VANDALISM -Issues of Design 27

Post 692by Gautam Shah

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Vandalism is willful destruction of property and culture. Property and culture are spacious words. Property includes buildings, structured public assets, art, artefacts etc. Culture covers political, religious, economic and social systems, and institutional arrangements. A property can subsume culture, so any danger to former is a threat to the later. Vandalism is as much a personal act and common act of individuals, as it is conduct emulated by individuals with some commonality, so group-based conduct.

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Vandalism is interpreted as criminal damage, misdemeanor mischievous behaviour, malicious or otherwise trespassing, breach of privacy, felony offense intentional indifference. Vandalism laws are designed to prohibit and discourage the such conduct.

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Vandalism is an attempt to change the existing set of things or order. It may not involve annihilation or removal of things. On occasions, the actions are directed to the owner, authority or God. And even if the search for them is solvable, but the vandals may have nothing to correspond except the intense desire to register their presence.

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Destructive actions can be ascribed to anger or envy, or to spontaneous, opportunistic behaviour. The action may be for peer acceptance or bravado in gang cultures. The cause of disgruntlement with a person or society could be absence of a target. Private citizens commit vandalism by willfully damaging or ignoring the damage to the property of others or the common assets.

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Vandalism against the common values of the group or society may arise for not being included or invited. It may be that the opposed values are too prominent and so the target. Values enshrined in properties are challenged when changes for betterment or creative interventions are made without due permission or authorization are made. Values are compromised when subtle or explicit ideological ‘messages’ are conveyed through public expression or conveyance through social media. The vandalism may occur when values conveyed through a declaration may be subjectively interpreted as harmful or annoying.

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In the world of internet and social medial vandalism takes the shape of ethical and revengeful hacking of domains and data there in. It may also include persistent and massive ‘trolling’ through hash-tags.

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Political vandalism is ideological ingress leading to protests, riots. So far it remains an expression it can be tackled through debate. But it can turn an expression of hatred and intimidation. Vandalism can be perceived as a legitimate act, and a social warning for course correction. So minor action may be ignored.

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In Design and other fields, plagiarism of concepts is equated with vandalism. Similarly altering, correcting, extending, renovation, removal of someone’s creation is always debatable, and borders to an act of vandalism. These include morphing, photo-shopped images, edited videos, etc. Other acts of design barbarism are ‘under or short’ designing a brief, overshooting budget, ignoring the stakeholders, generating non-performing solutions and infringing other professionals’ duties.

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The name Vandals is connected to that of Vendel, a large East Germanic tribe or group of tribes initially from the name of a province in Uppland, Sweden. It is believed that Vandals migrated from here to establish kingdoms in Spain and then North Africa in the 5th C. Renaissance and early-modern writers characterized the Vandals as barbarians who sacked and looted Rome. This led to the use of the term vandalism to describe any senseless barbaric defacing of artwork. The etymology of vandal may be related to a Germanic verb wand -to wander.

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This is the 27th article (in continuation of old series -new beginning) on ISSUES of DESIGN

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BMR and BODY TEMPERATURE

Post 680 –by Gautam Shah

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37th Annual Yokota Striders Frostbite Race

BMR: Basal Metabolic Rate is the amount of energy (metabolism-calories) per unit of time that a person needs to keep the body functioning, at rest. The ‘rest’ or body sustenance functions include breathing, blood circulation, controlling body temperature, cell growth, brain and nerve. The basal metabolic rate accounts for about 60 to 75% of the daily calorie expenditure by individuals. About 20% of energy expenditure comes from physical activities and another 10% from digestion of food. It is influenced by several factors, such as the age, gender, degree of acclimatization, posture and state of health. The primary organ responsible for BMR regulating metabolisms is the hypothalamus.

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Our body functions as a thermo equilibrium system, with upper limits of bearing is 52° C, and lower limits of 3° C. A body may endure or adopt to certain abnormal conditions for a period of time, but there may occur side effects. The side effects may be realized in a different form and at a different time. In certain acute work conditions like mines, metal smelting plants, textile plants, cold storage, the levels of efficiency or productivity depend on the endurance level and adaptability of the body.

