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Our surroundings can powerfully affect our thoughts, emotions, and physical responses, whether we’re awed by the Grand Canyon or Hagia Sophia, panicked in a crowded room, soothed by a walk in the park, or tempted in casinos and shopping malls. In Places of the Heart, Colin Ellard explores how our homes, workplaces, cities, and nature - places we escape to and can’t escape from - have influenced us throughout history and how our brains and bodies respond to different types of real and virtual space. As he describes the insight he and other scientists have gained from new technologies, he assesses the influence these technologies will have on our evolving environment and asks what kind of world we are, and should be, creating.
Colin Ellard is the author of You Are Here: Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon, but Get Lost in the Mall. A cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Waterloo and director of its urban realities laboratory, he lives in Kitchener, Ontario.
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- Pierre Gauthier
Beware! Despite its title, this book does not deal with places or buildings but rather, and in light fashion, with psychology. In fact, the few highlights of this shallow work occur when it deals with actual places, such as Stonehenge, medieval cathedrals or New York’s Lower East Side. Otherwise, it is a collection of generalities, some may even say platitudes.
The writing is extremely crafted, to the point of being pompous and long-winded. Is it really pertinent to refer to video games as “recreational pursuits” or to Yelp as “a crowd sourced depository of reviews”?
In the audio version, the narrator does not improve things with his slow, careful enunciation. He is particularly aggravating when he imitates French, German or Dutch accents in quoting foreign sources (in English).
Overall, it appears best to pass on this offering.
Best Book on Urbanism Ever Written
Finally an author talks about the psychological influence that our environment has on us. Where we live, what we see, and even the buildings we interact with on a daily basis can influence how we feel. Colin Ellard has some incredible insights into historical architecture like Stonehenge but also why we love some homes and hate others. A total must read for anyone who cares about their city and themselves.
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- Anonymous User
Overall a good and informative book
Sometimes the author goes on talking about what might be quite some time in the future, while I would have hoped for an approach that is more grounded in currently proven knowledge and his expertise. However, overall the book provided me with new, interesting and relevant information on the topic, as promised, and the "future ramblings" do not occupy a significant enough part of the book for me to not recommend it.
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