October 2016 archive

A Closer Look into the Inviting Interior of the New Community Church

In exploring the main floor and basement of the inviting New Community Church, I was surprised to find that the interior structure was equally as inviting as the exterior leading me to believe the goal of the Church was to maintain its old spirit despite the new gentrified area. I had the image planted in my head that the interior would look more structured and formal than it did. Upon walking in, I found this to be false due to the home-like architecture and interior design causing me to feel that same sense of welcoming and warmth as I did looking at the exterior. The design of the interior was made for the longtime and new members to feel a sense of comfortability in a neighborhood that seemed to be changing drastically day by day.

        The proximity of the furniture in the room caused it to feel as though I was in someone’s living room thus furthering my comfortable, welcoming sense from the exterior to the interior. The chairs were arranged in an informal manner, placed near the windows at the front of the building. They faced the podium that was in a very close proximity to the chairs as well as the piano and choir chairs at the other end of the room. The overall shape and size of the main room was the size of a living room: not too big, not too small, but for a church, I would have expected it to be bigger and more capable of accommodating large quantities of people. Nonetheless, it just added to the warm homey effect that is what causes people (whatever race, social class, in the neighborhood to feel welcomed enough to go inside.

        My feeling of comfort and warmth was consistent as I walked further into the interior of the church and found that there were more small rooms and artifacts that resembled home-like features. Down the hallway from the main area I spoke of in the first paragraph, there was a door leading to a small half bath and directly next to it, a doorway to the kitchen. The kitchen had wooden cabinets giving the room a warm feeling as well as a small window allowing natural light to enter. The way artifacts such as hand towels, tin foil containers, baskets, teapots, and magnets were placed informally and scattered about gave me the impression that the people who go to the church use the kitchen often. Allowing the NCC goers use the kitchen is even more inviting and comforting. The saying “make yourself at home” fits this interior site perfectly.

        While it is homey and welcoming, it is still somewhat difficult to navigate because there are so many rooms with no signs. Accessing the basement would be challenging if someone wasn’t there to tell you which door to open in order to get there. Although there are confusing navigational features about certain parts of the interior, it still gives me that same welcoming sense because of how consistently informal the structure of it is.

        Lastly, the basement displayed a child-friendly, inviting environment due to all of the artifacts and surrounding colors on the walls. Someone inside the church directed me to where the basement and as I walked down the stairs, I noticed the ceiling was painted a baby blue with a colorful butterfly-like design on top of it. Already, this felt child proof. The basement had three different rooms: pottery room, coloring room, and the play room. Each room consisted of artifacts that made me assume what each was used for. Room one had many clay made bowls and pots drying on shelves. Room two had a low-to-the-ground table with cups of crayons, markers, and paint brushes. Room three had a carpet and on top of it, a dollhouse and toy box. The basement had many features about it that made it child friendly and the items in each room would be of interest to a child.

        The New Community Church is a place that accepts people despite their race and social class and welcomes them in with open doors and a comfortable environment. Kids and people of all ages are accommodated for with the main part of the church upstairs and a children’s area downstairs. The church intends on gaining new members while also doing their best to keep their original members coming back as well.

           

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His & Hers: “Designing for a Post-Gender Society”

        In His & Hers: “Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” Suzanne Tick argues that in a society and era in which the line between male and female is becoming blurrier, and one’s identity is no longer looked at in the perspective of black or white, textile designers must do what they can to provide gender neutral environments in the workplace so that everyone feels accommodated.

        Background information on the issue is important in making her claim that designers become more sensitive with their work. Gender has become a blurry line for many. Tradition has been broken and in this day and age, there is no room for unaccepting environments and this point in time, when women are finally beginning to play the more prominent role in society, would be the perfect opportunity to create just the opposite.

        Often times, transgender people are overwhelmed with the feeling of displacement and exclusion due to the fact that there is no longer black and white views on the topic and society has yet to understand this. This is simply not okay, and there is no reason for them to have to feel this way. Tick mentions a woman named Martine Rothblatt, “the highest-paid female executive in the United States even though she was born biologically male”. Why should transgender people feel like they are anything other than human beings like the rest of us? Tick’s point in mentioning this quote is that being transgender should not be looked at as a disability, but rather just another sexual identity to add to the growing pile.