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The human body has many minor variations, but an average temperature of 37° C. Body temperature is highest in the evening and lowest in the morning (+or- range of 1° C.) energy expenditure of the body is different for endothermic animals and fish or reptiles. In reptiles and amphibia heat regulation mechanisms is absent. Their body temperature rises or falls with the atmospheric temperature. Hence they are called cold-blooded animals. In abnormal temperature conditions they regulate the body temperature by suitable habitat like burrowing and hibernation.

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Infant

Infants have a very imperfect mechanism for regulation of body temperature. A fit of crying may elevate and a cold wash may lower the body temperature. Aged persons have a low metabolism, and so maintain a lower body temperature. It takes much longer for an aged person to gain or dissipate body heat. Female body temperature is slightly lower than male. High protein foods increase the body temperature. The act ingestion and food digestion and exercise raises the body temperature. Atmospheric conditions like, temperature, humidity and movement of air, affect the efficiency of heat exchange from the body, and so the body temperature.

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There are three types of heat generating processes in the human body. Conversion of food matter into useful energy, Muscular activities, and Certain infections and dysfunctions within the body, elevates or lower the body temperature by extra ordinary rate. Many physical, chemical and bacterial agents disturb the heat regulation mechanism and cause fever. These may be due to increased heat production or reduced heat loss, or both.

Africa School Life Joy Happy Students Literacy

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SHADING DEVICES for BUILDINGS

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Post 670 by Gautam Shah

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Openings need additional shading systems primarily because these are thin and more translucent in comparison to any other structural barrier systems, like walls, floors or roofs. Additional shading systems are preferred because the needs are for small period of time, part of a season, occasion or location. The needs for a shading device are people, culture or locality specific. The openings are used for outward and inward view, illumination, breeze and air change. And shading devices achieve needs by blockage, filtration, reflection, redirection or delays.

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Opening systems like Gates, Doors and Windows have three distinct zones: The exterior zone deals with environmental aspects that are spatial extensive, directional, temporal and seasonal, The interim section constitutes the body of the opening, and so its depth is the operative element. The interior segment is in the personal domain of the owner-user, which makes Interior shading devices easy to install, manouevre, change, with variable yet very precise control over the functions. Interiors shading devices are also visible from outside and so some conflicts of approach to design are inevitable. In most likely scenarios the architect is a different person than the Interior designer, who may or may not confirm to the theme of architecture.

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Shading Devices with openings are of many different types. Different types of shading devices improve each other’s functions, often duplicating it. There is a strong demand to rationalize the system with fewer elements, by way of integration, removal of duplication and redundancy. Shading devices offer micro tuning of the environment, catering to local requirements, provide occasional variations and satisfy the urge for personalization.

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● External shading devices are architectural provisions, with varying levels of integration. There is an overwhelming regimen of the building style, location, orientation and shape-form. The provisions are so confirmatory that user is not allowed to make any changes. The provisions, though occur as fixed devices and as manipulable systems, no spatial relocation is allowed.

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External shading devices are of longer lasting materials as these have to bear the elements of environment like Sun, rain, heavy storms, snow, atmospheric pollution. These are termed architectonic element due to the match with architectural language.

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External shading devices are very effective, as they intervene before the radiation, rain, wind etc. enter into a building shell. Such devices de-rigueur have universal design for all faces and floors, but are affective differently at different times of the day or season.

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● Interim shading devices have thickness as the key factor, and are usually thin. Interim systems could have partial spread or have options of folding, collapsing or demounting. These are frugal and likely to be a single purpose entity. Interim shading systems are often spatial provisions of vacuum or gas filled cavities.

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● Internal shading Devices occur in a user domain and so are preferred for the ease of choice, installation, change and manipulation. These provide variable yet very exact control over privacy. The internal shading devices are housed in a protected environment so can be delicate, lighter in weight and occupy a very small thickness.

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Internal shading devices are multi layered to serve diverse purposes, and offer several choices of spread or placement. The space between different layers is intentional, to work as a metaphysical barrier. Internal systems also serve purposes beyond the shading, like sound and thermal insulation of the interior space. These also provide a tactile (soft) surface, colour and textural effect in the interior space. Interim shading devices filter and diffuse the light in inward and outward directions.

