The Built Environment


When we consider “the environment,” we often think of so-called wilderness areas of trees, mountains, and unspoiled lakes. However, like many other species, humans alter their environment in a variety of ways. We farm, extract, and above all build on the face of the earth.

The Built Environment focuses on human construction and its relationship to the natural world. Transportation systems – railroads and highways – parks, and buildings comprise aspects of the built environment evident in these photographs.

As the world urbanizes at unprecedented rates, the term “built environment” is often used to include such topics as food access, walkability, open spaces, gardens, and infrastructure in built areas. In the context of this exhibition, however, the emphasis is on the ways in which human construction intersects with the natural landscape.

Listen as History of Art and Architecture professors Andrea Murray and Pieter Broucke discuss the concept of the built environment: