Undernourished by a Diet of Asphalt and Ugliness

What are the long-term effects of environments that sap our energy? How do people compensate for being deprived of visual sustenance? Is there a correlation between quantities of asphalt and obesity rates? Do unhealthy weight and depression begin with places that people must endure rather than enjoy?

In short, do people eat to forget these desolate, dispirited places?

Recently, sustainability advocates have joined the decades-old call by urban planners to create walkable neighborhoods. But now we must also calculate the impact of physical surroundings in terms of whether or not they feed our psyche and reduce stress. For example, it’s worth noting that a project can be rated LEED® Platinum, yet the design may have a negative impact on our health because it’s deadly boring or hostile.

To highlight these connections, it may be worthwhile to establish an Asphalt-Obesity Index.

– Sharon VanderKaay


  1. 1 Patrick F. Spear » Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture

    […] exhibition is centered around an idea that Sharon VanderKaay has been writing about for a year or so at our office: the idea that health is something that can be- and should be- hewn […]

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