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Urbanization and health

One may work on the goal of water conservation by trying to persuade people to use less water when taking showers by, say, taking shorter showers, keeping the tap less than wide open, or keeping the tap closed while actually washing. Alternatively, or in conjunction with efforts to change behavior, one can attempt to design shower heads that automatically conserve water by limiting the flow when the tap is fully open but that still provide adequate water for showering. Ideally, one would like a water-miser shower head whose spray is preferred by users, who then will be motivated to use this head whether or not they are concerned about environmental change.

Finding ways to change the technology so that it is equally effective, if not more so, while doing less harm to the environment is a complementary alternative to attempting to modify behavior directly. This is the motivation for the concerted efforts to develop environmentally benign alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels for energy generation and for many other current research activities in the physical and biological sciences.

We wish to argue that human factors research has much to contribute to the goal of shaping technology so that the natural consequences of its use for human ends will be more environmentally benign.