Reading Analysis 6 – Scholl & Gulwadi Recognizing Campus Landscapes



In their “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces” authors, Kathleen G Scholl and Gulwadi Betrabet argue that the actual/physical is an important component of the education of the students that attend the university. Scholl and Gulwadi further explain that the overall health of the spaces on campus is an important part of learning.

Scholl and Gulwadi understand that a mixture of indoor and outdoor spaces should be used as a “catalyst” that will “promote a sense of belonging to the learning community.” By presenting such argument, Scholl and Gulwadi bring up the idea that the environment and overall culture a college campus will impact greatly the learning outcomes and overall student experience.  Though that idea is known, not many have explored the influence of open spaces on learning. Scholl and Gulwadi continue their argument by stating that both indoor and outdoor spaces presence is even more important with the rise of such things like climate, ecology, global warming and “green infrastructure.”

Using the works of such authors as Hartig and Kaplan, Scholl and Gulwadi declare that “interaction with nature, in particular, can help to maintain or restore cognitive function such as direct attention, problem solving, focus and concentration, impulse inhibition, and memory, which can become depleted from fatigue or with overuse.” To help visualize their argument, Scholl and Gulwadi presenting the different categories of university campuses that are currently available and the types of forms they either offer or not

Table 1. Student-nature interactions in campus landscapes.

Scholl and Gulwadi’s main point seems to argue the fact that there needs to be a change in perspective on how college campuses are viewed and the true importance of it. In other words, there should not be in anyway limits to the access to the spaces on a college campus. For them, “the entire campus landscape as a learning space and advertising its educational value – that is emphasizes something deeper than what meets the eye.” There should be more research and exploration to such an idea that the campus as a whole is a learning space that is responsible for the performance of the academic experience of the students.

Works Cited

SCHOLL, Kathleen G; GULWADI, Gowri Betrabet. Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces. Journal of Learning Spaces, [S.l.], v. 4, n. 1, july 2015. ISSN 21586195. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 08 may 2017.


Hartig, T., Mitchell, R., de Vries, S., & Frumkin, H. (2014). Nature and Health. Annual Review of Public Health, 7(44) doi: 10.1146/annurev-publhealth-032013-182443.





Reading Analysis 5 – David Fleming Afterword

Picture of Cabrini Gardens, area Fleming discusses a lot in City of Rhetoric

In his last section of City of Rhetoric “Afterword” David Fleming continues his discussion on affordable housing and urban renewal explaining how the efforts that were once being made have been slowing down. He explains how our society seems to be “increasingly unable” (211) to properly talk about such conversations when it comes to “cohabitation” and the importance of presenting that as an “important topic of public talk” (211). Fleming calls out the fact that post 9/11 the last on the list of the government is renewal methods in “public space” in cities such as Chicago. When it comes to minimizing the separation between the groups that are usually divided by race and socioeconomic class it is not being done as frequent as it should be. Fleming’s main point is to advise his audience that separating our society through race, gender and socioeconomic class is dangerous. What is better to do is to inform the youth of our society to do better than we have been doing.

Cover of David Fleming’s Book. Innovative way to talk about gentrification, social spatial places and the role of the youth

Using the argument of the 9/11 attack Fleming brings up the fact that both American and politicians felt no need to do such things as spend money or help the group of individuals who were being discriminated against. He states that people are “afraid of our diversity” (213) which is the reason why their interest have declines for urban renewal and fighting against discrimination and racism. To say blatantly there is this “fear of mixing” with the disadvantaged society. Though Fleming brings up all these facts, during the final pages of his Afterword he states that unbiased/proper urban renewal is something that can occur but it is currently just a hope. Fleming seems to be hopeful for the future stating, “…be always mindful of the power of intervention, creation, and change in human life, the opportunity always before us for a better tomorrow”(214). He concludes his work of City of Rhetoric on a mindful and encouraging note, stating that it is important to be optimistic and proactive in the line of change in order to make the change we want to see. Fleming brings up the fact that “young people” need to experience what it means to be a “strong member of the public” and once they become such members demand the change.   

Works Cited

Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany: SUNY Press, 2008.

Mapping Commonplaces – Intro to A Story About Shaw


My name is Cory Myrtil and as part of my freshman year at American University I took my College Writing Seminar on “Mapping Complexity: Embodied Subjectivity, Multi-positionality, and the Becoming of the Citizen-Rhetor.” Through this class I was given the opportunity to talk about the rhetoric of Washington DC using the knowledge of books such as David Fleming’s City of Rhetoric the experience of writing Digital Archives and reading analyses to expand my understanding why Washington is going through the change, what it means to the people that live there and where this once “Chocolate City” is headed.

As part of this class, all students were asked to pick a location in the D.C area, I chose 5th & O Intersection of the Shaw area and through my research learned about so many different stories and people that view the same place so differently.

