Reflection on Initial Experiences with Atlanta and the Built Environment

I must admit that, when I began this course, I found the concept of an entire class, a language arts class at that, about something called the built environment a peculiar course to start college; however, the cluster classes working together to emphasize the artificial geography where and how we live has quickly made me much more interested in the subject. Although I have always loved history, my preference for words over pictures led my self-education to be driven away from hands-on work and instead remain insulated with books. Through both the articles and books that I have read and the walking that I have done in Atlanta both in class and personally has demonstrated to me both the importance and potential of using archaeology and the built environment to understand the past and find greater insight into history. We can best learn through the combination of various sources such as written and architectural instead of focusing solely on one. Especially now that I know about sources like the archives, I am excited to begin incorporating visuals into my written and investigating and learning about architecture and using it in historical analysis. Further, as I was reading Where We Want to Live last night for our seminar, I saw extremely vividly how the built environment plays a huge role that I want to be a part of in my future. I want to work on improving and building living conditions in both the United States and developing countries, and this book helped open my mind to how the structure and transportation patterns influence, even determine, the ways that people live and build cities. Beginning this class, I was neither excited nor interested in the subject matter nor the work that we will have to do, but that has quickly been reversed. I am learning so much now in class and even out of class through reading and listening to podcasts. There is a lot that the built environment of Atlanta, and anywhere really, can teach me about how to live every day, to improve the work that I want to be part of, to increase my awareness and appreciation of my surroundings, and to be more versatile and adaptable in the modes that I can learn and teach with.

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