Friday, May 14, 2010

Book Review "Sidewalks" -Maya Jourieh

Author and sociologist Mitchell Duneier’s book “Sidewalk” trailed in several themes throughout the book. A common ideology used throughout the book was Jane Jacob’s insight on the urban life around the street vendors of Greenwich Village in New York City. He is a sociologist that spent with the homeless/ “unhoused” book dealers on 6th avenue in New York and discovers an incredibly complex economy and society. Specifically he explores uncovers the dignity of the homeless.
As a sociologist, he spent five years trying to get to know these vendors and understand not only what they do for a living, but how they get by on the streets of New York City everyday. For example, the first vendor he introduced, Hakim, a book vendor, that he got to know through a student of his. While spending time in the streets with this man he is surprised to learn that he is quite well educated and knows what he is talking about, yet lives the way he does. He’s fascinated by the way these venders live their lives. He even based an entire chapter in his book to explain how the unhoused men manage to go to the bathroom (explaining that a bathroom is a luxury, and not always available).
The most interesting point he made in his book was when he tried to make a connection between the vendors lives and their race. He made note in his book “the gaps in American society is the difference between people related to race and the discourse revolving around this volatile issue.” Duneier is a white, middle-class sociologist who infiltrated a stretch of lower Sixth Avenue. He realized the differences of the ways they were raised and lived- for example, he was Jewish and most of the vendors were Muslim or Christian, they all had different levels in education (he held a Ph.D in sociology as well as attended two year of law school, whereas some of them did not graduate from high school), he was a professor and they were vendors. His attempt in trying to connect the vendors backgrounds and current lives made him uneasy.

This book relates to a lot of we have learned in class. I was reminded of our early discussions in the class right away when he quoted what Hakin said had reminded him of Jane Jacobs, “People like me are the eyes and ears of the street.” In that Hakim was referring to not only street vendors, like himself, but people who are of the norm with the street. Another theme in the book that I related to class discussion was when he mentioned the "intereactional vandalism," and when people ignore social cues on purpose. These men do it to women passing by, but it also mentioned that telemarketers do it with their spiel, by preying on the fact that people find it hard to be rude to them while on the job.

Activity 10 -Maya Jourieh

The trip to Fresh Kills Park in Staten Island was pretty interesting. I learned a few new things about what used to the the dump. However, being that I live on Staten Island, I do not like the idea that it is known for that dump.
I never knew how big the area they were redeveloping is. It is pretty exciting to think that something that used to be known to be so disgusting is going to be turned to something amazing.
Fresh Kills, lived up to it’s name and used to be “fresh”. Prior to being dumped on, it was all flat wetlands, completely natural, and wild life has roamed that lands. It wasn’t until 1948 that New York City’s garbage had completely flooded what used to be so beautiful and had turned it to a filthy wasteland. In 2001, it was decided that Fresh Kills should be cleared once again and the city should rid Staten Island of this dump.
The city got rid of a lot garbage, however, they covered up the rest with soil, creating four different mounds on the land. Not only did this clean up the land, but it prevented the waters from being any further polluted; the water now is said to be clean. To cover the mounds of garbage they covered the garbage with a soil barrier layer, followed a gas vent layer, a drainage layer, then a barrier protection material, lastly by soil and then the grass and trees. It’s like cover up for a blemish, you can’t tell that these used to be mounds of garage. These mouds a pretty high as well; however, providing us with a beautiful view of the Verrazanno Bridge, Manhattan, the Goethals Bridge, the Outerbridge, the Bayonne bridge, and the parachute drop in Coney Island (that I could personally not see).
When this park is completed in 30 years it is said that it will be the second largest park in New York. Developers plan on making it available for certain activities such as kayaking, canoeing, sporting fields, bike tracks, horse trails, ski slopes, bird watching towers, and more.
This will certainly change the view of Staten Island in the years to come.

Activity 9- Maya Jourieh

http://urbanplanningblog.com/2006/05/23/parking-in-downtown/

This blog relates to what we have learned and discussed this semester because it mentions the public space in the metropolitan area being taken up by parking spots. It discusses how planners and designers sometimes forget to consider to leave open space for parking spots. It’s necessary for them to remember that because in the end, then the cars end up taking space that could be used for something else.

http://www.urbancityarch.com/2009/11/change-or-sink/

This blog discusses how Florida is mainly dominated by cars. Without a car, people seem to be falling behind. They have no other means of transportation, even in the city area people seem to take cars more. This thought relates to the blog because it discusses how means of transportation are required in an urban area. Without it how else would people get around.

http://www.nolandgrab.org/

I think this blog relates to our course the most only because we discussed that Atlantic Yards issue. This project is taking a toll on a lot of people. Many are against the idea because they do not want to deal with the new construction and would like to keep the area as is. This relates because we talked about renovating and redeveloping areas.

http://miamiherald.typepad.com/urbanista/
On schedule, new Marlins ballpark rises (way) over Miami’s Little Havana

Although this blog is about Miami, it’s still an Urban area and I find that it relates in a way when talking about building something new when in an crowded area. Things like this not only take time and a lot of money, but space that could be used otherwise.

http://urbanplanningblog.com/2007/01/18/fight-for-urban-space/

This blog relates in the way that it talks about the necessity for finding public space in urban areas. Public spaces are necessary because they make society feel safer in a way.

Activity 8 -Maya Jourieh

For this activity, both our group (group 3) and the other group we were assigned to work with one another and were to take each other on a trip the other group is not familiar with.

