Type, or the classification of buildings and other places into categories,structures research, design, planning, teaching, regulation, and daily life. Itis the underlying, highly influential framework for those activities and forthe products of those activities. Yet what type is, how it is used, and itsphysical, social, political, economic, and intellectual consequences arerarely discussed. Much of what we do and think is governed byclassifications that are implicit and unconscious even though the results ofthose classifications are all around us. The problem is not that we classify;classifications are necessary and often beneficial. The problem is that theclassifications we use are not explicit, self-conscious or subject to criticalanalysis and modification. Other categories that serve to organize society and daily life such as gender,race, or class have come under intense intellectual and social scrutiny withaccompanying efforts to change the use and consequences of thoseclassifications. Type is a more abstract and more varied from ofclassification but its consequences are similarly significant and pervasive.We use type to produce, modify, destroy, and preserve the environment, andto understand it. Environments are categorized by type according to those characteristics theclassifier deems important at a particular time and for a specific purpose.Distinctions between types may be based on aspects of physical form(courtyard, perimeter block), style (Victorian, post-modern), function(housing, prison), landuse (commercial, residential), material qualities(brick, concrete block), other characteristics, as well as variouscombinations of characteristics (perimeter block, concrete block housing). The amount of detail captured by typologies varies considerably and it ispossible to discern primary and secondary criteria used to distinguishbetween types in a single typology. Since type is usually an implicit meansof categorization, the complete array of types in a typology and the specificcriteria used to distinguish between types are rarely stated. (One exceptionis in building regulation.) Often the name of a type may generate a powerfulimage and a host of associations: single-family house, high-rise housing orpiazza. These images and their associations exert a powerful influence onmany aspects of creating and understanding environments.There are advantages to the use of type. It provides a means ofcommunication, a directive for action, and an opportunity to createcontinuity and predictability. In these different ways type conveys meaning;we know, or think we know, what we are talking about and what to do.Disadvantages arise when type is used unreflectively and without criticalreview, when it becomes a shortcut, a way to avoid exploring meaning. Usedin this way, type limits analysis, variation, and change.The purpose of this workshop is to explore some of the ways type is used indesign, planning, education, and research and to examine how its use limits,or enhances, possibilities for change. The workshop organizers, KarenFranck and Lynda Schneek loth, and two invited participants, Martin Symesand Robert Shibley, will each speak for the minutes. This will be followedby discussion with all those attending the workshop.