A common question about daylight and views is: “Can’t we just simulate that?” The many dimensions of daylight and views probed in this book suggest that a technological solution will always be an inadequate substitution. A cultural commitment to daylight will require contributions from all types of building professionals, owners, and occupants. American architect Richard Neutra made an impassioned plea in 1969 for multidisciplinary investigations of how the built environment relates to human health and well-being. Fifty years later much progress has been made, but there are still hurdles to overcome. Research in this area tends to be poorly coordinated and lack a unifying hypothesis. It is important to consider research questions using multiple methodologies, and avoid reductionist research which inadvertently excludes the kinds of emergent properties that are common in biological systems.

Examples of emergent properties which may be significant in our response to daylight and views include: our fundamental sense of time and reality, tightly coordinated with other rhythms, at both an individual and a planetary scale; more robust cognitive maps, the opportunities they offer for mental exploration, and resulting problem solving and insight; the inward and outward mental explorations that successful windows enable, both humanizing our buildings and reflecting the structures of our own minds. As evidenced by many astronauts’ experiences, humans seem to be intrinsically fascinated with ‘earthgazing.’