Area Scale of Shaw

With all that I had acquired through my CLS research for the project, I created three multimodal, a Tumblr page , an Instagram Page and a Youtube video titled, “Shaw Confessionals” which I have explained further explain in my project reflection. I hope whoever reads this is able to understand and add to this conversation about the story of Shaw and as the years go on create a community where we can add to this story and see the evolution take place.

Thank you,

Cory M.


Mapping Commonplaces: A Story About Shaw – The Project


Throughout this semester I researched 5th & O Street intersection in the Howard/Shaw area. The reason why I had chosen Shaw was because in his book S Street Rising Ruben Castaneda had described this street intersection as a “combat zone” (105) one that was filled off strawberries, cocaine, and gang affiliated murders. I thought I would be living on the edge investigating and exploring a different side of Washington D.C. that I had not yet seen before since I was sheltered in the bubble of 4400 Massachusetts Avenue. It had been said that the district was known for being “Chocolate City” but instead, all I saw was million dollar mansions, white families walking their dog through my university’s campus. So, the second I heard that my semester long College Writing Seminar Assignment would involving the rhetoric or the Shaw Area I was excited.

However, my assumptions were quickly proven as false the second I stepped out the Shaw-Howard University Metro Station. As I have written in my Digital Archives instead of an area full of black, latino people I saw million dollar homes, overpriced mom and pop shops and isolated way at the end of 5th Street, the Second Northwest Cooperative housing complex the very few black families remained. To state that I was appalled and dare I say a bit of culture shock is an understatement. The community that was once there had been completed whitewashed over. After my first visit to Shaw, I couldn’t help but write about the complete disconnect between the two groups that now occupied the space. In my Essay 1 BED DigiDoc Textual Analysis, I brought up the fact that what can be explained as gentrification is seen as either a positive or negative based on the group of people you are speaking to. The individuals of the caucasian group might see it as “preserving historical land” improving the overall metropolitan era while the black group who were the natives of such areas as Shaw might see it as another instance where their history is being overlooked and not deemed important.

With the knowledge that I had acquired throughout the class discussion on the book “City of Rhetoric” I was able to expand my rhetorical understanding to understand better understand all sides of the conversation when exploring my CLS. My main goal throughout this project was to get all the perspective that I could gather concerning what Shaw meant to its residents, from the newcomers to the natives, the blacks, white and in between. I will admit that I am a bit bias when it comes to the “truth” that I had sided with more. Being that I identified with the black community, I understood their frustration when it came to the fact that they were essentially being forced to leave their community and the neighborhood that they had lived in for years. However, in the same token, I understood the oblivion that came from many of the new white young families and professionals that currently resided in Shaw being that they were seeing such “change” through a privileged lens.

After the practice that I had acquired with the assigned reading analyses throughout the semester I felt prepared with the Mapping Commonplace Project that was assigned. Though at first, I had difficulty figuring out what exactly to do when it came to what my multimodal components for this assignment I knew that I wanted it to be something that I could add on even after this class was over. Something that had definitely inspired me from our class discussions with Professor Hoskins was his colleague’s website mapping the different places in the Washington DC area; almost like an interactive art gallery.

I wanted my multimodal components to be like art museums where the audience can form the stories themselves with the pictures, videos, and music presented. I created a Tumblr page with a playlist including D.C. native artists like Marvin Gaye, Wale, Oddisee, Tarnica Junes among other artists such as  Kendrick Lamar, Otis Redding. I named the Tumblr Page “A Story About Shaw” (ASBS)  which presented videos and pictures and quotes that framed the evolution of Shaw from drug war zone in the 20th to early 21st century to this newly renovated, multimillion-dollar, white, quiet suburb-esque area. The Tumblr page was a compilation of both photos and videos that I had taken myself during my trips to Shaw as well as Real Estate listing screenshotted to how the prices of homes had gone up. I recorded a part of the ASBS Tumblr I attached a recording that I posted on YouTube and titled “ Shaw Confessionals.” The 2-minute voice memo is part of a conversation that I had with a Shaw native and Howard University rising sophomore who recounts how the change has impacted her community “for the worse”  I felt that hearing from a person who has experienced the change that Shaw has gone through. Since all my multimodal components connect I decided to put the recording as part of the Tumblr playlist.

To add onto the ASBS Tumblr page I created an Instagram Page  using the captions of each video and picture to tell a story of what was going on through my perspective. I used all the conversations that I had both published on social media or not to create a conversation through pictures on the Instagram time and my place is as stated before is to go back as years go by to add on to these components and truly show the evolution and for everyone as a group to comment and decide for themselves whether this renovation is better or worse and why.

Feel Good Music (commonplace 15)

One of the only things that my father and I connect on is our love for music and discovering new music for the type of mood we are in. My dad is from France and is very into French rap music which he loves to share with me. Recently my dad introduced me to this artist named Krisy, his raps of the smooth melodic bass beats are something that intrigued from the very first time that I heard him. He speaks of love and romance in a way that is so mesmerizing that I was almost upset that I had not discovered him before my dad. After I finished listening to Krisy’s album I had one of the best conversations with my father. It’s funny how music can help me connect so deeply with my father. Though my father and I don’t have the best relationship it’s cool we can at least connect on this.

