Last edited 06 Jun 2022


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[edit] Introduction

In its broadest sense, the term ‘environment’ refers to all of the things around us. These things can affect our comfort, wellbeing, performance, behaviour, growth and development. In turn, our behaviour can impact on the environment around us.

In a very general way, the environment can be considered to comprise:

[edit] The natural environment

The term 'natural environment' refers to the non-human-made surroundings and conditions in which all living and non-living things exist. The common concept of the natural environment encompasses two different components:

In this sense, the term ‘environmental’ has become synonymous with ‘sustainability’ describing a desire to carry out activities without depleting resources or having harmful impacts, defined by the Brundtland Commission as 'meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.' (ref. Brundtland Commission, Our Common Future, 1987).

For more information see: Natural environment.

[edit] The built environment

The term ‘built environment’ refers to aspects of our surroundings that are built by humans. It includes not only buildings, but the human-made spaces between buildings, such as parks, and the infrastructure that supports human activity such as transportation networks, utilities networks, flood defences, telecommunications, and so on.

The built environment is increasingly developed in a way that considers both its resilience to and its impact on the natural environment.

For more information see: Built environment.

[edit] Personal environmental conditions

The way that individuals experience the environment around them comprises a number of different characteristics, including:

[edit] Other classifications

Other definitions of the environment include:

[edit] Business definition

The term 'environment' may also be used to describe the conditions within which a business operates. This can include the internal environment within the business itself, and the external environment outside the business that affects its activities. Typically the external environment is broken down into a micro environment and a macro environment.

The term 'environment' is also used in relation to computer coding to describe the development environment.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings

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