The other group’s leader was familiar with the St. Marks village area because she had lived there her entire life. We had all met up at Astor place and walked straight down from there. I was already familiar with the area but being around someone who have lived there their entire life made me open my eyes to it more than. St. Marks is known for its artsy style and diversity. She had taken us around the block and shared what she personally knew about the area. It’s different when someone has personal memories of a certain place.
While we were walking and talking about it, we passed several tattoo and piercing shops, clothing stores you wouldn’t find anywhere else (once of which is Trash Vaudville, a personal favorite of mine), restaurants, and so much more. Even the people of the area seemed like they belonged there. It was something about the atmosphere that made it all the more different. We then walked down further to the dog park and around the East village a bit more- passing places of the night life, that are dead during that time of the day. We walked around the and then continued back up towards out starting point. Along the way, we passed a small community garden, where some of the group members took pictures (we actually spent some time in front of the garden, trying to figure out if it was public or not- it was). As we kept walking, we passed the only Polish church in the area. It was interesting to learn that it was the only one there. After our walk, we decided we were all going to stop for something to eat at Tahini’s, a Middle Eastern restaurant. I enjoyed the food, but it wasn’t anything special to me because I’m used to eating Middle Eastern food on a daily basis, being of Syrian decent. After having lunch with everyone, we ended our first trip by walking up to the train station to head towards the Brooklyn Bridge, where our second trip would begin.
We took the 6 train going downtown, to the last stop, to take us to the starting destination of our group’s trip, the Brooklyn Bridge. It was my job to lead both groups around the area and share some history about the bridge and the area, DUMBO. I learned a lot of new facts while doing some research. The most interesting ones was that people used to suspend themselves from the bridge as a sport until they realized how dangerous it was, and that a majority of the buildings used to be factories and had been transformed to lofts. The walk across the bridge was amazing. It made me feel like I was in two places at once when I had arrived at the middle. Once we reached the end, I we realized there was a significant differences between both areas of St. Marks and DUMBO. DUMBO was more quiet, and things seemed to be kept to themselves. Some parts of it were being renovated, and others were left astray. The alley ways between the buildings were my favorite part of the walk. The cobble stone streets and empty buildings looked like they were pulled out of a black and white photograph. We realized as we became closer to the pier there were more people. The area by the water and the park was filled with people at the time. Once we reached the pier, we stopped for some ice cream at Brooklyn’s Ice Cream factory- it was a twenty minute wait on the line, but it was all worth it in the end.
It was pretty clear that St. Marks was more diverse, and DUMBO was a bit more low key. This trip showed the differences in the area. All in all, I enjoyed it, it was fun.

Activity 5 -Maya Jourieh

I had attended a community board meeting with Danielle Nicolosi, who is also in the class. We had attended a meeting on Staten Island, where they mainly discussed the issue of the after math of a storm. There were about five tables of people who seemed to be important and lead the majority of the discussions throughout the night. We sat in the back as they were taking attendance to see which members of the council were present and who was just attending it for outside information. The ages of the main members ranged from about men and women in their 30-70s.
They called up the first speaker to the podium. It was a member of a team that was helping to fix the damages of the storm; however, I forgot the name of the team he worked for. The next speaker was from the Department of City Planning. He was at the meeting to explain the department’s new plan for redeveloping the island’s waterfronts. He had even come prepared with a (boring) informative power point.
The third speaker was the most interesting one of all. A middle aged Caucasian woman, who was fighting against her speaking time at first, had angrily walked to the podium to state her problems. Besides her ranting and throwing out violations (as if she knew all about them), all I understood from her speech was something about a parking lot at the dentist’s office. The funniest thing was her repetition of the phrase “Just bare with me!” with an attitude none the less; Danielle and I kept a tally, she said it six times during the few minutes she was up there.
Santa Clause was next! Well he wasn’t the actual Old St. Nick that descended from the North Pole on a sleigh, but he could have passed off as a look alike: long beard, low worn small glasses, and long white hair that was tied back. I didn’t concentrate much on what Santa was saying either; I couldn’t not tell whether or not he was against the cranky woman before him. The next speaker after him spoke of the same topic, but thankfully spoke clearers than the last two. He spoke against the violations and wished for the property to would once again be used for land use.
The next speaker had touched the hearts of almost everyone in the room. He was and elderly man who had lived in the same house for 50 years in Annadale. His home was completely ruined by the floods the storms had caused. He was very upset over what happened and was asking for any help anyone could provide. Someone had advised he call 311 and tell them of this occurrence, apparently they were planning on help those whose homes were ruined by the storm’s floods that night.
Lastly, the last speaker who walked up was to the podium was one of the dentists from the office building that the blonde lady was complaining about. He stated that he does not see a problem in the parking lot and the reasoning for the office taking up so much space was its ramp that was used by children with spcialized needs and does not feel like this is causing a problem.
All in all, the meeting wasn’t so bad. I’d have to say watching the people’s reactions to certain things was the best part of all.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Check This Outt!!

URBAN LIFE VIDEO :)

http://www.youtube.com/urbanfever123

video

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Activity 10 - Zachary

Fresh Kills began life as a salt-marsh. In 1947, Robert Moses proposed making it into a park, beginning with filling in the ponds with trash. The park never materialized and Fresh Kills instead became a massive landfill composed of four huge mounds. According to Phil Gleason (quoted in New York Magazine), Fresh Kills landfill was as big as Manhattan below 23rd street. The landfill was closed in 1999 and, in 2003, Bloomberg proposed turning it into a park. The landscape architecture company won the ensuing contest for plans to convert the massive landfill into a park.
New York Magazine reports that "Field Operations settled on a philosophy that has guided all of their planning for the site: They would not build a new park on top of an old dump. Instead, they would make the old dump a part of the new park, by acknowledging it, reclaiming it, recycling it on behalf of a modern metropolis. [Designer James] Corner did not see Fresh Kills as a painting, in other words; he saw it as a palimpsest, a collaboration between a landscape architect and his landfill." Standing on top of one of the mounds, seeing lower Manhattan in the distance, and being surrounded by pumps that gather methane produced by the decaying garbage beneath the now-green mounds makes the consequences of this philosophy clear - and it is marvelous. What struck me about Fresh Kills as it is today is that it is at once beautiful and dystopian, scenic and a product of breathtaking human artifice. It is, in fact, impressive in all of the ways that the city itself is. Field Operations made no attempt to conceal the fact that the park is built on top of a landfill, and, rather than detracting from the majesty of the project, this decision makes the park what it is. It is astounding that humans can produce so much garbage and it is equally as astounding that other humans (or, perhaps, some of the same humans) can transform that trash into a calming, green space with the best view of Manhattan I've seen anywhere besides an airplane.
Corner's genius is in blurring these lines between artifice and nature, between park and landfill. "At Field Operations, he is attempting to expand the idea of ecology to include not just rivers and streams but also subway lines, movements of capital, and weekend traffic. “To me, a city is an ecology—it’s an ecology of money, an ecology of infrastructure, an ecology of people,” he says. “Everyone thinks ecology is about nature, and it is, but there are so many other systems.”" (NY Magazine) Fresh Kills is supposed to be a lesson in sustainability. By refusing to hide the garbage dump history of the park it reminds park-goers that New York still ships its waste to South Carolina and Pennsylvania. It certainly accomplishes that goal, but the process of building a park out of a garbage dump has an implicit notion of sustainability that goes far beyond identifying individual ecological problems.
Fresh Kills seems to chart a course outside of what appears to me to be deadlocks in Green theory. The scale of the park and the amount of time that will be required to finish it put to shame the idea that ecological problems will take care of themselves. On the other hand, Fresh Kills challenges elements of Green theory that identify an anthropocentric mindset, industrial technology, or scientific reason as the cause of ecological destruction and unsustainable living. These theories have an advantage in pointing out the severity of our collective ecological situation, but they can't account for Fresh Kills which will, through collective action and the application of modern technology, reclaim as livable a space that would otherwise be lost. Fresh Kills is a monument to what the human powers to transform and appropriate nature can do if they are applied with sustainability and livability in mind, and that is its significance for me.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Envrionmental organizations Activity 10 - Lorraine O'Connell

