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Political Consumerism in the Built Environment

9 pagesPublished: December 11, 2023


Architectural, engineering, and construction firms design the built environment in a continuing effort to appeal to the home-buying public. Firms’ decisions include the exterior finishes that the public see and judge. The main objective of this study was to investigate whether material design elements from the built environment would commonly be perceived to have a political affiliation. Additionally, the study investigated if political consumerism could be seen in respondents’ perceptions of the materials when aligned with (or in conflict with) their party. Architectural renderings of the same home with different exteriors (i.e., brick, stucco, or painted wood siding) were presented as experimental stimuli. The study collected data from 584 nationwide respondents. Interestingly, both major parties of Republicans and Democrats identified wood siding as representing their own political party while identifying an alternate exterior finish (usually brick) as representing their opposing party. The political consumerism behavior of reward was uncovered in respondents placing a higher perceived value on the exterior finish with which they identified.

Keyphrases: built environment, Exterior Finishes, Political consumerism

In: Tom Leathem, Wesley Collins and Anthony J. Perrenoud (editors). Proceedings of 59th Annual Associated Schools of Construction International Conference, vol 4, pages 157--165

BibTeX entry
  author    = {Brendan Coakley and K. Damon Aiken},
  title     = {Political Consumerism in the Built Environment},
  booktitle = {Proceedings of 59th Annual Associated Schools of Construction International Conference},
  editor    = {Tom Leathem and Wes Collins and Anthony Perrenoud},
  series    = {EPiC Series in Built Environment},
  volume    = {4},
  pages     = {157--165},
  year      = {2023},
  publisher = {EasyChair},
  bibsource = {EasyChair,},
  issn      = {2632-881X},
  url       = {},
  doi       = {10.29007/3l6z}}
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