Although everybody can subjectively experience the urban environment, few are able to
objectively perceive any of its components. Until we understand the basic vocabulary
and components in our immediate surroundings, we are unable to effectively teach others
about this urban environment. The speaker believes it important to identify basic urban
elements and then place them in a larger context of date, technology, government
regulations, and demographic changes as well as an ever-changing sense of beauty and
style. The urban built environment is something that many dismiss as beyond non-
specialist comprehension, however, it is possible to teach understanding about the
vocabulary and elements of any urban center by breaking it into selected components.
With time, an objective understanding of selected elements will lead towards
comprehension of the built and natural urban environment and the eventual ability to
integrate into the larger context of history, technology, government and economics.
The speaker, John Craib-Cox, has many years experience teaching architecture and
design history, historic preservation, urban growth, as well as the history of Chicago. He
has taught these subjects to all levels, elementary through graduate school. In addition,
he has trained interpreters for several architectural tour groups.