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Internal shading devices are predominantly of soft materials such as fabrics, films, sheets, flexible materials like mats, nets, tapestries, or stiffer materials such as reeds, wood slats, etc. Thin and pliable materials allow the assembly to collapse, gather or roll up. Glazing materials offer largest variety of surface treatments, by way of manufactured constitution, integrated and applique surface treatments. Glass surface treatments now include application of films, texturizing, metalizing, micro (nano or molecular level) engraving, enamelling and colouring.

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Shading devices such as Venetian blinds or vertical louvers are not very effective on the internal face of the opening, as the solar gain has already been admitted into the interior space. But interior shading devices offer glare control, and visual comfort. An internal shading device reflects back part of the radiation, but latent heat remains within the interior space.

Shading Devices are single or multi layer systems, acting as a composite or assembly of individual skins. The layers have prearranged sequence, so access to an inner layer becomes difficult. Some can be collapsed or removed. Layers form a planer element with some materials plus cavities as the substantive body.

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Additive or mounting systems are used as optional or occasional facility like storm shutters. Collapsible or folding systems require a volumetric space for parking or resting, which reduces the net area of opening. Pseudo or pretentious shading devices are in the form of furniture elements, furnishings, panelling, partitions and other architectural devices.

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Thermal management by shading devices: These are designed to take optimum advantage of seasonal angles of a solar incidence. The solar gain occurs primarily in reference to the plane of the window, so an alternate method could be to have a variable plane of the window, but that may not be an appropriate architectural style. However, external shading devices keep the glazing surface in shade to cut off the direct solar radiation.

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Vision management through shading devices: Shading devices as subsystems divide the view out or inwards by framing, masking, modelling. The visual scape is altered through the sill and lintel level and shape, pattern configurations, quality of glazing etc.

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Safety security with shading devices: External shading elements maintain or reduce the size of opening, and so become integrated latticed barriers for safety and security against height related hazards.

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SUPPORT SYSTEMS -Issues of Design-22

Post 669 by Gautam Shah

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We need supports to move, stand, or even do nothing. We use the support for gaining, sustaining or relieving various biological conditions of the body. We need, physical as well as abstract, supports. We need supports inside our places of inhabitation, and beyond it. We explore our environments for natural supports, and configure supports as we create our habitats.

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Primary supports are required for getting in-out, conducting tasks, closing-opening and shifting the utilities. Supports are also used for expression and communication. Supports govern the reach and work capacity of a person. Supports allow and enhance movement of the body limbs and parts, in wide range of spatial occupations and conduct it at a required pace.

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Built-forms, amenities and facilities offer a complex set of configured supports. Supports are required to initiate an action, for work towards or away from the gravity, overcome impedance of friction, bondage etc., for swaying and stopping it and absorb the bounce-back forces of reaction. Supports help change the body postures for physiological relief, breathing, metabolism, respite from tedium and consistency.

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Support systems are universal, used by persons of different stature, abilities, age profiles and mental conditions. Supports occur in one continuum, employed in unique sequence of activities. For these two reasons, some optimal needs must be realized.

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Amenities and Facilities offer physical and abstract supports. The physical supports as they really exist, we rarely use them. The physical supports through their presence provide assured certainty and adequacy of performance, safety and security. It is psychological reliability that the supports are available, when and where needed. Abstract supports do not exist, but are rather conditions that restrict one to take certain actions. These are socially acknowledged thresholds. Such metaphorical systems also regulate the expressions of the body.

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The supports are required for facilitating Macro movements of the body, like shifting the body or changing the posture whereas Micro movements help in gestures, communication and expression, and to realign the physiological pressures.

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In all work processes, brisk or sedentary, one needs the ability to freely reposition the body. Such movements are postural ones, like the movement of limbs, neck, switching the weight over legs, or wriggling over the bottom. Others are gestural (twitching of lips, eyebrows). The postural or gestural changes occur with supports. These are, access height of the amenity, body position and related reach and work ability, familiarity etc. Assurance of a support allows one to take deliberate risks.

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Body movements endow new work capacities (reach, spread, productivity) besides removing the tedium. Such dynamic posturing increases cognition of happenings around us and encourages concentration by stimulation of muscles, blood circulation, and neurochemical processes. Too many body changes may seem distracting to others.

