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48 Examples of a Physical Environment

The physical environment is the physical place where people live, work or spend time. This is a basic aspect of quality of life that influences other factors such as the social and economic environment. The following are common elements of the physical environment.
Activity Centers
Air Quality
Blue Space
Commercial Facilities
Community Facilities
Cycling Infrastructure
Earthquake Resilience
Energy Security
Equal Access
Fire Resilience
Flood Resilience
Food Security
Green Space
Historical Buildings
Indoor Environments
Industrial Landscape
Land Degradation
Land Pollution
Natural Surveillance
Night Architecture
Noise Pollution / Pleasant Sound
Pedestrian Infrastructure
Physical Safety
Physical Security
Places of Scenic Beauty
Places to Play
Public Facilities
Public Space
Recreational Infrastructure
Restrictions to Freedom
Solar Access
Storm Resilience
Transportation Infrastructure
Water Pollution
Water Quality
Wild Places
Accessibility is the degree to which an environment is usable for all people, with particular attention to people with disabilities.
Activity centers are thriving mixed-use areas that offer commercial services such as cafes, shopping and nightlife. These offer places to work, live, interact, conduct business and pursue interests.
Blue space is visible water such as a river, lake, waterfront or canal system.
Crowding refers dense urban environments that are unpleasant in some way. It is perfectly possible to achieve reasonably high density with a high quality of life.
Underpopulation refers to an area that has experienced depopulation such that its community and economy have become unstable. For example, a neighborhood where half the houses are abandoned. This wouldn't apply to an area that has always had a low population.
Food security is the degree to which a place depends on distant places for food.
Energy security is the degree to which a place depends on other places for its energy.
The term physical environment is also commonly used to refer to indoor environments such as the indoor air quality of a building.
Physical security includes active elements such as police and passive elements such as infrastructure that prevents vehicles from driving into a pedestrian area.
Natural surveillance is the degree to which people are visible in an area. A passive alternative to electronic surveillance.
Night architecture is how a city looks at night and includes issues such as light pollution.
Noise pollution is noise that disrupts the lives of people and local ecosystems. For example, loud motorcycles roaring through a quiet neighborhood at night.
Not all noise is pollution and this is a matter of culture and perception. For example, a crowded restaurant with a noisy atmosphere may add to its feeling of liveliness.
Solar access is the amount of sunlight that strikes a place. A key concern of urban planning as living in a damp shadowy place can be unpleasant.
Wild places are spots that are close to their original state such as a protected forest.
Restrictions to freedom may limit use of the physical environment. For example, a city filled with public space that doesn't provide freedom of movement such that it goes underutilized.
Equal access refers to equality of access to the physical environment. For example, an island with beautiful beaches that are all privately owned such that locals have no access.
Overview: Physical Environment
The physical place where people live, work or spend time.
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