We humans are difficult animals. We are the source of environmental degradation, the culprits of resource decline. We are reluctant to trust and easily angered. However, we are also the source of inspiration, compassion, and creative solutions. What brings out the reasonable side of our capacity? The Reasonable Person Model (RPM) offers a simple framework for considering essential ingredients in how people, at their best, deal with one another and the resources on which we all rely. RPM is a hopeful and engaging framework that helps us understand and address a wide diversity of issues. The 20 chapters of Fostering Reasonableness provide the conceptual foundations of the framework and applications examining contexts as diverse as a region, organization, the classroom, finding common ground in resource planning, education in the prison environment, greening in the inner city. Our collective hope in putting the book together is to encourage a way of seeing, a way of understanding and examining circumstances that might lead to more wholesome, adaptive, and effective means of addressing the big and little issues that depend on humanity’s reasonableness.
“Fostering Reasonableness explains how we can encourage more sensible behavior in society. It offers a wealth of knowledge relevant to creating environments that support our fundamental desires to understand, explore, master, and take meaningful action.”
–Adam Grant, Wharton professor of management and psychology, and New York Times bestselling author of Give and Take
“The overarching goal of this book is unique and immensely important: how to foster the conditions and contexts that will bring out the very best in people, what the authors call the Reasonable Person Model (RPM). The authors put forth both a compelling framework and model, and many tangible and practical steps, that take us in the direction of a world where people care about and listen to each other, and where equitable (reasonable) solutions prevail. This book challenges us all to be better, more reasonable human beings, and offers the theory, evidence, stories, and tools to underpin such a quest.”
–Timothy Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, School of Architecture, University of Virginia. Author of Blue Urbanism: Connecting Cities and Oceans (2014) and Green Cities of Europe: Global Lessons on Green Urbanism (2012)
“In today’s world, where intractable conflicts seem to lurk around every bend, the Reasonable Person Model provides a clear path for moving forward in making positive, sustainable changes in our environment, our lives, and our relationships with each other. Rachel Kaplan and Avik Basu bring together an exceptional group of authors who provide conceptual tools and concrete examples for applying the RPM in a range of planning, design, and management contexts. Fostering Reasonableness should be an essential read for all students, practitioners, and scholars interested in creating a better fit between people and their environments.”
–Paul H. Gobster, Research Landscape Architect, USDA Forest Service
“This fascinating, highly readable book will help you understand why it is so satisfying to figure things out, act effectively, and do things that matter, and why it is so troubling to feel confused, ineffective, mentally fatigued, or mired in meaningless activity. More than that, this is a deeply hopeful and inspiring book. The Reasonable Person Model shines a light on the best in us, our reasonable selves, and provides evidence-based ways to foster reasonableness—with benefits for civic life, health and well-being, environmental sustainability, and more. Very highly recommended.”
–Howard Frumkin, Dean, University of Washington School of Public Health, and co-editor of Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Health, Well-Being, and Sustainability
“This book is an important contribution to the literature on human thriving. The Reasonable Person Model strengthens our capacity to face urgent societal challenges and to take public and personal responsibility for meaningful action.”
–Peggy F. Barlett, Goodrich C. White Professor of Anthropology, Emory University, and co-editor of Sustainability in Higher Education: Stories and Strategies for Transformation
Rachel Kaplan is the Samuel T. Dana Professor of Environment and Behavior, School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan.
Avik Basu is a Lecturer and Research Area Specialist in the School of Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan.