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Theory of the physical environment: An introduction

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This paper suggests a way of classifying human physical environment according to its location and function. Environmental science is viewed as a branch of ecology, and the concept of the “complex ecosystem” is introduced. By using differential equations, the author draws attention to four factors that must be considered when evaluating the effect of any environmental agent on a human subject: the agent's extensive quality of rate of flow, its intensive quality of concentration or intensity, duration of the subject's exposure, and the uniformity of agent's stress in space and time. The environmental agents, individually or in jointly acting groups, produce environmental stress, which acts on the subject to produce strain and its contingent symptoms. The microclimate in this setting can be classified according to the type of stress involved. The human physical environment may be evaluated in three ways: objectively, subjectively, and from the standpoint of regulations or standards. The benefit or advantage of using this equation in evaluating or measuring the human physical environment is discussed.

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Jokl, M.V. Theory of the physical environment: An introduction. Environmental Management 5, 295–299 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01867343

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Key words

  • Ecosystem
  • Stress
  • Physical environment