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The Problem of Residential Environment in America

The issue of housing is important for every human being. People tend to critically evaluate the environment they live in. It usually begins with discussing the ecological situation till the details of interior accessories. The main aim for this urge is to maintain more or less comfortable conditions for living including all that concerns home. What is home for a man? Why do Americans always use the proverb “home sweet home” of describing their attitude towards it? It is often considered with the house, but there should be set the record straight about the issue. A man when speaking of the home makes out the house with all that fulfills it: people, relatives, the atmosphere of love and tenderness, animals, children, games, active or passive rest, dreams, meals, etc. The concept of home varies a little in different countries and cultures, but traditionally from ancient times, it was a means of sheltering when human beings considered it to be a castle.

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Another approach makes a man think over the meaning of the residence. Its identity with the home place is inter mutual and lies in different characteristic features of dwelling on the whole. Residences differ in the type of time within which one possesses them, namely: permanent or temporary. The way of development in various countries can display a predominant type of the feature mentioned above: countries with mainly industrial growth in state economy prefer usually permanent dwellings for people; those of less predominance of industry verification suggest temporary homes. Another feature of residencies takes into account the activities of the dwellers according to definite functions of rooms. Among them are: differentiated and homogeneous. Here the material status is of great significance because it takes rich people to have many rooms with a specific function of each.

Poor people provide different functions nearly in every room they have. Also, there is a difference showing whether families live together in one home or not. The variation here is described through communality or noncommunity. Because of the versatile traditional background of many nations, this factor implements an entire desire of people to be closer to each other or stay aside. Identity and communality (with a little bit another meaning than it has alluded above) show the individual fields of needs and interests of its tenants, in the first case, and general outlook about definite culture. Finally, residences are distinguished by their openness and closeness to other outdoor people. This feature characterizes the form of sceneries around the house in case of their circumjacence with fence or walls or their absence. Of course, these remarks are not universal, the variety of residence factors depend on the current culture and probably the influence of modern trends in a country. Still, all these aspects can be added to home depiction.

Home is known to preserve people’s security along with their privacy and negative effects from outside. One cannot but lessen the role of dwellings in satisfying people’s demands. It is a place where a man generates ideas or ventures to move forward in different challenges of life. It creates an atmosphere of people’s attitudes towards the apprehension of life. Here the supposed family traditions begin or continue within dynasties. Thus, the spirit of family history is felt in every wall and every artifact of a definite home. The psychology of residence influences people’s senses not only in material stance but also in the sphere of mind and soul. People feel their connectedness to domestic relationships so that to hand over them to other generation. It is so because people clear realize that life is short, almost like a burst of flame. Gifford in his book accumulates the ideas about home in the wholeness of its features providing people with a reasonable outlook on the concept of home noting:

If we are fortunate to have a place that provides a haven, order, identity, connectedness, warmth, and physical suitability, then our residence is very likely to also be home. It probably has great personal and social meaning for us, and we likely also experience belongingness, happiness, self-expression, and good relationships within it. To the extent that our residence does not have these meanings for us, we are homeless — even if we live in a palace. (Gifford 257).

Among all controversies about the residence, generations define the sense of its psychology made up in its separate branch called environmental psychology. The problems it searches about the residence are counted up into three principles. First, having the home a man decides to make some conveniences for the adaptation. To meet man’s requirements about the issue means to optimize the space of the dwellings to make them fit better. Second, the residence is invoked for bringing satisfaction to its habitants and to surpass all their expectations if possible. It concerns the behavioral aspect as well. Third, health housing properties are of great significance, especially for those who earn little, meaning poor people.

All these fundamentals tend to create the extensional picture of different ways of living in their relevance to a person’s needs and requirements in different residencies. Their purpose takes into consideration various factors of people’s activities spheres, namely social, personal, cultural, and physical constituents. The categorical representation of these parts leads to attitudes (satisfaction); behavior (space characteristics, furniture drawing up, and conditions for rest); and welfare (social guarantees, health). These are the fundamentals in choosing a residence among people, the cornerstones of the social availability of society. Nevertheless, there should be something new when designing the house, apartments, and dwellings on the whole. The interior designers usually try to follow the emotional and psychological criteria in making homes appropriately comfortable. They cannot but address to the man’s aesthetic sensitivity depicting, in reality, those details of imagination residence which a customer fancied before.

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Before the user’s appraisal about the house itself there should be his following the obligatory parameters of residential satisfaction, namely:

  • Personal impacts;
  • Age in combination with the level of life;
  • Social and economic profile;
  • Gender and social part;
  • Personality and virtues’
  • Confrontment;
  • Visions of the Future.