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Balancing the body

We continuously sway our body due to internal causes (breathing, metabolic activity), and for external reasons (like turning head while observing and communicating, for keeping garments in order). The sway invigorates our body and greater participation in the world around us. For such minor swaying no physical supports are required to initiate or terminate it.

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The postural changeability is both a physiological adjustment and a psychological expression. It is reflected in anxiety and boredom. Postural discomfort also occurs due to inadequacies of utilities. Utilities are exploited (misused) for fidgeting. Fidgeting is now accepted as a mode of tackling and learning. Intentional postural incongruities are natural while executing novel and complicated tasks. But postural stillness does not last very long while handling vibrant conditions.

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Exposure of postural discomfort and related restlessness, if amplified, can become very embracing. Designers need to include supports and barriers for fidgeting to flourish but regulate its exposure. Postural discomfort at some level is unbalancing force and a nearby support is required.

Receptionists are intensely observed persons. This is annoying when waiting seats are in front, a reception table is at eye level and its front is open and no other interests in the space. Similarly ‘open desks’ on stage or in conference rooms, if open at leg level distract the viewers.

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Once, our work tables were ‘wall mounted’, to source various services (drainage, power, structural support), but then concept of island work stations offered multi-directional posturing and access. In offices the open plans were too static. The personal table top computers were too fixed for fidgeting around. The Laptops with wireless data transfer systems and cloud storage not only allow micro body movements, but also posting in variable locations.

Designers are offering amenities and facilities that are not very ‘comfy’ but with ‘bearable discomfort’. That causes, little physical inconvenience, to infuse reach, balance, transitions extra ordinary perception.

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Indian offices, once had stools for peons. The wide foot print (legs tapering outward) offered a stable structure but its small sized seat and taller height, were unnerving, keeping the person alert and ready to standup. Similarly tall bar-stools also do not allow one to settle but allow freedom of movement. Aged people (and pregnant ladies), to get up, derive support from handles and harder, taller and a flatter seat, things contrary to these conditions make life difficult.

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The support systems are required for Active or Passive movements.

Ο Free active movements are used by a person to overcome the effect of gravity, for example, rising from lying to seating position.

Ο Resisted active movements are used by a person to overcome the effects of a manually or mechanically applied force, for example, lifting a load, closing a door, using a knife and fork, or digging with a spade.

Ο Assisted active movements occur with the help of another person or apparatus, like mother assisting a child or by using a chain or rope.

Ο Assisted-resisted active movements are dual efforts. First part of the movement assistance is required to initiate an action, but the other part uses resistance to control the action.

Ο Passive movements are those produced by an external force during muscle inactivity. All joint movements can be performed passively by manual means.

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This is the 22 nd (continuation of old series -new beginning) article on ISSUES of DESIGN

 

BUILDING CLIMATE

Post 539  by Gautam Shah

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A building is affected by various aspects of the climate, which are, mainly external to it. A building as a shell modulates the climate, and creates an improvised climatic (interior environment) not only within it, but over the vicinity. Modern buildings have systems that consume energy to provide lighting, ventilation, cooling, heating, conveyance, and various types of kinetic power. Operations of such systems affect the environmental conditions of the building and the surroundings. Occupants of the building are also active energy processors, and leave their imprint in the place of inhabitation.

Gangtok Author Thebrowniris

Building level climate is formed by following factors:

            1.         Climate of the region

            2.         Climate at the location

            3.         Building structure or shell

Ideally a building design should begin with the climate of the region and its location related variant. A building shell is formed of many materials and form-compositions. The materials due to their constitution and forms of composition offer a complex but unique set of interactions with the various climatic aspects.

Kerala courtyard with planter Wikipedia image by Author User: Soumyavn

As a design, the tasks are scheduled and located through appropriate orientation, and so are expected to benefit from the climate. Specific activities are spatially designated and timed in the sections of the building for their density of occupancy in terms of humans, facilities and amenities. These activities, however, often stretch beyond their nominally defined space, overrun the schedules, and have varied levels of occupancy. The adequacy of a building for the climate and possible environmental comfort is thus an averaged experience.