I discovered that New York City Environmental organizations are quite nice to talk to. I use to work in accordance with an environmental agency and they weren’t very nice so I expected this project to be like pulling teeth. Quite frankly it was the opposite thank goodness. I called three environmental organizations: TIMES-UP, New York City Environmental Fund-Hudson River, and Environmental Defense Fund. All Rights Reserved. What was most surprising was the amount of organizations solely based in New York City. Yes I understand we have hundreds of environmental problems but I though it always to be more productive if it were a nationwide thing, but hey that’s probably why I’m not going into the environmental field.
But what I found out from the three organizations is that there are a lot of issues in New York City they gave me lists and lists of issues like pollution, littering, toxic waste disposal, garbage issues, lack of trees, car pollution, factory-like industries, and so much more. But the three topics the three organizations concentrated on were car pollution, water pollution, and industry pollution.
TIMES-UP is an organization that encourages the use of bike riding to cut down on the car pollution that causes a million problems. They told me that they are concentrating on this one for a number of reasons. Some of them being that the car industry has grown so much and that more and more cars are being put on the street which adds to the carbon dioxide levels in the air. This leads to the higher amounts of asthma patients and other respiratory problems for the youth. So they are trying to encourage more and more people to ride bikes, they have implemented more space for bikes to be parked and they are also trying to encourage a shared space on the road initiative. I found this organization to be most interesting and most productive.
The New York City Environmental Fund organization was interesting but they didn’t have a well rounded environmental impact. They were solely concentrated on the cleaning of contaminated water. Which is amazing don’t get me wrong but I from what I got they don’t seem to care much about any of other environmental issues. Because the other organizations had more than one project going on that combated multiple environmental issues while this one was just the cleaning of the Hudson River. Unless there were different organizations within it that had other projects but I was unable to ask since the woman was in a rush. But none the less I found out their most pressing issue is the contamination of the Hudson River and its impact on the rest of the city. They feel with the cleaning of the water we can use it for the different environmentally friendly things. Such as they feel that allow it is extremely expensive they want to find a way to use the Hudson River as some type of energy producing tool.
The last organization was Environmental Defense Fund their main goal was to cut down on pollution. They are implementing a recycling program, an anti-littering program and strive on teaching the youth at an early age how to cut down on pollution. I found this to be very interesting because I work as an after school teacher so I am definitely going to use some of the lessons to teach my students about these issues.

Friday, May 7, 2010

BOOK REPORT by CAITLIN BUTLER

The book Always: Living La Vida Loca by Luis Rodriguez is about a man named Luis who grew up in L.A. during the 60’s and 70’s. When he moved from Mexico to L.A. that’s where things started falling apart for him. The major themes of this story are violence, police brutality, man vs. society, and fighting for something. The main argument of this book is when the Chicanos were treated as second-class citizens everywhere, but this mostly happened to Rodriguez in schools where he went. On page 137, it says, “Pulled in well off white kids”. The Chicanos were oppressed and the whites were seen as better people than the Mexicans.
The most interesting part of the book was when the girl had to join the gang in order to be protected from the others. Another interesting part was when Rodriguez and others were at the beach and got harassed and beat up by two guys who they later found out were both cops. It was very hard for Rodriguez because he basically grew up in a neighborhood where the people living there did not like Mexicans. So, the only way out for him was to join the gang. It became his only protection at that point and that is why he did it. There was definitely racism, injustice and prejudice that happened. On page 65, it says how the Mexicans suck. The white kids would also say to him and his brother, “what do we have here, spices to order, maybe with some beans”. They were right from the start harassed by all the whites kids in L.A. I know that if I had to deal with this kind of thing, I would just be so angry and upset. I would probably just go home and hide inside the house the whole time, until they left me alone.
This relates to the things that we talked about in class because this entire book is based in an urban environment. It also relates to class because just like we had to do storytelling, Luis also told his storytelling in his own way. It also related to gendered places. It revolves around mostly men. It’s amazing to see how much violence there is in urban areas all around. Not to say that there aren’t violent places elsewhere, but I always hear about violence in urban areas. One of my favorite things that Luis says in the book is that gangs are not the problem, but the society that creates these gangs that becomes the problem. That is very true. If one thinks about it, society is what makes gangs happen in the first place because of poverty level, etc. But it is how the person handles it that makes all the difference in the end. But for most minorities and the poor, there is no other alternative than to join a gang. That is all that they become to know and get used to. But it takes very special people, like Luis to finally get out of a gang and turn their life all around for the best, making it all worthwhile for the person.
Luis Rodriguez is a very smart, nice and dedicated person who later became and made something of him self. He later left the gang and became an activist against gangs. But even that didn’t solve all his problems. His son was in jail for 28 years for four attempted murder charges. So, just because one family member makes it out, doesn’t always mean all of the family members will get out. That is what makes the whole thing so sad. But I guess it can take just one person to change things for the best. I love how Luis courage and bravery got him out. He saw past the gang and the violence and instead saw love, hope and determination to a better life and world for himself and others. He can now go and carry that for the rest of his life. I just love inspiring stories such as this one. Because it shows that anything is possible if you try!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Tania Damiano - Book Report - "Sidewalk" by Mitchell Duneier

“I am thinking about the sidewalk. Thank goodness for the sidewalk.” (80)

