New York Magazine Feature: Emily Anthes’ THE GREAT INDOORS

Tue Jun 23, 2020

“What are the effects of spending an entire season indoors, as most of us have done this year? I don’t mean the psychological effects but the material ones. I wonder about the carpets that have gotten worn down from pacing. The couches that sag from cradling our butts all day. The expanded inventories of elastic-waist pants, house slippers, sweatshirts. Among other lessons learned, we’ve had a chance to become intensely familiar with what we like and dislike about our living spaces. We’ve experienced every day what studies have confirmed: Plants, space, and sunlight make people happy, while extreme temperatures, loud noise, cramped conditions, and dim light make people unhappy. The pandemic has forced us to confront exactly how little control we have over our homes.

That’s the subject of Emily Anthes’s The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of How Buildings Shape Our Behavior, Health, and Happiness. Along with domestic spaces, Anthes explores a range of buildings — fancy offices, operating rooms, a housing development designed for adults with autism, a solitary-confinement unit — in hopes of dissecting the effects of architecture and design on human behavior. I read it, in a perverse spirit, entirely outside, on a sunny patch of grass, without a single person within seeing or hearing distance. “I am unapologetically indoorsy,” writes the author in her introduction. “It’s not that I don’t like nature; I think nature is lovely. I’ve been camping several times — and enjoyed it!” Ha. Me and Emily Anthes, we could not be less alike.”

Read the full story on Vulture.

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