Thesis – Chapter 2 Planning Today: 2.5 Physical Design and Behavior

Thesis – Chapter 2 Planning Today: 2.5 Physical Design and Behavior

Chapter 2 Planning Today: 2.5 Physical Design and Behavior

Good design may not generate good behavior, but bad design can encourage bad behavior. Viable albeit poor neighborhoods were demolished and their inhabitants conscripted into these experiments (Pruitt Igoe & Cabrini Green), which went bad almost immediately. Any number of additional factors can also be held responsible for the crime and violence of these projects—including concentrated poverty, poor administration, and inadequate policing—and it is not clear that these places, if traditionally designed, would have been successful. But few people now doubt that design played a significant role in their demise (Duany, Plater-Zyberk, Speck, 2002).


Design does affect behavior. This is as obvious as asking whether locking a door keeps someone out of a room, or whether creating an environment in which nothing is nearby causes people to drive. One does not have to believe that front porches encourage sociability to accept that unwalkable streets discourage it (Duany, Plater-Zyberk, Speck, 2002).

“Americans wonder why their houses lack charm; that which makes our physical surroundings worth caring about. We are presently suffering on a massive scale the social consequences of living in places that are not worth caring about. Charm is dependent on connectedness, on continuities, on the relation of one thing to another, often expressed as tension, like the tension between private space and public space, or the sacred and the workaday, or the interplay of a space that is easily comprehensible, such a street, with the mystery of openings that beckon, such as a doorway deeply set in a building. Of course, if the public space is degraded by cars and their special needs—as it always is in America—the equation is spoiled. If nothing is sacred, then everything is profane” (Kuntsler, 1993, p. 168).

About the Author

Kevin Walters

Mr. Walters is a graduate of the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning program at Virginia Commonwealth University, where his thesis subject was Feng Shui and Neighborhood Development. He has studied Essential Feng Shui with the Western School of Feng Shui and Classical Feng Shui at the Golden Gate Feng Shui School. Since 1999, Mr. Walters’ consulting business has focused on improvements with affordable and homeless housing providers, including the Better Housing Coalition and Virginia Supportive Housing in Richmond Virginia. He is a member of the Home and Community Design Committee of Habitat for Humanity Tucson and has contributed to Community Renaissance’s Do Happy Today Program. With Do Happy Today, Mr. Walters assisted the Limberlost Neighborhood Association and the City of Tucson Parks and Recreation in the design of feng shui elements for the walking path at the Limberlost Family Park. He has presented Feng Shui programs at Planning and Housing Conferences in Arizona and Virginia, and most recently at the National Environmental Health Association Conference in San Antonio, Texas.



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