Mitchell Duneier spent years studying the sidewalk, but not much the physical sidewalk, that is, the pavement and the cracks in it, but how people move and act on it. He tells the story of how the men and women he studied looked at him with suspicious eyes, worried and ‘weirded out’ (for a lack of a better term) but soon let Duneier into their lifestyle as he tells their story.
First off, he tells the story of an African American book vender named Hakim Hasan who was feeling a bit uneasy to have Duneier observing his every move. He is sells what he calls “black books” from a small stand (well, table) on Sixth Avenue. As he approached Hakim to ask him what his role in on the street, Hakim kindly answered that he is “a public character" (6). I couldn’t hold in my laughter at the conversation that followed as Duneier was confused at what that meant and Hakim mentioned Jane Jacobs' “The Death and Life of Great American Cities.” I found it funny because it sounded like Hakim was frustrated with a man not knowing such a famous phrase and book. It is important to know that during Duneier’s first encounter with Hakim, he immediately assumed that he was unhoused and uneducated for he thought that “many of the African-American men selling things on the block lived right there on the sidewalk.” Interesting how we assumed things for no absolute reason or conscious thought.
Thanks to Hakim and one of his NYU colleagues he coincidentally found while walking down the street (21), he was able to observe and found out more about the lives of other venders along Sixth Avenue. All of them, however, were not the uneducated, ‘losers’ Duneier once assumed they were, but he saw them as “innovators - earning a living, striving for self-respect, establishing good relations with fellow citizens, providing support for each other" (79). Many of the citizens were thankful to have these men out here for they were of great help, which helped the venders stay in business. Duneier states that most of these men, now venders, were at some point on drugs or other illegal activities, and being “innovators- earning a living” by selling books or others down sixth avenue was what kept them out of trouble. After much research and observation, furthermore, Duneier noticed that these amazing men “worked directly in an unplanned way to bring this particular habitat into being” (154). This ‘habitat’ he refers to is sidewalk where "complementary sustaining elements were brought together in a working system" (154).
Much of this book, especially the conversation Duneier has at the beginning of it, is in conversation with Jane Jacobs’ mentioned book. He mentions that "Sidewalk life today is different from how it was when Jacobs was writing" and that “her account of sidewalk life is different not simply because the sidewalk was different but because the lens of the sidewalk was different” (192). Jacobs’ main argument on sidewalk safety was that, besides police officers and other government officials that worked for the public directly, the ones that kept the streets safe were its daily users- that is, if anyone were to be in danger, others would directly jump in to help or at least call for help. Yet Duneier argues that Jacobs’ observations ended in the 1960s and that years after that, the view and life of the sidewalk had changed dramatically. On page 157, Duneier says that just in the 80’s, the sidewalk was seen “as a kind of struggle” because people had changed and the contact between them had changed. Life, mainly in New York City is continually changing; the city’s sidewalk needed new eyes to keep it safe.
Another important issue is the theory embraced by Mayor Guiliani of “Broken windows.” His theory sees all kind of disorder in the city, not referring simply to cracked or broken windows but to any type of crime and illegal activity occurring in the city. Yet, Duneier looks at the bright side of the situation and proposed the “fixed windows” theory which is the exact opposite of the “broken windows.” He believes that when the government finally “abdicate its responsibility to help persons who come out of prison to find homes and jobs, such persons are left to their own devices if they are to transform themselves into persons that make a contribution to society” (315)- this is, men that will improve the city. As I mentioned earlier, these book vendors attempting to make “an honest living” (315) are well liked by the citizens that pass by Sixth Avenue, everyday and especially by Duneier’s NYU classmate who gets his reading materials from Hakim.
And well, I don’t want to sound obvious but this book has EVERYTHING to do with the class. The study of people and their behavior is clearly depicted in Sidewalk. The way people interact, how the sidewalk life is and how the street venders have become their own “family” as they daily meet at the same spot hoping for a better life than what they most likely had before. It also connects to the class because Sidewalk has a lot of influence and input from The Death and Life of Great American Cities which we discussed a lot in Urban Studies. I enjoyed Duneier’s writing even more than Jacobs’. Probably because it’s more current and I could relate to it more, but also because of his writing and the way he presents city life.

Tania Damiano - Activity 9 - Why Blog if no one reads it?

http://onlytheblogknowsbrooklyn.com/category/civics-and-urban-life/

This blog was amazing. The post up “Bensonhurst Explorations in Pizza” was awesomeee! Besides having amazing pictures of pizza that made me ridiculously hungry, it reminded me so much of the time we went on the “group field trip” and how we ate in Astor Place and at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory right under the Brooklyn Bridge. We, well I, didn’t take amazing pictures of our food or ice cream, for that matter, but the point is that this blog reminded me of that day and how much fun we had. I also love “New Billboards Say: Drink WAT-AAH” because I am absolutely how New Yorkers, mainly the bloggers of course, find so many things fascinating. I remember that that same day when our group went out, we were taking pictures of posters or art work all over the street, talking about it, sometimes laughing, sometimes thinking, and sometimes noticing how messed up it all was.

http://savannahurbanstudies.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2008-03-22T19%3A27%3A00-05%3A00&max-results=1

Digital Tourism in Savannah “...such things [beauty and charm of the Savannah's historic district] do not guarantee that tourism in Savannah will prevail in the 21st century. The characters of tourists in the 21st century differ from those in previous centuries. The rapid technology changes transform the characters of tourists and subsequently change the demand of tourism.”
I wanted to comment in how much NYC and Savannah, GA are different. I don’t think ANYTHING could ever stop tourism in NYC. NO technology, no changes in people. New York City will always be the amazing, bright, full of life city and nothing beats that. Although I love quiet, suburban areas with lots of green areas, I always grew up in the city- in the capital, center of all attraction, in Uruguay (my country of birth) and I’ve lived in Queens and travelled back and forth to Manhattan for ten years now. What’s more, while tourism in Savannah may be dropping as people become less interested, no tourist seizes to be amazed at the beauty and greatness of New York City, babyyyy!!!!

http://johnson.blogs.nytimes.com/ ****

The City as Fortress:
“There are good reasons, as I’ve discussed over the past few weeks, to preserve urban density. But that density creates an opportunity for terrorism; it’s not an accident that the most high-profile European and American attacks of the past few years have all targeted emblems of metropolitan living: subways, commuter trains and office buildings.”
Terrorism will exist wherever, whenever. It’s obvious that attacks will occur where there are the most people. The purpose, I assume, of a terrorist attacking is to kill as many people as possible and cause as much suffering they possibly can. Why attack the empty state of Wyoming when NYC is packed with people? I agree with the blog as a whole and I found it very interesting since it is not much I pay attention to. Steven Johnson here, after a long explanation of terrorism in NY, London and Madrid claims that whatever the situation, “it’s not worth building fortress cities, or giving up on the idea of density altogether” and I completely back this up. I never been to Madrid or London, but I can speak from experience about NYC. It is this diverse urban density that makes the city so great.

http://www.newcolonist.com/

The New York Flaneurs: “I sadly believe, however, that the New York "flaneur" is a dying breed. You can tell by the rapidity of movement, the glazed looks, even the quickness and carelessness with which we tear down old beautiful buildings to replace them with bland facades of dull white brick.”
Oh the lovely Flaneurs! The very first work in learned in Urban Studies Class. I loved reading this blog. Sadly I couldn’t comment on it (strangely, there was no “comment” button anywhere.) It’s great how the people that have not been in NYC for as much as I have and caught up with the hype of this city notice how fast everything moves here. I remember when we did the first activity “on being a Flaneur” how different it was from being part of the action of what seems speed walking to every person not in as much hurry as the rest of the city is. I agree with David Willems (author of this blog) how “the New York "flaneur" is a dying breed.” It’s totally true. The movement of NYC doesn’t allow for just walking around and observing. If you are born and raised a New Yorker, you miss out all of the amazing things this city has to offer. I was not born or raised here, but I caught up fast to the lifestyle. My mom constantly reprimands me for losing my sense of awe that I had when I first arrived. I know that my teammate Zack is utterly fascinated with everything he sees everywhere he goes because he hasn’t been here long. This sense of awe is lost by all New Yorkers that’s why the flaneurs there are “a dying breed.”

