eat.

Along the way, Anthes takes readers into an operating room designed to minimize medical errors, a school designed to boost students’ physical fitness, and a prison designed to support inmates’ psychological needs. And she previews the homes of the future, from the high-tech houses that could monitor our health to the 3D-printed structures that might allow us to live on the Moon.

The Great Indoors provides a fresh perspective on our most familiar surroundings and a new understanding of the power of architecture and design. It's an argument for thoughtful interventions into the built environment and a story about how to build a better world—one room at a time."


Anthes has written an interesting book with a casual writing style that explores the built environment, its psychological and physical effects on us, and how this built environment is being modified to accommodate various requirements.  Anthes takes a look at projects that have modified schools, apartments, office spaces, retirement facilities, hospitals, correctional facilities and public spaces to be more accommodating and/or useful to the humans who live and work there.  I found the last few chapters of the book particularly interesting.  These chapters dealt with building cheap, easy to construct, sturdy permanent homes from cheaper and more natural products, to constructing and/or modifying existing homes that can float when necessary rather than be inundated by floods and storms, and the possibilities of living on Mars.