Innovation District needs to get back to nature

ROBERT CAMPBELL’S review of the Innovation District goes right to the heart of the matter: how to make Boston’s latest development district feel like a place for people and less like a Dallas office park? (“Innovation District needs a human touch,” Page A1, Nov. 16).

Our perceptual systems evolved in the wild and are still designed for that place, no matter how technologically advanced we become. We love looking at forests and trees, faces and shapes that mimic nature — all crucual elements in our past survival and necessary for our present and future well-being. Research shows that if we don’t see those things, we get stressed and sick.

Glass curtain-wall boxes do not fit our subconscious predispositions in the way that faces, landscapes, and more intuitive building traditions do. Unlike the buildings on Hanover Street or Newbury Street, the Innovation District’s new construction creates corridors of detachment that future generations will struggle to fix. Ann Sussman


The writer is an architect and co-author of the book “Cognitive Architecture, Designing for How We Respond to the Built Environment.”