http://newyorkdailyphoto.blogspot.com/

White Sauce: “One of the extraordinarily fascinating facets of New York City life is the ethnic concentration that you often find in various businesses and enterprises. And one of those enjoyed by all is the cuisine. This is what makes New York a literal smorgasbord of delectable food from all corners of the globe and one of the biggest allures of the city to visitors.’
I just love how New Yorkers have that intense need to have one comment or the other about its food. Being the diverse city that it is, you find any kind of food at mostly any corner. This blog is all about the Halal Food Indian Carts that are located in almost every corner. I laughed while reading it because there is two right by Hunter- one right in front of Hunter West and another one around the corner. And more so in Manhattan than any other borough, you find not only these carts but so many other foods, for all likes, from all origins. I was amazed by this, too, when I first arrived to New York. The diversity of people and life shocked me since I was so used to the same old every day for my ten young years in Uruguay.

Zachary - Book Report

In Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America, Setha Low combines techniques of personal narrative, ethnography, and social theory to problematize the growth of gated communities in American suburbs. Her analysis does not focus so much on the often times tense relationship between suburban and inner-city residential development, but on the precise characteristics of a gated community that set it apart from suburban development generally. "Even though the gated community evolved from suburban designs and development practices and responds to middle-class values and desires, this housing solution is distinctive in its political significance and potentially disruptive consequences, and must be understood in terms of how it changes the social organization of the neighborhood and a sense of community and security for individuals." (Pg. 52)
Gated communities have existed since European settlers began migrating to North America and began as a defense against the indigenous populations. With the subsequent extermination of these populations, however, defensive walls surrounding European colonists ceased to be necessary. (Pg. 14) Gated communities that function as an exclusionary status symbol of the American ruling class date back to the mid-nineteenth century, but did not take on their present form and enter the current period of explosive growth until the 1980s. (Pg. 14) In 2001, "7,058,427, or 5.9 percent of households reporting that they live in communities, live in those surrounded by walls or fences, and 4,013,665 households or 3.4 percent, live in communities where the access is controlled by some means such as entry codes, key cards, or security gate approval." (Pg. 15) This represents a massive increase, as even in 1995 only four million people lived in gated communities. (Pg. 15)
This growth points towards the question that motivates Low's book: given that gated communities are, in fact, no safer than comparable, non-gated suburban developments, what motivates people to move to them? This question is further complicated by the substantial sacrifice of personal freedoms that residents frequently make in conforming the often-extensive rules and regulations established by homeowner associations in these developments and by the substantial cost associated with maintaining gates and guards. Low argues that the driving force behind the growth of gated communities is primarily symbolic and psychological and that it is not actual well-being but a sense of well-being rooted in complex, multi-faceted social factors. (Pg. 11)
An important psychological factor that motivates many of the subjects Low interviews to move to gated communities is a search for community. "The important elements of community-shared territory, shared values, shared public realm, shared support structures, and shared destiny-are all part of the gated community package." (Pg. 57) The material basis that secures these commonalities is two-fold. First, gated communities tend towards homogeneity in housing prices because of the high cost of security and amenities fees in most gated communities. (Pg. 46) Second, most gated communities are privately owned and enforce rules through "covenants, contracts, and deed restrictions (CC&Rs)" (Pg. 19) that dictate the terms under which residents may move into a development. Both of these factors have a homogenizing effect that tends to select residents that share values and lifestyles and that binds those residents together by creating a common set of norms and regulations.
These material elements, however, may not actually create a sense of community for residents. Despite frequently citing the desire for community as an important reason for moving to a gated community, the majority of residents of gated communities do not feel that their gated community provides a sense of community. (Pg. 70) Low suggests that gated communities may actually exacerbate feelings of isolation by intensifying the division between insiders and outsiders.
This division between insiders and outsiders touches on another crucial aspect of Low's investigation. The fear of others strongly motivates many people to move to gated communities. A host of factors that range from status anxiety to fear of crime to concerns about terrorism to outright bigotry give rise to the figures of otherness that permeate the culture of gated communities. For instance, in an extraordinary number of interviews that Low conducted, subjects casually made reference to a fear of construction workers who entered the community to do maintenance and repairs and to build new homes. (Pg. 59, 98, 102, 147,150) These fears tend to be deeply radicalized and motivate the construction of spaces of whiteness that in turn reinforce the fear of others. "Racist fears about the "threat" of a visible minority...are remarkably similar. This is because many neighborhoods in the United States are racially homogenous. Thus, the physical space of the neighborhood and its racial composition become synonymous. This "racialized" spatial ordering and the identification of a space with a group of people is a fundamental aspect of how suburban landscapes reinforce racial prejudice and discrimination." (Pg. 146)
This insistence that the organization of space is not just consequence but cause of social and political tensions is for me the crux of Low's analysis and the main intersection between her book and our class. She at no point attempts to fully diagnose the complex reasons why people move to gated communities nor does she try to attribute them to some fundamental cause. Instead, she provides a multitude of analytic tools for understanding this phenomenon and, above all else, lets her interviewees speak for themselves. In this way she raises more questions than she answers, but this is as it should be.
What does become clear is that exclusion is spatialized and self-perpetuating, For instance, fear of crime is a strong motivating factor for people who move to gated communities. However, spatial separation and isolation from surrounding communities tends to perpetuate and reinforce the fear of crime and victimization. Thus, gated communities form, in a sense, a self-reinforcing system of exclusion and fear that has disastrous political and social consequences. If ever there was an argument for analyzing cities and neighborhoods as a confluence of social, psychological, and political factors then this is it. That cities are not only built from out political and social imagination, but help to create and recreate it means that only a sustained and critical intervention into the techniques and process that construct cities can provide alternatives to what are, in many cases, flawed and dangerous ways of thinking about and planning cities and neighborhood. By laying bare the assumptions, motives, and desires of people who move to gated communities, then, Low allows us to rethink this phenomenon.

