Living environments consist not only of the dwellings in which people reside but also the neighborhoods or communities in which they live, work, and play. The places in which people settle and stay provide the wherewithal
It seems to me as if I have spent most of my life in houses. When I was a boy, we lived for a while in a yellow frame house across from a schoolhouse, which was convenient when I wanted to use the playground equipment. Later, we moved to a farmhouse with no electricity or plumbing. There were kerosene lamps to read and work by at night, but everyone still went to bed pretty early. We collected rainwater in a big tank and dug an artesian well, so we didn't die of thirst and stayed relatively clean. We washed our dirty clothes in a big black hotpot, hung them on a clothes line to dry, and then pressed them with a heated flatiron. We also built an outhouse about 30 yards from the main house, which was somewhat inconvenient when it rained or one of us was in a hurry. On experiencing a natural emergency, I would charge out the back door at full speed, throwing stones at the gobbler that chased me all the way to the outhouse. The following Thanksgiving, when we ate the turkey, everyone wondered why it was so bruised.
My family finally grew tired of the farmhouse and lived in a succession of apartment houses and single-story houses in towns and cities. One of these was next to a firehouse, which was great fun except when we wanted to sleep. After being awakened abruptly by the fire alarm late one night, we jumped out of bed and ran out into the street yelling "Fire!"
When I grew old enough to go away to college, I lived in a fraternity house supervised by a housemother who made us clean house frequently. After receiving my master's degree, I worked for a time in a mental hospital, known variously as a "bug house," "nut house," or "crazy house." Eventually, I decided to get married, and my wife and I set up housekeeping in a brick ranch house. We also bought a doghouse and housebroke the dog, but decided not to get a cat or bird house. Our house payments were fairly modest, less than $100 a month, so my salary as a criminal psychologist in the local jailhouse, where the residents were under fairly permanent house arrest and most assuredly not house proud, was adequate. My wife eventually became a housemother herself, but elected not to keep house all the time and went to work in a schoolhouse.
Realizing that a house is not necessarily a home, I now use the latter term to refer to the place where I live. Because I am no longer gainfully employed, I suppose that one might refer to it as my retirement home. It's probably better than a nursing home, but I'll have to wait and see before making a final judgment.
for satisfying their physical, social, and psychological needs. In these places, people can express their personal tastes and preferences and, to some degree, exercise control over their environment (Scheidt, 1993). The environments in which people live for a long period of time, and especially during their formative years, typically exert strong shaping and conforming influences on the behavior of the inhabitants and help guide their activities throughout childhood and adulthood. This is especially true of small towns, which exert a more intimate influence in encouraging place attachment.
In most cases, the living environment is sufficiently supportive of the needs of people to make them want to stay. The network consisting of family, friends, medical facilities, schools, jobs, stores, and other people and organizations should provide the necessary support systems for individual growth, productivity, and happiness. Sometimes, however, the environment or the individual changes in such a way that there is no longer a good match between what the individual requires or desires and what the physical or psychological environment of a community has to offer.
Throughout history, people have been continually on the move, seeing opportunity or safety over the next hill, the next mountain, or across the next plain or ocean. However, the great historical migrations rarely involved a majority of the population. Then, as now, most people preferred to "stay put," being less attracted by the adventure and opportunity of new places and things than frightened and repelled by the uncertainty and danger of the unknown.
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