Cross-Cultural Aspects of Environmental Design

  • Amos Rapoport
Part of the Human Behavior and Environment book series (HUBE, volume 4)


In considering the relationship between culture and environmental design this chapter will suggest that these two are intimately related and that cultural differences must be considered in tracing environmental effects and in stating design requirements. Since culture is variable, designed environments respond to variable definitions of needs and priorities as expressed in varying schemata: environments are culture specific. In being so they are congruent with specific life-styles. For one thing, both designs and life-styles can be seen as resulting from sets of choices among many alternatives which even the most severe constraints make possible. These choices reflect certain ideal images and schemata, i.e., both environments and life-styles are shaped by cultural “templates.” At smaller scales this process results in sets of cues which are encoded in the environment and help guide behavior. In order to be useful cues need to be decoded—if they cannot be decoded, then environments are effectively meaningless—another reason for the culture specific nature of environments.


Social Identity Cognitive Style Cognitive Schema Environmental Design Space Organization 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amos Rapoport
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureUniversity of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA

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