ACTIVITY 10- Freshkills Park by CAITLIN BUTLER


On Wed. May 5th, 2010 I went on a fieldtrip to Freshkills Park with other people from my Urban Studies class. At first I was confused at what time exactly I had to catch the ferry, but I ended up taking the ferry in time, which was good. The ferry to Staten Island was free! That was the best part. When I first got on the ferry, I could not believe how big it was. It reminded me of the Titanic ship. I am used to taking ferries when I go out to Long Island for the summer, but this boat was ten times bigger than the one I take. When we got off the ferry, we met up with Dough, our tour guide at Au Bon Pain. Then we all went on the bus and drove for half an hour until we reached Freshkills Park in Staten Island. Dough told us about the park itself and how it used to be one of the biggest landfills in New York. The New York City Department of Parks and Recreation team are working to rebuild the landfill into a Freshkills park, so that the public could enjoy activities such as biking, hiking, skiing, baseball park, kayaking, etc. In the New York Article it said how there are lots of birders that come to Freshkills Park to watch all the different types of birds there. Even Dough told us how there are lots of birds here. And while on the bus he pointed out to us this big nest that this bird was in. The bird was huge! I forget what kind it was but it was a grayish colored bird, watching over its babies. It was very cool thing to see. I love nature and animals so for me it was pretty cool. I wish I could have spotted a red-tailed hawk on this trip though. O well, I can always come back once the park opens up to the public, which Dough said would open up sometime next year. I was really shocked when Dough told us that FreshKills Park will be the second largest Park next to Pelham Bay Park. I did not know that. See what you can learn just by listening to your tour guide! In the NY Times article titled, “Turning Trash Piles Into a Bird-Watcher’s Paradise”, the birders were complaining how now there aren’t enough birds that they can see, compared to when it was a dump. They said they couldn’t see the birds now because they had closed down their food sources. There are now only hundreds are low thousands bird remaining in the park compared to more in the past before the rebuilding of the landfill. The thing that also shocked me was when we were asked in the bus to sign this sheet of paper that promised not to hold the Sanitation Department responsible for injuries or death at the landfill. I was like well why are they taking us where it is dangerous. But it ended up being okay anyways. There was no danger there that I could sense. So, I was also very happy about that! Dough took us to see North and South mound, but it will soon be called North and South Park once the park opens up to the public. North mound was much taller than South mound. It went up to 150 feet as the NY times article stated. When I saw it, it looked very big. It also says how it will be a viewing platform there for the birders, which should make all the birders out there very happy. As long as no one hurts the wildlife there, I am all for the platform building. When Dough took us out onto the stones to step on, I asked him a question. I asked him if anyone can just come up here on their own and he said no. The only way you can come up here is through the tour. I wanted to know this question because I am interested in shooting up there with my camera. I really liked the scenery of the place. It was overall very open, green and calm looking. Another thing that I learned from Dough was how Freshkill park get its name. Dough said that the name means fresh water in Dutch, which makes total sense if one thinks about it. He also said that some people in Staten Island were confused on the new park being built. Some wanted this and some did not. I really liked this trip overall. Besides the hassle of actually getting there, it was really all worth it in the end. I got to learn about things I did not know before and I got to see just how beautiful this park is and is going to be. It’s incredible how something so disgusting like a waste fill place can get built into something really nice. Now, I will just have to wait and see the new park when it actually opens up and do some of the activities there!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

COMMUNITY BOARD MEETING BY CAITLIN BUTLER


On April 15,2010 I went to the Community Board 5 meeting. It was located on 27street between 6th and 7th avenue. The meeting started at 6pm. I am guess that the meeting was held here because it is safe, clean, protected, monitored, and easy to get to. Midtown is surrounded by major transportation areas, such as Grand Central, Penn Station and Port Authority. Without these places, people would have a very hard time getting around. It is a business area as well as a tourist area, great for sightseeing such as the empire state building, the observation, and radio city music hall.
The Community Board 5 main goal is to address issues such as: homelessness, security, new developments, noise, traffic, zoning, school and library funding. This community board exists because it’s a way for regular folks to get involved in their own local communities and address what issues that they may have. The Community Board’s boundaries are from 3rd to 8th avenues from 14th street to 59th street. At the meeting, it was mostly white men, but there were also women there. The men were dressed all in business suites, which I guess would make sense since they probably all, came from work. There were men of all ages there, but it was mostly older men in their 40’s and higher. The meeting began with the public having two minutes each to address their concerns about their neighborhood. At first this wasn’t going so well, because not everyone followed the two-minute rule. It was getting a little out of hand. Then the woman who was in charge had to warn the people to really take only two minutes because of so many speakers that still had to speak out. The layout of the place was there was a big round table that wrapped around and that was for the committee group only. Then you had behind them all other chairs for the public to sit at. It was very crowded. Some people even had to stand and wait there turn to speak. If you had to speak, you had to sign up your name before you came inside. There was this one particular police officer to spoke out at the meeting about the Times Square shooting which occurred on Easter Sunday. He said that 250 cops were working that day. There was 50 adults and 10 juvenile arrested. 2 of them were affiliated with a gang. It is terrible how anyone can do street fighting to the point of death. It is quite shocking to me.
The second thing mentioned at this meeting was the building of a tall building about 1,200 feet wide by Vornado. They want to build this at 15 Penn Plaza. A lot of people was in favor for this happening, because they said it would increase for jobs, it would make a easier for people to travel in Penn Station, and it would bring business around the areas, during these tough economic times. The main purpose for this is transit improvement for the commuters going to and from work. This one Chinese man names Jim spoke and said that this would be a great thing to do because he is frustrated at the fact that there is not enough space on the sidewalk for him to go to Penn Station. Building this tall building would make an easy access to Penn Station for him and others he said. It would also clean up the streets if this building were built, according to some. The Land Use and Zoning Committee apposed to having this building built. They said that it was insufficient to clearing out the big crowds at Penn Station. Also they had a problem with this because they said the building is just too tall to be built. It would be considered the second largest building after the Empire State Building, which honestly in my opinion, do we need another tall building like that? I personally do not need another tall building blocking the sunlight from my day. I spoke to this one woman asking her why she attended the meeting today? She said she attended the meeting because she doesn’t want the official to shut down Hotel Penn, because of its beautifulness. She wants to see what will happen to this building. I then asked her, how did she find out about this particular board meeting and she said they had pamphlets in the hotel. This was her first community board meeting that she has gone to. Her name is Mekala and she lives in Queens. She was very funny I must say. Throughout the meeting she was making face gestures, and noises at some of the people who were speaking. She couldn’t believe at what some of the people there were saying. She was overall very friendly though. I thought parts of this meeting were confusing, and some people repeated things over and over. I am not going to lie; the meeting was kind of long and boring. But still interesting to actually experience a community board meeting and see what was bothering some people. Now I can say that I have been to a Community Board meeting before!