Wikipedia image by Author Baycrest (“CC-BY-SA-2.5”)

In dense urban localities the site size, shape and the predefined exposure due to the surroundings, all constrain perfectly oriented planning. The interrelationship between sections and linkages add to the contradictions. From a climate point of view, a building shell behaves like a biological entity, that is in a continuous process of achieving equilibrium. But the permanency of the site size, shape and predefined exposure, limit the climatic adjustments. There are two sets variable factors that require climatic management: the externally, the unpredictability of climate, and internally changing task profiles, related space occupancy, and time scheduling. The variable factors cannot always be managed in the size, shape and form of the building form, however, amenities, and facilities mitigate the situation.

Wikipedia image by Author Ildar Sagdejev (Specious)

At an extreme level, with the use of ‘universal services’ (central air conditioning, auto ventilation, etc.) environmentally consistency is achieved for the entire building shell. In another approach, relocatable amenities and facilities, help time+space shifting of tasks. Designers also use materials and techniques of composition to make energy exchange favourable. The techniques include architectonic features such as parapets, barricades, curbs, chowks, cutouts, ventilators, ducts, chimneys, shafts projections, chhajjas, balconies, galleries, canopies, and textured surfaces. Landscape features like slopes, hills, mounds, gorges, valleys, water bodies, shrubs, plants, shrubs, hedges, groves etc. are used for the same purpose. The success of a climatic design depends on how the active and passive means can hasten, delay, curtail or terminate some of the environmental processes.

Indian Library Calcutta India, Wikipedia image by Author njanam92

Some of the problems that designers face while designing with the climate are:

1 Building is often required to be located in a climate region that is essentially inappropriate for the intended activity. A dehydration plant to be located in tropical rain forest area.

2 A building consists of several sub units (limbs), some of which will have either inferior or superior climatic orientation. Placement of parking on a west side of a building / bedroom on a windward side.

3 Environmental requirements are often so exact or acute that traditional climate modulation techniques like building shape, materials, orientation etc. is inadequate.

4 Activities within a building cannot be located permanently, because there are many hourly, daily and seasonal variations in a climate.

5 An activity though accurately located in a building, may last longer than the affective duration of the particular type of climate in that section.

6 Activities often require specific climate conditions, but whose occurrence is not easily predictable.

7 Some activities cannot be relocated to new areas to suit the hourly or seasonal changes in a climate, because the amenities with which they flourish are fixed.

17th-century qasbah in the Skoura palm grove in Morocco is built with the traditional pisé, also known as pisé de terre, or rammed earth. Flickr image by Maureen (https://www.flickr.com/photos/amerune/)

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HOW DO MATERIALS RESPOND ?

Post 453 -by Gautam Shah

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Stone Old Church Architecture Ancient Wall Gate

Materials respond to

Other Materials,

Environment,

User.

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OTHER MATERIALS:

Materials respond to other materials within their realm. The reactions occur both, in the presence or absence, of the environment and the user. A material of a higher phase reacts more readily to a material of the lower phase, e.g. solid to a liquid. Material with an ion charge reacts to a material with opposite ion charge. A material with lower latent energy becomes recipient.

Federation Square Melbourne -tessellated grid Wikipedia Image by Cookaa

The response of a material, occurs through the surface, more emphatically, than anywhere else. Materials with their own surface systems (inherent finish) respond in the same manner as their body would. However, applied surface systems of the same or of foreign materials show different behaviour. In such reactions, the important factors are, surface preparation, application method, and bonding techniques.

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ENVIRONMENT:

Materials are affected by many aspects of the environment. The effects are local, if environment effects are directional (through specific orientation), or occur comprehensively. The various constituents of the object also respond differently. Single, or mono material systems are often inadequate for such multilateral environmental demands. Multi-material objects or composites are conceived to serve such demands, separately as well as unitedly.

Farshid Moussavi, Detail, façade of Edificio Bambú =Bamboo Building Madrid Wikipedia Image from Francisco Andeyro (Alejandro García González & Francisco Andeyro)(www.arquima.es)

An applied surface material system, covering an entity, forms its own environment. Here the situation can also be equated to material to environment response.

