How Architecture Shapes Our Emotions

Why we shouldn’t give up on how cities make us feel

Iker Alonso (Flickr/finchermac)
Iker Alonso (Flickr/finchermac)

Everywhere but where we live—and maybe where you live?—it seems like things are slowly creeping back toward how they were before the pandemic, or at least slowly getting less awful. In New York City, the High Line is reopening a little bit more of its 1.5 mile length to a socially distanced public, bringing a few more blocks of that beloved, reclaimed railroad to visitors. So this week, we’re looking back to an interview from the spring of 2017, when we walked along the High Line with architecture critic Sarah Williams Goldhagen. Her book, Welcome to Your World, is about how people experience the built environment, not just as individuals but as groups of people living together in cities or towns. She weaves together research in cognitive psychology and neuroscience to explain how the buildings we encounter every day shape our feelings, our memories, and our well-being.

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Stephanie Bastek is the senior editor of the Scholar and the producer/host of the Smarty Pants podcast.


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