In the year 1994 Cooper & Rodman found among people with disabilities “that control over social aspects of housing was more important than control over physical aspects in predicting satisfaction.” (Annual Review of Psychology, 1996) Many researchers at that time concluded that the age factor varies as well. For example, in that very annual review, it is noted that: “Devlin (1994) found that US children preferred ranch and colonial-style houses as well as mobile homes, Quonset huts, and geodesic domes; adults preferred farm, Tudor, Neo-French, and split-level styles.” (Annual Review of Psychology, 1996) Another reason is to accommodate in a well-equipped district with different social services and absence of any life risks from nearest enterprises. People tend to calculate the advantages of their housing area and nearby facilities as well as disadvantages. The question of neighboring people may give birth to several conflict situations. That is why it is useful to get acquainted with the audience of a man’s neighbors.

Perkins and Taylor (1996) also focus on neighborhoods’ physical and social features, but, in an attempt to understand the determinants of residents’ fear of crime; they use multiple assessment methods, including residents’ appraisals, outside observers’ ratings, and newspaper reports. In contrast, to lay the foundation for a grounded theory (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) of the determinants of a sense of community, Plas, and Lewis (1996) rely on their self-experience, direct observation, and historical archives, and semistructured and open-ended interviews with key stakeholders in a planned town. (American Journal of Community Psychology, 1996)

Talking about the house of a definite customer’s own it would be big, first of all. This preference describes maximalism and strives to increase the field of the family as well as relatives. It concerns that the more space a man has, the more possibilities can be opened to him. The three-storeyed house is useful and convenient for the environment somewhere on the outskirts of the city. As it is accepted in the United States of America, the privilege of choosing the type of homes stopped historically on single-family houses. That is why the measures of such residential environment are huge when limited within three stories. It describes the attitude and behavior of the owner. As it is outlined in the “Architectural Science Review”

How satisfied or not users are with the space they are occupying is a notion that has guided environmental evaluation since its earliest efforts (Craik, 1966; Friedman, Zimring & Zube, 1978; Little, 1968). It refers to the processes whereby users know and judge their physical environment. The basic premises state that the processes of environmental knowing and assessing are linked not only to observable physical featuresa but also to the attitudes individuals have towards a particular space. (Architectural Science Review, 2008)

The researches showed the tendency of users to estimate the whole picture of the building works after they are done. It resulted in post-occupancy marks when customer compares environmental characteristics with their satisfaction or dissatisfaction. Reaching the aim of building a big house with three storeys a designer can satisfy the requirements of a user in his urge to come closer to his dream house. Along with the statement above, it will also display the social status of house habitants depicting its high level of stratification.

A big house logically should have its big constituent parts. The walls in it will be white preserving the ancient tradition to compare such color with heaven and gods, in particular. The marble materials would present such an effect. It concerns mostly the entrance hall, the hall, corridors, and the kitchen in the interior part of the house and the exterior part on the whole. The rest of the rooms will be garnished with bright-colored wall-papers and pictures of Japanese impressionist artists, such as, for instance, Hiroshige. In the living room, not only pictures will decorate the walls but also a few large shelves with statuettes and different souvenirs from all over the world including antique examples. Here one can make a big mistake while designing the house in making corridors too long corridors and a bad connection between rooms. Here the fact of providing a closer room-to-room model will be appreciated. The ground floor will be decorated with a few columns some of which will be presented with ancient sculptures of atlantes. These will be at the place of room boundaries. In combination with large windows, through which light refraction will erect an effect of divine projection from above, it may seem to be constantly light in the rooms. It is because every human being strives to entire wish to be immortal like a god. It can be said looking at The Scriptures that a man has a crumb of gorgeous nature.

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In one study on attitudes toward windows, students at a US university saw skylights as desirable in family rooms, living rooms, and kitchens but not as desirable as windows in the same types of rooms. (Annual Review of Psychology, 1996)

The ceilings should symbolize in such a house spaciousness and grandeur with shapes of light blue colors on them. The height is about five meters on the ground floor and four meters on the first and the second floors. Several bas-reliefs of late baroque style images will be included in the ceiling ornament at the points of its connection with walls and in the central part of the hall. The thing is that the blend of styles will reproduce the achievements of preceding epochs. The only requirement here is not to overdo with such a mixture. All in all, as Gifford admits:

Research shows that most individuals prefer higher (than the usual 8-footl2.4m) ceilings, flat or sloping ceilings (4:12 slope ratio [vertical-horizontal] but neither larger nor smaller slopes), and walls that meet at 90 degrees or more (not walls that meet at smaller angles). (Gifford 266).

Looking at the number of rooms it is difficult to mention, but certainly, the house will include the entrance hall, the hall, the kitchen, study room on the ground floor; several bedrooms with bathrooms and Jacuzzi for family members on the first floor; and bedrooms for guests on the second floor. There will also be a workshop, laundry, and garage in the addition aside and behind the house.