"There Goes the Hood" - Book Review Lorraine

Lorraine O’Connell

Urban Studies Book Review



In the book “There Goes the Hood” by Lance Freeman, Lance Freeman is out on a quest to truly figure out what impact gentrification has on neighborhoods that are directly linked to it. To fully understand the meaning of the book we first need to understand what gentrification is, “to transform a run-down or aging neighborhood into a more prosperous one, e.g. through investment in remodeling buildings or houses” (Webster Dictionary). But the difference in this definition and the Urban Studies dictionary is that the Urban Studies definition includes the actual living aspects of the neighborhood. Meaning in remodeling a neighborhood for the sake of it being more prosperous we are losing all other aspects of the neighborhood that makes it what it is in the first place. Examples of that are the culture, the language, the religion, the cultural integration in the building structures and so forth. In removing a neighborhood for the purpose of making it prosperous is unrealistic. Questions that could and should be raised is what makes a neighborhood un- prosperous, unvalued, and run down that the government claims the right to take it down and run the people who live there out. These questions along with other concerns are addressed in the book with full satisfaction.

In reading this book I have learned to hate the political system and government more now than I already did before. Yes I am aware of a lot of the cruel and absurd things the government and people with money can do but in reading this they have taken it to a whole other level. The fact that people with money have the opportunity to say that a neighborhood is unworthy of existing just because it may be on the poorer side is just insane. Questions I ask myself then are what makes the neighborhood poor and who exactly goes out looking for these neighborhoods? But in realizing that the majority of the people who are using gentrification to their advantage are for the most part rich white men and they being ignorant and very judgmental usually go for the neighborhoods that are classified as the hood or slum. In the book the two areas in which Lance Freeman study are Harlem and Clinton Hill, neighborhoods that for the most part get a bad rap. To be honest I had only heard of Harlem before reading this book and I didn’t think it was a terrible place. Yes it once had an extremely bad rap which encouraged people not to go there but recently it has picked up and gotten better but because of its past it still gets a bad image. I had never heard of Clinton Hill before reading the book and now that I’ve read the book I would love to go and visit it for the sake of extra research. Lance Freeman does something that is unlike many other writers he focuses not on the statistics but the actual findings he himself does while visiting the neighborhoods and through the interviewing of the people who are directly affected by the issue. “Despite all the changes, however, one could also point to conditions that symbolized anything but gentrification. Public housing are still major features of the landscape, and abandoned buildings and vacant lots have not yet completely disappeared. …Despite all the talk of gentrification, one would not confuse Harlem with Park Slope or the Upper West Side, two other New York neighborhoods with a history of gentrification. As a visitor from Australia remarked to me, ‘Harlem seems to be resisting gentrification pretty well’” (Freeman, 29). In reading the book we become more and more aware of how Harlem is somehow resisting gentrification and that it is not something that should be of concern for the people. But even after reading the book I am still unclear has to who decides if gentrification occurs, and how does it even begin in the first place. What justifies a person’s ability to overtake an entire neighborhood for the sake of making a new one that is supposed to be bigger and better but to be honest it never is bigger and better it just causes more displacement of people and a new creation of a new hood somewhere else. What is the sense in that? Another shocker from the book is the two sided argument, in picking up the book I expected everything within the book would be bashing the topic and implementation of gentrification but to my surprise there were some positive aspects to the whole issue of gentrification.

A specific example from the text that surprised me where the comments about gentrification being a positive aspect in a neighborhood, one being their neighborhood is brought into the limelight of the mainstream American culture, their neighborhood becomes something people other than themselves talk about. As well as the bringing of businesses into the area that other neighborhoods may take for granted because those qualities are so prominent in other neighborhoods. And the greatest aspect was the concept of upward mobility without having to leave the comfort of home, where they’ve grown up for years now. But then the negative aspects of gentrification of course shut down a lot of these thoughts. “In Clinton Hill and Harlem, gentrification thus poses dilemma. It was acknowledged to bring good, but it also created a foreboding of things to come. A fear of displacement hung in the air. This fear of displacement played a significant role in the negative sentiment that was sometimes expressed toward gentrification”(Freeman,94).The main one being why is necessary to have the whites be the sole reason for a neighborhood to improve, that only brings more issues of discrimination, redlining, and overall a push to keep the white rich men up on top so the rest can be pushed down and kept underneath them. It is an incredible concept and one that has been used for years now. In thinking of gentrification I think of colonialism, we have just adapted the concept to modern day life, changing the name so it sounds fancier and more socially accepting.

The book is directly connected to our studies in class because it incorporates a lot of what we have talked about from spacing(its privatization, gendered), the breakup of cities in general to specific areas, community involvement/ advocacy, private versus public spacing and most importantly Gentrification and the Image of a city. It is obvious how Freeman address gentrification because it is one of his main ides in writing the book but the image of a city isn’t as clear. The way I take it and understand this topic is that the reasoning behind gentrification is how a city is viewed in the public eye. Depending on how you view a city depends on how successful or tragic it is. When told a name of the city you automatically have a picture or image in your mind stating all its flaws and perfections which is what I mean by the topic of city imaging. It is an interesting concept and something I think more Urban Studies writers, professors and people in general need to elaborate more one.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

BLOGGING ASSIGNMENT BY CAITLIN BUTLER


www.onephotographaday.com is a blog about a man named Luis Gomez who goes around taking photos all over Washington DC. Every Day he goes out and photographs one photo a day. I thought that this relates to our own urban life blog because like him, we too go out to take pictures of the city, just not Washington. We take pictures of life in New York City. Both we and this man photograph what we see in the urban area, which I think is really important because you get to see how people live their lives in the city. It is important to show different aspects and perspectives of the city and the people that live in it because everyone is different in different cities. Plus, photographs are a great way to capture life in a city and it lasts forever. In our blogs, I like how we have to photograph the place we go to and the people in it. It is great way to make something worth while, so that other people and not just ourselves can learn about different places and cultures.

www.urbanblink.blogspot.com is a blog about a New York based photographer named DeAngela Napier and she photographs the streets of New York. She says that Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and boy do I believe in that saying. She photographs everything in the city that she thinks is beautiful to her and that is exactly what I do in my blog as well. I also try to capture things in the city that are appealing to me as well. Her theme is similar to that of our blog for Urban Studies because we both photograph the streets of the city in New York. Like I said before photography is vital because it captures a certain image for a lifetime. It will always be there to reflect and look back on. Photography is a great way to express yourselves and that is why our teacher makes us put pictures on out blogs, and I just love that!!!!!

