|Lifestyle and environment|
Activities follow directly from lifestyles which themselves reflect values.These are still very concrete and operational, but also more general thanactivities. This makes them a particularly useful aspect of culture in relationto environments (see Fig. 3).
I will, therefore, discuss just a few aspects of lifestyle in relationto built environments.
Recall that one of the definitions of culture was in terms of the wayof life of a group and, in that sense lifestyles help define groups. Themany variables that have been used to define groups cross-culturally andthrough history, such as age, sex, initiation, ethnicity, race, ideology,religion, caste, tribe, occupation, and class tend to become relevant regardingenvironments only when they lead to specific lifestyles. These also tendto be particularly useful today, when many of the above variables do notin themselves lead to specific environments and when, say in the U.S., onecan belong to more than one of the traditional categories, it is the resultantlifestyle that is relevant. This also applies to the various "specialuser groups" used in EBS and design. Thus "lifestyle" aloneneeds to be considered in this connection. This has proved most useful ina variety of other fields, such as advertising, marketing, developer housingdesign and so on, as already mentioned.
Lifestyle itself, like culture, has been defined in many different ways.These definitions have been reviewed and an operational definition of lifestylederived,15 which I have been using since the 1970's and which I find mostuseful. This defines lifestyle as the result of the choices people makeabout how to allocate resources (money, time, effort and so on). This canbe further operationalized and expressed graphically as a profile that makesit easy to visualize and to handle.16
There is another set of reasons why lifestyle is so useful. The firsthas to do with the fact that a major effect of environments on people (thesecond of the three basic questions of EBS) is through choice, through habitatselection. In effect, people leave undesirable or unsuitable environmentsand move towards those positively evaluated (within certain constraints,of course)17. The two sets of choices will then tend to be congruent. Peoplewill make them congruent to obtain or achieve environments congruent withtheir lifestyles and supportive of them and this is further improved throughmodification.
The choice of environments also comprises a set of attributes or qualitieswhich can also be represented as a profile of environmental quality, andthe two profiles can be matched. This process is, once again, both feasibleand not too difficult.18 That choice is also clearly modified by variousconstraints that determine how closely one can approach an ideal environmentalquality profile.
Design itself can be visualized as a choice process - what, over theyears, I have called the choice model of design. On this view choices aremade about which courses of action are to be made among alternatives. Inthis process certain criteria are used to decide which possibilities toinclude or exclude. I have already discussed in connection with culturallandscapes the role of schemata, ideals and the like in this process andalso the role of rules that lead to systematic choice. The process representedin this model is general and applies to vernacular, popular and high styledesign of products, buildings and cultural landscapes. What varies are theschemata and ideal, the criteria used, their order of application, who appliesthem (i.e. makes choices) and the time spans involved.19 Much more couldbe said about this model of design and how it relates to various aspectsof culture. At this point I just wish to draw attention, once again, tothe common theme of choice in both lifestyle and design, i.e. the makingof environments compared to the choosing and their subsequent modificationabove. What I am emphasizing is the common theme of choice in lifestyleand these other aspects of environments that help in relating the two.