America has made the biggest hash of its environment in the history of the world, and there is no point in minimizing it, "" says Ian Nairn, whose concern for the art of environment has led him to this expressive confrontation of the problem, and the naming of a new art, ""townscape."" He sees the why of place making as remaining the same as at previous times: the how has to be rediscovered. Misuse of liberty, misunderstanding of mass production, and commercialization of emotional needs has led to our present plight. The basic qualities needed ""to make the environment and hence life itself more exciting, human and expressive"" are relationship and identity, here explored for positive and negative examples in an alert cross country ramble. Mr. Nairn campaigns for creative action (""Don't just let universal goop happen to you and then give a miserable grin at the sick jokes""), pulls the lever for a set of alternative American ways of life, and gets a vote here for a good, punchy approach to the whole business.