The widespread problem of visual illiteracy prevents people from perceiving the aesthetic quality of their surroundings. This inability represents a barrier to full participation by the public in debates over the kinds of cities they want to live in, and yet the physical qualities of the environment strongly affect the social and psychological well-being of its inhabitants. This article argues that art educators have an important role in fostering the awareness, understanding and appreciation of urban aesthetics. It then recounts the author's field study, which investigated the effectiveness of three instruments for developing understanding of urban aesthetics. The article concludes with some suggestions for art educators interested in developing programs for studying the urban environment.