The floors will be covered with marble tiles in the halls and kitchen and multiple bathrooms. The edges of these rooms will be incrusted with dark-brown tiles. The materials along with sanitary ware are better to buy at the subsidiary of Saudi Ceramics Co. in the US This company is known for its high-end positions in producing porcelain tiles. Over the tiles, Persian rugs will present the rooms with the nobility of features. These will be huge, approximately 400×500 inches in the hall, and 300×300 in each of the other rooms on the ground floor. The overlay laminate would not suit the lower part of the house, but it is necessary to use it in children’s rooms for them not to injure and catch a cold for this material holds warmth better than marble. So children can lie down on the floor without any doubts that it will cause them harm. The carpets will be helpful in this situation. They will be of bright colors: purple, yellow and orange.

The experience about the standpoint of house design suggests that for a purchaser it is necessary to arrange the rooms like it is needed, but today’s opinion about this question is mixed somehow. New generations of American students in the universities see the significance of placing the living room in the upper right-hand part of the house plan when students of some Asian countries do not support such an idea.

The furniture in the bedrooms will be only of light colors of blue, green, brown. Chests of drawers, nests of drawers, and beds will be enough to satisfy the customers. Long-case clock will kinglike go together with sofas and marble table aside it. A huge aquarium with small sharks will be inducted into one of the living room’s walls. This high-tech feature is trendy now and characterizes the risky and full-of-adventures way of the purchaser’s life. It also may say that he has walkingbecome accustomed to walk on the edge of the leather.

The kitchen will be equipped with built-in appliances in iron-grey color. One should control whether the doors of the oven or refrigerator swing open fully or whether the dishwasher place does not provoke dead corners. The table in this room will be narrow and long so that people can help themselves in passing meals. The entrance hall will be furnished with various couches of Tiramisu color. This will create a picture of sweet relationships within the family. Probably not sweet but warm within the circle of family.

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The lighting system will be energy-saving. Luminescent light sources will illuminate gild refined gold lighting in daylight when it darks, so that the constant feeling that the residence houses light and love all day long. Sealed glazing units combined with an aeration system with filters will protect the habitats from noise and air pollution.

The sceneries around the house should implement the straight urge to enlighten the customers in taking care of the house’s gardens, trees, lawns, and decorative bushes in the front and other sides of the house. The gates are not necessary to be built. However, if the house stays on an immense territory without neighboring to other residences there should be walking the walls with which the area to be surrounded.

One of the main functions of the residence is to provide its dwellers with relaxation and pleasures, so the role of open-air leisure is too important. Physical loading is to be done with the help of playing games, working about the house, gardening, and swimming in the pool. The last one should be placed in the backyard with multiple lounges along the perimeter of the pool. Home-based leisure is normal when the size of the housing area and its differentiation enables. In homogeneous houses like described above leisure is able to contrast with other activities, because, for instance, home-based leisure is considered to be uninteresting and insignificant to pay attention to. Notwithstanding, people forget about the fact that such activity helps in relieving stress and preserves from being amorphous.

Thus, in a brief analysis of the designed house described above it is obvious that original approaches are covered in the details of architectural peculiarities, furnishing the house, outdoor look of it as of the physical features of it. Also, the material part of the residence plays here the role in creating intentional shapes of the owner its emotional, psychological, and moral parts.

Another needed level of analysis is to focus on the interplay among environmental domains. In this vein, we have conceptualized three main sets of environmental factors as determinants of the social climate. Specifically, we believe that physical features, organizational policies, and suprapersonal factors can directly or indirectly influence the social climate, which, in turn, shapes how these environmental domains influence individual and group outcomes. (American Journal of Community Psychology, 1996)

To sum up, one ought to realize that a good residence regarding the requirements of American families should consider that the dwellings are different and vary in several factors. One hardly can find two different houses which are alike. That means that a man inserts into the residence his identity, culture, traditions (national and family) for maintaining the security and individuality of living in modern society. Taking into account various peculiarities within housing problems today most Americans should pay attention to the following solutions in designing a residence, namely:

  1. Housing design features;
  2. Residential crowding;
  3. Place attachment.

All these points tend to support people satisfying their requirements and embodying their childish dreams about palaces of the future dwelling. The factor of satisfaction is impacted by “norms, neighbors and the preferences of others.” (Gifford 279) So the residence may be called a socio-physical blessing given to people for being realized and happy in life.

References

Schmitz, S. (1999). Gender Differences in Acquisition of Environmental Knowledge Related to Wayfinding Behavior, Spatial Anxiety, and Self-Estimated Environmental Competencies. Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, 41(1), 71.

Sundstrom, E., Bell, P. A., Busby, P. L., & Asmus, C. (1996). Environmental Psychology: 1989-1994.

Moos, R. H. (1996). Understanding Environments: The Key to Improving Social Processes and Program Outcomes. American Journal of Community Psychology, 24(1).

Vischer, J. C. (2008). Towards an Environmental Psychology of Workspace: How People Are Affected by Environments for Work. Architectural Science Review, 51(2).

Gifford, R. (2008) Environmental psychology: Principles and practice (4th Ed.).

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