High mass stars are dynamic entities which tend to have a rather profound impact on their environment. Despite this, there remain many open questions about their formation and evolution.The Herschel Space Observatory, along with its dedicated key programs, is transforming our understanding of high-mass star formation, in particular providing key insights into the environment in which massive stars form. Herschel recently unveiled the highly filamentary structure of star forming complexes and the molecular constituents of the ISM where star formation takes place.We recently identified, from the HOBYS key program, high-column density supercritical filaments which appear to be the preferential sites of high-mass star formation. These ridges may result from the constructive convergence of flows (Hill et al., 2011) or from filament mergers (Hennemann et al., 2012). More recently we showed (Hill et al., 2012) that the Vela C ridge tends to have a filament width similar to that seen in low-mass star forming regions (Arzoumanian et al., 2011). Additionally, the Vela C ridge tends to display similar characteristics as Serpens South (from the Gould Belt survey) a low to intermediate mass region. Such results test suggestions of a column density threshold seen in numerical simulations.
I will also discuss the impact of OB clusters on their immediate environment. In particular, in M16 (the Eagle Nebula, home to the pillars of creation), I will show how such a cluster may impact the evolution of the next generation of stars (Hill et al., 2012b).