Learning near nature

Today I encountered the Colorado Chautauqua. Located in Boulder, the still-operational building was designed with logic that we’ve lost to time.

Chautauquas were places for people to go and learn, thus the Colorado location was intentionally placed near natural beauty.

The line of thinking here is what intrigues me. When designing these institutions for learning, someone thought “if we put these locations close to nature, people will learn better.” And at its peak, tens of millions of people agreed.

Maybe learning and being close to natural splendor are unrelated. Maybe they’re not. Either way, that logic is rare in today’s day and age. When was the last time someone said “we really need to learn this, let’s go outside to a beautiful mountain range.”

These days, we go to conference rooms, auditoriums and hotels.

It feels like it’s time for a modern day Chautauqua movement. A multimillion person mindset shift toward learning in non-traditional environments. Falling in love with learning and taking time out of our lives to do it intentionally.