        Not all designers understand the gender revolution, therefore Tick  makes the argument that designers must work to understand. A work scenario is described in the article where in a person went through gender-reassignment surgery and other employees were unwilling to share a bathroom with the gender confused person. Due to the way in which she describes the scenario, neutral yet insistent, I believe Tick is not eager for design changes because she is blaming those who can’t comprehend one’s inability to know their identity, she is merely standing up for those unsure, unaccommodated people who can’t feel comfortable in their own workspace and insisting that designers help promote acceptance.

        All in all, Tick is explaining that gender-neutral accommodations are highly important and designers cannot fall behind in their attempts to make them happen. Tick is not stating that designers are currently doing anything wrong, she is simply stating that society today is in need of their assistance in taking the first step to doing something rather than nothing about gender sensitivity.

       

           

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Emily Gross
Professor Hoskins
Writing 100
October 24, 2016

Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment

In Part III of this article, Schindler tell us the way in which law had historically been used to exclude certain people in an obvious way and then how today there are laws that have the same effect, but are not obvious.

Beginning of essay decides historical laws that no longer exist such as “racial zoning” and we can see from her writing that she is not in favor of it. Atlanta enacted racial zoning: made each block designated to a race so to, “‘prevent too close association of the races, which association results, or tends to result, in breaches of peace, immorality, and danger to the health’”. Schindler tells us that at the time, this was a common practice, but to her, it was blatantly racist.

Additionally, she describes racially restrictive covenants which were another historic way to keep minorities out of specific neighborhoods by limiting what homeowners can do with their property. For example, in certain neighborhoods homeowners were not able to sell their homes to anyone other than a white person. Schindler tells us that courts made this restrictive covenants legal and hard to challenge due to the covenants becoming institutionalized and internalized. Contradicting the courts, she decides how many legal scholars at the time were opposed to the legalization of racially restrictive covenants. She then describes that in 1948, the court decided that this legalization could not be enforced. Her viewpoint is against racially restrictive covenants and her arguments are persuasive as we can see how blatantly racist these laws were.

This part of the article conc;udes how some current laws many have exclusions effects that are not obvious. She analyzes different types of laws such as square-footage minimums for buildings, occupancy restrictions making it impossible for poor people to purchase property. Schindler states that race and class have a very high correlation therefore if exclusionary zoning is thought to target poor people, they are arguably targeting people of color as well. She makes it apparent to us that some who support exclusionary zoning are motivated to preserve property values but as said before, with that motivation, it can be inferred that their motivations are similar to those in support of racial zoning. It is unclear to us about whether Schindler is for or against exclusionary zoning. She quotes Lawrence Gene Sager to further explain her thoughts on the issue, “…to exclude the poor may have been enacted with exactly that purpose in mind; it is also entirely possible in any given instance that no exclusionary intent was involved”. However she states that it is still not hard to find evidence of racial discrimination within exclusionary zoning, the court just hasn’t tried.

 

Emily Gross_RA1V1

Emily Gross
Professor Hoskins
Writing 100
October 24, 2016

Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment

In part one of this article, Schindler argues that racial barriers exist in urban settings. She describes to us how architecture can be used to exclude certain people. In this analysis, I am going to analyze the way in which she is able to persuade us of her beliefs.

Example of physical barriers  TYPE A

Schindler tells us that the highways divide into two neighborhoods making it more likely that people from one side won’t need to drive through the other side to get home thereby creating a divide/ a barrier. She states that having easy access to a central town square would indirectly create more barriers between neighborhoods due to the fact that there is a central meeting spot that’s open to everyone, but only in that neighborhood. No one would need to go into different neighborhoods. This is a discrete way of putting up racial barriers because many people would not immediately assume that highways, such a common mode of transportation every day, would be a method of racial exclusion. Having a town square is so common as well, which makes it harder for the general public to see the presence of racial exclusion unless it is pointed out as Schindler does in this article.

Example of physical barriers  TYPE B

To convince us of this she provides us with examples such as: transit methods and traffic rules. She states that cities use traffic blockades is to mold traffic patterns, but they are also there to keep people from driving down certain streets. Schindler goes on to say that public transportation is there to prevent specific people from accessing places. For example, she writes, the placement of the transit stops plays a role. Low-income people and people of color rely on public transportation, but have a harder time reaching it due to its location. Another example is the placement of the highway, bridge exits, and road infrastructure filter traffic away from wealthy communities. One way streets, dead ends, and confusing signage are also aspects that contribute to the exclusion of certain people. Schindler adds in a quote from Clowney, “landscape is one of the most overlooked instruments of modern race making.” This quote helps back up her viewpoint about architectural exclusion.

