This View of Life is pleased to present our newest special publication “Constructing Our Niches: The Application of Evolutionary Theory to the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) Industry” by Marcel J. Harmon of BranchPattern.
Our built environments represent a major human phenotypic adaptation, part of our collective cultural toolkit for adapting to the world around us. But because they form a major part of the environmental contexts we live, play and work within, and because their construction and operations have such a global impact, they also shape humanity’s ongoing evolution as well as that of other species on the planet. The architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry has the ability to mindfully orchestrate the direction our built environments push us in with regards to climate change,occupant wellbeing and the evolution of life on this planet. But it requires we construct our “niches” in a manner that consistently provides environments aligned with our individual and group level needs, including long term needs associated with social stability and environmental sustainability. Doing so requires an understanding of how our evolutionary past has shaped our physiological, psychological, and social/cultural needs with respect to the built environment. It also requires an understanding of how we can guide the decision-making process during design and construction to avoid the domination of short term, annual drivers like the profit margins of a smaller group of people. This “Constructing Our Niches” publication outlines how deliberately operating within an evolutionary theoretical framework would better position the industry to make all of this happen.