I had a hard time answering this blog prompt because after thinking about it for a while, I'm still not sure whether the built environment affects who I am or if the way i am affects how i see the built environment. However, i have been reassured multiple times that these assignments are not meant to have one specific answer and are very opened ended. So, I hope this works...
I have lived in Minneapolis my whole life and have not had the opportunity to travel much. So, my interactions with the built environment is pretty much limited to the twin cities area. Unless you want to hear about LaCrosse, Wisconsin, which I'm sure you don't (there's not a lot of built environment there anyway).
I grew near Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun. I have the tradition of after dinner walks around the lake during the summer instilled in me for life. The Bandshell on Lake Harriet during the summer is swarming with families and friends, whether they're sailing, fishing, riding bikes, swimming, or feeding the ducks popcorn( even though you're not supposed to).
When I was little my Mom quit her job as an art teacher to raise me and my siblings. For a while there was a period when my older brother and sister had school, but i hadn't started yet. So, i had the whole day with my mom and aside from walking around the lake, we would always go to the art museums. The Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Walker, or The Weissman. We still go the museums together a lot.
I also remember the grand opening of the Mall of America. This building was a staple to my awkward pre-teen years when it was the only place my friends would get together. Not to shop, just to walk around and act cool. Now, when i see those types of kids walking through the mall, i cringe.
I started my college life in downtown Minneapolis at MCTC (Minneapolis Community and Technical College). I then transferred to U of M. So, i am having my college experience in the middle of a city rather than on a hill in the middle of nowhere (*ahem* St.Olaf). At MCTC, there was a lot diversity. I initially felt like a fish out of water even though I've lived here all my life. I think going to a private school with a graduating class of 65 kids had something to do with it. So, needless to say it shattered my protective bubble and helped me humble myself. The same applies to the U of M. When i realized this need for humility, i found it fitting that everyday i have to walk under these huge sky scrappers. It always makes me remember how small i am in this world and that there are bigger things than me. Also, in a weird way, it makes me feel hopeful- i don't really know for what necessarily.
I get that sense of humility and hope when studying Architecture History. Seeing the beauty that people can create whether out of necessity, love for art, or love for God.
After writing this, I'm still not sure whether my built environment affects who I am or if who I am affects the way i view environment. Maybe one doesn't affect the other, but we work together.