www.urbanzenfoundation.org is about an organization that creates, collobrates and connects awareness in order to bring change to the children and in areas. This is similar in the same theme as our blogs because both blogs creates awareness in what each person writes in their blogs. In this blog, they are trying to bring unity in people all around. And in our blog we are bringing awareness to the city life to anyone who may not know about urban life and what it has to offer. Awareness is very vital in trying to convey and get across a certain theme or message overall to the public. The message we want to get across is to better the city in some ways and to educate others about the city that we college students live in. Everything we write in our blogs in vital . You get to learn about something that you may not known about before. And in the urbanzen website, people too get to learn about bringing awareness to the children of Africa, etc. and to help the people who are less fortunate. Both blogs tie in to the theme of helping, caring, and educating others in what stands as important.

www.flaneurphotoblog.blogspot.com is about a man’s journey of taking photograph’s of different places he has been to. For example on his blog you will see photographs of London’s building, L.A.’s buildings and Turkey and Netherlands buildings. He takes pictures of what fascinates him about each place that he visits. This is like our blogs in Urban Studies because we too photograph what fascinates us about the city in which we are in that moment. That is the what both of these blogs have in common. This guy is very similar in how he describes the things that he sees to our blogs. Each time he photographs a photo he tells us a little about each photo. I think this is vital because lets say something photographs a picture without any description. This really doesn’t serve a purpose because your reader will be lost and confused. The title of this person’s blog is flaneur photo blog. Flaneur is an acitivty we did in our own urban studies class. This is the same theme that both of his and my blog have in common. We are both flaneurs of the city in which we are in.

www.urbanindy.com is about also about a man who takes pictures where he is. Except this blog is more personal. He photographs things in his hometown in Indianapolis. He too photographs and writes about what he sees and what is important to him. The theme here is he writes about the history and the present stuff about Indianapolis. That to me is very important because why just photograph the present without knowing the history behind it. This is similar to our blogs because we always write and talk about the history of a place. I also like this blog a lot because Indy happens to be my middle name, so I thought that was pretty cool and more personal to choose. This blog is also similar in the set up as our own blog. It has the written stuff in the middle and the photos there as well. It is a clean layout like ours and I think that is important. If you want people to be able to read about your blogs in an unconfused and simple way, then the set up of this blog and ours is the way to go!

I wrote on all the blogs except one. It would not allow me to. But I basically said how I liked their pictures of their own city and how it looks so much like mine. I told them to go ahead and check my blog at to see my city pictures. And I really hope that they go to this blog to check out all the photos this group took.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Why Blog if no one reads it?- Lorraine

http://urbandirection.blogspot.com/
"Some big-box stores still do not have an urban design and won’t go beyond their familiar suburban-style look. But these days, many have wised up and now have urban design templates. Savvier cities have found ways to woo these stores downtown (I was recently in an urban-style Best Buy in Manhattan; Manhattan's Home Depot is shown above)"(The Future of Urban Retail, Greg). This is very similar to what we talked about in class and also connected to what William Whyte spoke about. He talked a lot about the importance of design and how design truly makes or breaks a place. But what Greg spoke about on his site that I found truly intriguing was the aspect of the Internet having an impact of Urban life and urban design. He speaks about how the growing opportunity to buy stuff on the internet is changing the way urbanization happens. In class we didn't spend much time talking about retail and its impact on the way the cities are designed but it connected to the aspects of the plaza's as well as other basic details Jane Jacobs spoke about.

http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/

I loved this site. It wasn't a site entirely dedicated to talking about the basics about Urban Studies. Instead a took a political view on the matter, it incorporated global issues they felt to be connected to Urban Studies. They spoke about the impact of our government interference in the urban planning of other nations which I found to be extremely interesting and something we never addressed in class. But like the other blogs they spoke about public versus private spacing. That was one of the reoccurring themes of this blog, but there was no mention of Jane Jacobs or William Whyte which i found to be very weird. Those were our two main inspirations of the class and they seem to be a major part of Urban Studies as a whole and yet there was no mention of them. None the less I made sure to let the blogger know about them. Overall I loved this blog and will probably continue to follow it since it incorporates my major of political science and a hint of international affairs.

http://citystates.typepad.com/

This site was interesting to say the least. It was a site that was concentrated on the Urban environment of Canada. A lot of the blogs were geared and concentrated on Canada. And although it was difficult to understand how it connected to Urban Studies I still found little connections here and there that were related to Urban Studies in one way or another. The blog I found to be most interesting was "Towards a New 'Master Plan'" It talked about the car capacity of cities and how they are attempting to bring down the amount of cars that cities are using. They have found out though that the cities that do have low density neighborhoods are still getting punished while the high density neighborhoods are being rewarded... how this happens i do not know and nor do I want to know because there is probably some sick reasoning as to way such a thing would occur. Yes the amount of cars on the road have decreased but only slightly. Cars effect the dynamics of a neighborhood and diminishes the well being of a neighborhood.

http://www.catlin.edu/place/urban-studies-blog

This site was tremendous. It had so much to offer and so much true academic content to the topic of Urban Studies. The blog I truly enjoyed was "Urban Design After Oil" which turned out to be about a summit there person went to for Urban Studies people to discuss certain issues at hand concerning Urban Studies and its advancement. They spoke about the impact nations have on one another concerning there urban planning. As well as talking about attempts to incorporate Urban planning into creating a greener city scape for cities specifically like Los Angeles. They also spoke about a global standard for planning. I found all these topics to be intriguing but also a tall order to abide to. They are coming up with all these amazing ideas and addressing a lot of the issues going on now in the world but they seem to be taking on to much in my opinion. But none the less I hope they prove me wrong and some of these issues and addressed and taken care of.

http://americancity.org/afteroil/

This site was recommended by the person who wrote the piece "Urban Design After Oil." And because i found that blog to be a stupendous site I decided to take their suggestion and read it. And as soon as I got on the site the first thing i see is the cover of Jane Jacobs book and I was excited to say the least. Because I truly felt like an Urban Studies scholar because i knew exactly what they were talking about and could follow or at least connect my knowledge of the book to what they were talking about. My only disappointment in this site is that they closed down the option to comment. I was so excited to comment on the Jane Jacobs article and share the new things i learned about her and the topic of Urban Studies but sadly i was unable to do so. But other then that the blog was cool. It connected Jane Jacobs to the issue of oil having a direct impact on urban planning and it's ability to diminish a city for the purpose of earning the oil or the money it would produce. It also pleaded that there would be students out there that would be like Jane Jacobs and see how the impact of what is going on now effects the future of this world. Sadly i would love to be that person but I know I am not. But I now have a better knowledge of the issues at hand and only hope to have a helping hand in changing what needs to be changed in the topic of Urban Studies and how it impacts the world we live in.



I was able to leave comments on all the blogs except for the last. I found it weird at first to leave comments but the more I got into the blog the easier I felt it to be to just talk about the topic of their blog. And somewhere in that comment I was able to throw in our blog name. Hopefully it will spark some interest and the other bloggers will find some interest in our blog.