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Harper Collins

Welcome to Your World - How the Built Environment Shapes Our Lives


This book will make you look at your home, neighborhood, city, and public spaces in a brand new light.

One of the nation’s chief architecture critics reveals how the environments we build profoundly shape our feelings, memories, and well-being, and argues that we must harness this knowledge to construct a world better suited to human experience.

Taking us on a fascinating journey through some of the world’s best and worst landscapes, buildings, and cityscapes, Sarah Williams Goldhagen draws from recent research in cognitive neuroscience and psychology to demonstrate how people’s experiences of the places they build are central to their well-being, their physical health, their communal and social lives, and even their very sense of themselves. From this foundation, Goldhagen presents a powerful case that societies must use this knowledge to rethink what and how they build: the world needs better-designed, healthier environments that address the complex range of human individual and social needs.

Erudite, wise, lucidly written, and beautifully illustrated with more than one hundred color photographs, Welcome to Your World is a vital, eye-opening guide to the spaces we inhabit, physically and mentally, and a clarion call to design for human experience. Read a sample.

“Goldhagen’s illuminating book on the design of our world begins just where it should, with us and how we live, not with a dazzling shell. She shows us many ways that good design can uplift our lives and how poor design can fail us.”- Barbara Tversky, Professor Emerita of Psychology at Stanford University
“A remarkable book and a fascinating exploration of the human experience in the city. Ground breaking, informed, and inspired.”- Mikyoung Kim, Landscape
  • By Sarah Williams Goldhagen
  • Pages 384
  • Released 4/11/2017