RELATED TERMS: Habitat; Niche; World

Environment is the name given to the outcome of the active processes of environing, which create an immunological sphere in Sloterdijk’s terms and which thereby create a meaningful context for the actants who are engaged in creating, sustaining and changing it. Environment, in this sense, is close to the notions of habitat and niche.

Environment, along with people and narrative, is one of the nodes in the tripartite model by means of which the methodological approach of design of narrative environments unfolds and is elaborated.

All three nodes are complex terms whose deictic or concrete content changes over time as the interactive dynamic among people, narrative and environments continues. Some light can be shed on what is meant by ‘environment’ by referring to the work of J. J. Gibson (1986, 1979), who writes,

“Why has man [sic] changed the shapes and substances of his environment? To change what it affords him […] this is not a new environment - an artificial environment distinct from the natural environment - but the same old environment modified by man. It is a mistake to separate the natural from the artificial as if there were two environments, […] It is also a mistake to separate the cultural environment from the natural environment, as if there were a world of mental products distinct from the world of material products. There is only one world, however diverse, and all animals live in it, although we human animals have altered it to suit ourselves. We have done so wastefully, thoughtlessly and, if we do not mend our ways, fatally.” (J.J. Gibson, 1979)


Gibson, J. J. (1986, 1979) The ecological approach to visual perception. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


One limited, motivated view of what environment is expressed by Fred Dust, Head of Environments at IDEO San Francisco. He says environment is,

“the space, services and protocols of people who use it plus the information and technology processed and displayed in it”

Space matters by Fred Dust, Head of Environments at IDEO San Francisco

added by Fernanda de Uriarte