Rita Moreno – Driving Force (commonplace 14)

Portrait of actress Rita Moreno.

I’m currently writing a paper on the under-representation of Latinx (neutral term to refer to both Latinos/as) in my Reflection of American Society on Stage class. I truly had no game plan when it came to writing this paper, as a person who is Haitian (as stated in the previous post)  with Cuban descent I felt that it would be interesting to touch base on another part of my culture and ethnic identity. Similar to Blacks in America, Latinx have had similar experiences where they are not given the outlet to express their creativity and be respected in popular culture. However, when Latinx artist was given the opportunity show their talent, they did it very well. For example, Rita Moreno got the role of the fiery Anita in 1961 movie rendition of West Side Story. Though there was controversy over the depiction of Puerto Ricans in the movie where in reality many of the characters  (besides Anita) were being played by white actors in brownface. However, Moreno used her platform to show that she was a talent and a force to be reckoned with. From her performance in West Side Story, Rita Moreno won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Anita, becoming the first Hispanic actress to receive the coveted Oscar. Moreno was able to utilize and perhaps even transcend her initial image to become a respected performer with a long career.

A Sword. A Spear. A Shield (commonplace 13)

Quote from Elizabeth Acevedo

Earlier this week I had the pleasure of hearing Afro-Dominican poet Elizabeth Acevedo speaking on the topic of Bridging borders between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. It was my first time seeing and hearing of this Acevedo, but for seeming reasons, I was struck by her intelligence and her ability to talk about such a controversial matter so gracefully. I as a Haitian immigrant stood there with a Dominican-American and we spoke to each other as people that understood one another. We understood our past, the stigmas that we had as children of immigrants, and the way we were brought up. As the presentation progressed we talked our conversations developed into other pressing matters such as the importance of raising the future generations aware and something she stated that I ended finding a direct quote was, “And I can’t trust this world to teach their sons how to treat my daughter.  So I will raise her to be a sword. a spear. a shield.” And that is such a powerful line for me that I will carry on and teach my daughter to be strong for herself no matter what other say about you. I will teach my kids to love and respect where they come from no matter what they hear in the news. I will teach my kids to be knowledgeable about what is going on in the world and have thoughtful conversations just as I try to do every day. 

Annotated Bibliography 9 & 10

Schwartzman, Paul. “A Bittersweet Renaissance.” The Washington Post, February 23, 2006, sec. Metro.

In his 2006 article Bittersweet Renaissance Paul Schwartzman interviews native of Washington D.C. neighborhoods such as Shaw giving them a platform to discuss the changes they have seen in they have seen in their neighborhoods and the repercussions of such changes on them. Schwartzman breaks down such interviews into subsections that help the reader understand the processes of the changes.When it comes to the “Vanishing Culture” the idea and power of money when it comes to the changing of the neighborhoods around the metropolitan area and the impact it has had on not only the people but the “history” of the areas.

I plan on using this as part of my multimodal final project as direct quotes to help the audience understand the standpoint that many natives have concerning the changes in their area.  To have several direct statements and testimonies from natives that grew up in the area before and after the changes that it is undergoing would help my audience understand that this is a serious matter that affects individuals greatly. “Where We Live: Shaw.” We Love DC. Accessed April 19, 2017.

In their blog post Where We Live: Shaw, We Love DC essentially advertise the reason why individuals should consider living in the Shaw Area speaking on such things as “What to See” the  “Neighborhood Character” “History” “Why We Love  Shaw” among other aspects. This blog post explains that there has been a “great deal of investment” explaining the reasons as to why such renovations were done. Though there is a history section they speak of the “civil war” and how the Shaw area was the “center of black culture” and how it was hit by the “crack epidemic” however it is  now one of the “most loved” neighborhoods in the District that are not only in a “great location” but it is “civically-engaged.”

I plan on using this in my final project to show the audience the other side of what individuals view the changes that have occurred in the Shaw area. While some natives who are usually of minority  descent believe that this change has brought a lot of ignoring the history and natives of the area, other such as We Love DC seen this as a change for the best, it has changed a once crack epidemic area to beautiful “civically-engaged” area which then puts in the question why don’t certain people think it was “civically-engaged”  before?

Digital Archives: Exterior & Political 5

Group of houses not yet renovated on 5th & O St.

Something that I started to notice was the separation between the newly renovated houses and the old houses. They were either on the opposite side of the street or a group of them would be on one street section before the crosswalk. It was almost as if the groups of houses were being renovated by sections of the streets. Which makes you think, 10 years from now how will 5th & O look like?

Digital Archives: Exterior & Politcal 4

 Walking through the main streets, you can see the diversity of Shaw residence. The white groups of people are eating brunch with their families and friends and you see black individuals riding their blasting music and for the most part greeting individuals that look like them. Two groups of people living in the same are but they barely intermingle with one another.