I say, “I’m studying to be an architect.” You say, “Oh wow, what kind of buildings are you going to draw?”

Oh, man.  I never know how best to answer this question.  It’s a little naive, but by no means the questioner’s fault.  Here then, is a mini lesson on architecture and urbanism, as explained by one who’s still learning.  I figure since I’ll be using these words throughout, I should somewhat define these concepts at least for the purposes of this blog and at least so I know what I’m mumbling about.

Architecture.  It’s got something to do with buildings, and a lot more to do with a lot else.  It is the queen of the arts–ideally, a harmonious blend of technical knowledge and artistic vision, manifested into spaces where people experience life, every single day.  How we live, where we work, where we play, where we worship–these all tie back to architecture.  Our quality of life, therefore, is rooted in this great art.

Urbanism.  Although it has become somewhat of a buzz word, real urbanism is timeless and unmistakable.  Let’s think for a second.  Where is your favorite place in your city or town?  Where do you love to walk, to sit, to read a book, or to enjoy a coffee?  Where can you socialize, take your lunch, or just people-watch?  If these answers don’t come readily, it’s likely that these characteristics of vibrant neighborhoods aren’t available to you.  And it’s more than likely that they should be.

Urbanism, I think, is a people-centric way of life.  It speaks of streets that are safe and easy to walk across, of places vibrant with a mixture of activities, and of hubs where people of all classes and neighborhoods eat, linger, and laugh.  Most importantly, urbanism speaks of connectivity.  Of community.

I say, “I’m studying to be an architect.” You say, “Oh wow, what kind of buildings are you going to draw?”

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