        Schindler is able to convince us that physical, structural, and agricultural barriers in urban settings are actually ways to exclude people such as people of color and low-income people from getting to certain places. She gives so many detailed examples that convince us. Schindler makes us believe that even if we don’t see public fences that say “keep out” and road signs saying “people of color” “white race”, it doesn’t mean racial barriers aren’t there. This is important for us to know so that we can be made aware of our surroundings and the true motivations behind certain things we use and see daily.

 

Same Church, New Shaw: Examination of the Exterior Attributes

Emily Gross

Prof. Hoskins

Writing 100

October 22, 201

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        I strongly believe the New Community Church (NCC) values their openness and inviting features and  located in Shaw, DC on S Street NW, played a central role in the book “S Street Rising” has not changed since the time of high crime, low income in the 1980’s, but rather made further attempts to keep their motto the same even during the gentrification of the area. In the 1980’s, the Shaw neighborhood was a low income neighborhood with high crime and drug use. Lately, the neighborhood has improved due to the gentrification taking place in the area. The exterior of NCC demonstrates to me that NCC welcomes both the original neighborhood residents, as well as the newer residents of the gentrified neighborhood. The physical structure of NCC shows that it is a place of diversity and it is very welcoming to every member of society despite the social class.

        At first glance, the church did not stand out to me among the rest of the surrounding buildings thus causing civilians to agree that it is a very open and welcoming place. It is a regular red/brown brick building with nothing in front of it that stands out. (The only physical difference is that there is a pointed top). By blending in with the neighborhood, the church indicates that it is very accepting and that there is not a certain standard that a person needs to meet to go inside. Usually, I am used to seeing large, formal churches that are not as inviting and welcoming as NCC.

        A short black gate surrounds the church which may make it seem like it’s enclosed, but the walkway leading up to the main entrance is wide open allowing for anybody to enter. It was almost as if the gate wasn’t there. This leads people to feel comfortable enough to enter the building. It feels as if the people inside the church are welcoming you without having to vocalize it to you directly. It also makes it easy to navigate. In certain places, the entrance is harder to find making it seem as though the people inside do not want others to enter.

        There is a small concrete road for parking directly to the left of the church. There is a sign on the side of the short black gate that reads “Temporary Parking for NEW COMMUNITY ONLY”. Although this seems to be an exclusive, almost aggressive sign, individuals who view it need to remember the other factors of the church that create an accepting and welcoming environment. They might have exclusive parking, but from a different perspective, anyone can park there if they want to because anyone is able to enter the church.

From the outside of NCC, I am able to see many windows, as many as there are on a regular town house making the space feel more open and inviting. There are three large ones on the ground level facing the street and from the outside looking in, I am able to see quite clearly what’s going on inside. Individuals who walk up to the church would see the windows, and feel a sense of openness, just as I did. Many churches are big and may have small windows at the very top. That type of structure is very closed off and gives off the impression that they are exclusive. Open windows make the whole experience more engaging to the public.

        The physical location of the church makes it very integrated into the Shaw community. The distance between the church and the adjacent houses is no more than 20 feet. Other churches may be isolated from the rest of the community, but NCC is not.

        To summarize, although in the presence of a gentrifying neighborhood, the church remains a place that everyone, even those of lower-class, can feel welcomed and included in.

Georgia Referendum to Amend State Constitution

“Shall Property owned by the University System of Georgia and utilized by providers of college and university student housing and other facilities continue to be exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable?”

The root sentence is: “Property owned by the University System of Georgia”. The series of words that follow give detail about the “property” that is owned and utilized. What is to be exempt from taxation to keep costs affordable is the property mentioned in the beginning. The first word “shall” tells us the sentence must end with a question mark. The word property is the subject while the verbs “owned”, “utilized”, and “exempt” describe it. The target audience would be the state

 

Basement – Built Environment

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This is a short video of the room in the basement where the kids did their arts and crafts. I filmed the artifacts in the room and hopefully one would be able to get a feel of the place. There was a sink and storage behind the paint covered table. The table was stacked with colored pencils and crayons and as you walked down the hall, you ran into the “play room”.

 

 

Interior – Built Environment

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This is a photograph of the back room in the basement where the kids could play and make artwork. On the wall there are colorful abstract paintings and the maroon colored carpet and the dollhouse indicates a playing space for the kids. There is a box of toys in the middle and more paintings towards the back wall.

Interior – Built Environment

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This is a photograph of the staircase going into the basement. The design of bright colors and baby blue paint on the ceiling makes it feel happy and child friendly. This is because the basement is where the children did their arts and crafts as well as a place for storage.

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