Denis with the external environment. Anthropology together with other

Denis L. Lawrence and Setha M. Low have attempted to define
the relationship between, “Built Environment and Spatial Form” of both non
literate and literate societies. Now-a-days postmodern Architecture has emphasized
on spatial as well as temporal dimension of human behavior with the external
environment. Anthropology together with other life sciences are engaged to
express interactive relationship between society, culture and built environment
that have been used to conceptualize this relationship by: accommodation,
adaptation, expression, representation and mostly production and reproduction.
Generally the abstract term “Built Environment” means any physical modification
of natural environment, which should be addressed by social, economic, cultural
and political issues in developing countries.


The main objective of this paper is aimed at ameliorating
the condition of one’s own built environment by examining cross cultural
examples and anthropological understandings of built environment. The ultimate
purpose is to examine the serviceable of theories in Anthropology that accounts
for spatial and temporal characteristics of human attitude. So there has arisen
four sets of questions-

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#relation between built form and human behavior and human

#meaning of form and its representation of culture

#relation between built form and individualism or
conceptualization of self.

#interrelation of form and society; roles of history and
society; relation between space and power.

The answers to the questions are indicated in each


Built environment has been considered as an inborn part of
social life. It can accommodate human behavior and needs in a variety of ways
like “Primitive Communism.” Issues
of built form can be emphasized by both social organizational features as well
as cognitive aspect. Houses vary in size, form, shape, material technology,
social organization only to adapt human needs. Again in “Salvage ethnography”- mainly built form is classified according to
details of construction techniques and processes, materials and structural
system based on cultural area concept and locale. After Second World War
Architectural researchers have asserted that built forms is primarily
determined by design and construction technology to ensure human relief, others
have asserted it has accommodated varied social groups, integrated into
cultural whole. Again built form can be determined by multicausal, holistic “cultural approach”-which state culture,
generate built form. The meaning of “fit
or congruence” suggest that human group seek to adopt their buildings
according to the wants or functional requirements. People seek to correct the
anomalies through construction, renovation or moving to a new place. Conversely
people also change their attitude to fit to the environment if crisis arise.

Built environment can be termed as activity areas which
include bounded or partitioned, spaces together with particular social groups
and their pattern of behavior. Use of space has been asserted as a matter of
cultural organization by research in cross cultural communities. Dwelling size
and shape area the indicator of cultural organization such as rectangular forms
tend to seem more permanent and it has ability to get added easily tan other
shapes. Built form serve utilitarian ends, mediating human relations with the
natural environment and accommodating behavioral requirements. Again the
examination of gender in relation to build environment play an important role
in determining built form.


Symbolic approaches interpret the built environment as an
identification of culturally shared mental structures and processes. Another
major area of research has focused on the relationship between individual or
group identity and housing. Different domestic forms and their landscapes
express institutionalized policies for presenting the self as a member of
particular group. Again structuralism approach postulates the existence of
collective unconscious, generating cultural behavior and unconscious mental
structure comprised of human insight. Sometimes cosmology expressed the form of
built environment.


Social production of built form has focused on the social,
political and economic forces producing built environment and conversely impact
of built form on social action. Social history, geography, sociology, political
economy have worked in collaboration resulted in some kind of built forms.
Dominant concepts in the field include theory of social production and
reproduction rather than culture. Classical studies of social and cultural issues
have great impact on built form. Built form is greatly influenced by social
history. The relation of power and space has been exaggerated by the term that
space is fundamental in any exercise of power. Architecture and planning serve
ideological means in reproducing structure of sociopolitical organization. So,
space is none other than a reflection of society and its fundamental material
dimensions. Spatial forms are marked by political economic studies focus on
space as product of material conditions and mechanism of sociopolitical


Social and cultural issues of human behavior with built
environment have grown significantly in the area of social production theories.
Built form always span more than one generations, so they should be a representation
of cultural identity. The social production theories or empirical details are
mostly abstract. Built form serve basic human needs. So, its form should be
well documented and well understood as per social, economic, cultural and
political issues. Anthropology, Ethnography, Architecture, Geography, Social
science should be collaborated in finding relations between built environment
and spatial structure. Though the review paper has some limitations as it was
unable to cover all related area of investigation, but the paper portrays a
rich collection of information bank around some of the central topics of
relation between built environment and spatial structure.


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