Effects of the environment substantially relate to the movement of earth-sun, and so have a time dimension. The time dimension makes such environmental effects to be temporary, permanent, recurrent, or variable. One perhaps cannot terminate the processes of nature, however, the effects of environment can be temporarily delayed or quickened and spatially diffused, or intensified, to programme the functioning of an object.

The effects of environment are structurally causative (capable of causing structural changes in a material), and also sensually attributive (capable of providing the sensorial experiences).

Material Response

USER:

A user perceives a material-object in different terms like: Engineering attributes, Dimensional features, Surface properties and for Other considerations. A surface is the most proximate and tangible part of an object. A surface, is often the reason, why an object continues to survive in a particular setting. A user perceives the surface of a material-object through factors such as:

EMP Museum founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000, located at Seattle, designed by Frank Gehry

  • proximity (closeness, intimacy, distance)
  • duration (of encounter)
  • frequency and extent (area) of contact
  • mode of handling
  • our past experiences
  • our sensory capabilities
  • our physiological state
  • atmospheric conditions (temperature, humidity)
  • light (direction and level of illumination)
  • orientation, or point of observation.

Close up of a peyote cactus growing in the wild as mentioned in The Doors of Perception, by Aldus Huxley

There are more than 20 mathematical parameters applied to surface description, and some of the terms are: roughness, irregular features of wave, height, width, lay, and direction on the surface; camber, deviation from straightness; out of flat, measure of macroscopic deviations from flatness of a surface.

 

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DEALING with ENVIRONMENT

DEALING with ENVIRONMENT

Post 301⇒   by Gautam Shah  →

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Human body responds to environment in many different ways. These changes are physiological, biological and behavioural. Environmental affectations are traumatic, stressful, or just discomforts, and are a long term, seasonal and passing. The traumatic changes due to acute stress, may cause genetic changes over generations, but most leave their imprint on psychological processes. The traumatic stresses, restrict our capacity to adjust to the environment. Human body has capacity adopt the environment in spite of the stresses. The changes or acclamatory adjustments are met within the mechanisms of our body such as respiratory, metabolic, glandular, etc. Small temporary adjustments are temporary discomforts that are partly met by body mechanisms or by changes in our lifestyle. Changes in lifestyles include task shifting and rescheduling within or around the abode, re-calibrating the built form (shading devices, opening systems), altering the clothing, remoulding the social behaviour, and redefining the dietary preferences.

Leaving Italy for a better life -in America

New migrants

The terrain and its materials were the prime resources in developing an abode. Human body can adjust to environment of a place by emulating the flora-fauna, and if any, practices of earlier inhabitants. These models have made it possible to develop human habitats in all geological and climatic conditions across the world. The climatic behaviour is cyclical, and that offers immense hope and opportunity for adaptation. Pre-emptive actions, fore-planning, storage management, are instinctive activities in most species. Human beings have an additional capacity that is to mould the past heritage to new situations. Migrants have moulded their traditions, for the new place, but have been successful in conserving their original identity. Very often the conserved identities are not functional, but just denotive and perfunctory.

Chinatown Spadina Avenue Toronto

In the short term adjustments, we can accept a wide range of temperature, humidity and other variations. We need both the time and technology for such compromises. One has to choose between slower foot or road travel, and bear the travel fatigue while gradually adjusting to issues of high altitudes, or drop down via an aircraft without fatigue but face breathing and cold weather problems. People have different body make-up, endowing them with specific capacities for bearing the environment. Through training a human being can achieve extra ordinary proficiencies. For astronauts the training in gravity less environment, high spinning capsules, upside down working, etc. equips them for predictable as well as crisis environmental conditions.

Sudden shift to new Environment -Kibati villagers

Several new technologies have been developed since prehistoric times to deal with normal and acutely different environments. These include, work-schedules, body training, psychological counselling, dietary regimen, and technological aids such as clothing, work spaces, social contact mechanisms.

Masai Dressing for local climate

Fire, abode, clothing, selective foods, family structure, means of communication and expression, arts and crafts are some of the means that help us to improvise our existing environments or occupy new territories. These means and methods have reduced the need to evolve biologically for new or changed conditions. Short periods of acclimatization aided by technological aids also reduce the time for reversal of conditions.

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