I attended the presentation session on Thursday. I was very impressed with the outcome of the presentation. Students presented their mapping commonplace assignments on a presentation screen. The presentations was very organized. I especially enjoyed viewing John’s presentation because he hit all the key points of a successful mapping commonplace assignment. I also felt like he was very passionate and proud of his work. A lot of these presentation implemented a lot of multimodal modes such as pictures, hyperlinks, videos, etc. Overall, I feel like many of the work presented was very creative.
In her His & Hers? Designing for a Post-Gender Society, author Suzanne Tick introduces the topic of “gender revolution” and the shifts within gender normalities. Ultimately, Tick argues that now within our society the normalities of each gender has shifted and people need to adjust to the new societal changes. To further her point of gender normality changing within society, Tick uses examples such as bathrooms.
Featured within the article depicting femininty
Tick discusses how gender neutral bathrooms are accommodating for those who do not associate with a specific gender. The bathrooms promote inclusivity and are accommodating for people, which is important for her argument, especially since she mentions the importance of public spaces. As well, she mentions the fashion industry and the adjustments made such as providing more gender neutral options to accommodate for people. Also, Tick mentions the working environment being more lenient pertaining to women in the the field.
Overall, Tick appreciates the initiatives being made for bringing more inclusivity. However, she believes “designers” (x) need to initiate more efforts. Society needs to conform to a more accepting “public sphere”, especially since various entities have made accommodating changes.
During our last class meeting, we discussed and evaluated this course curriculum and set objectives. Professor Hoskins spoke to us about the purpose of rhetorical writing and what it means to be writer in this society. The class took this as an opportunity to reflect on what has happened during the semester. Various students appreciated the how the assignments we worked on such as the mapping place assignment allowed us to explore D.C. and rhetorically analyze the city. Students also appreciated the fact that these annotated bibliographies helped organize research.
In his book “City of Rhetoric”, David Fleming introduces the idea of how societal structures influence relations within his “Toward a New Sociospatial Dialectic” chapter. Ultimately, Fleming argues that physical structures such as location and built environment relates to public discourse. He uses example such as Chicago to argue this point. Within this chapter, he mentions various communities and socioeconomic status. As well, goes into depth pertaining to suburban and urban life; essentially becoming his focus.
The city of Chicago
Fleming analyzes certain aspects of these communities such as the well being. He concludes from his observations that people living amongst certain communities and their feelings about their built environment are based on socioeconomic status. To further his argument, Fleming uses examples such as people living in communities with higher economic status tend to have better resources and opportunities compared to those in urban communities (Fleming 182). Socioeconomic status is a reflection of how communities and people living in their built environments. Essentially, reminding those reading this chapter that socioeconomic status and the location of a community is a reflection of resources.
Ultimately, location and distribution of wealth are factors pertaining to the built environments within communities. Fleming coins in these terms such as public discourse and socio spatial dialectic to reiterate his common theme within this chapter. Essentially, Fleming uses this chapter to urge readers to use this as a guide, particularly when focusing on urban and suburban communities. Overall, wealth and locations play factors to how societies and built environments are set up.
Once being apart of the 7th and S street community, John’s Place is now a local mystery. Existing only thirty years ago, John’s Place was a popular tiny bar thriving during the 1990s. During this period, Washington D.C., succumbs to the rise of crack and violence. Crack-cocaine was sold at hundreds of open air drug markets, which addiction and violence arose in various Washingtonian neighborhoods such as Shaw-Howard, thus giving D.C. the former “murder capital” nickname. Formerly harboring some of the highest D.C. crime rates, the 7th and S street neighborhood was known for being the one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in Shaw-Howard and being the former location of the John’s Place bar. After reading the S Street Rising book, which portrayed this neighborhood as treacherous, I was under the impression that the neighborhood is dangerous and my safety would be compromised during my visit. Growing up in Washington D.C., my family named locations that I was banned from visiting and this neighborhood was one of them. I was curious to work on this project, because I have the opportunity to see whether the neighborhood has changed or not and possible defy some of the stigmas surrounding the community.
Drug raid on 7th and S street (one of the very few photos I found online of the neighborhood)
After my visit, I was very surprised with my findings. A neighborhood once known for having high crime and drug rates, has changed drastically. The former John’s Place bar is now an abandoned building, vanishing within a community which is currently being affected by gentrification. The exterior of the building has chipping paint and deteriorating bricks and the interior of the building is neglected as well. Even though the building still physically remains within the community, many of the other buildings within the 7th and S street community have been altered. Buildings within Shaw-Howard have been torn down to create new projects that appease newer residents. 7th and S street is transforming into an affluent neighborhood filled with newer convenient stores, apartment complexes, and upcoming restaurants.
As stated previously, the John’s Place local bar is no longer an existent part of the 7th and S street community. Overtime, the surrounding community has made efforts to move forward from the violence and crack epidemic. In this essay, I discuss how after the demolishment of John’s Place, the community surrounding the rundown building has transformed and is a reflection of periodic and societal change, especially due to the rise of gentrification.
Present day 7th and S street
As I began exploring the 7th and S street neighborhood, in search of finding information about John’s Place, I had much difficulty. I went to various parts of the neighborhood trying to interview both long term and short terms residents. Many of the people I spoke to were very uncomfortable with me asking questions or were unaware of the bar’s existence. Through my search and neighborhood exploration, I began developing more interest in the community. I noticed significant changes such as building construction and more apartment complexes.
The most eye catching addition to the neighborhood is the Channing E. Phillips apartment complex, which I focused majority of my search. However, I still investigated and rhetorically analyzed other noteworthy aspects such as Log Cabin Liquors, Elbo Market, and the residential community; thus becoming my commonplaces and topos. Most of the research I received is from interviews and annotated bibliographies.
S Street Rising novel written by Ruben Castaneda (primary reason and focus for why I visited the Shaw community)
Within Ruben Castaneda S Street rising novel, he portrays this S street community as treacherous and the John’s Place was known for having violent outbursts. During my visit in the 1700 block neighborhood of 7th street NW, in search for John’s Place, I visited the Log Cabin Liquors store to learn more about the neighborhood. I met the owner of the establishment and he claims the business has been established for almost 30 years. The owner seemed very uncomfortable with me asking questions and I didn’t get his name down. However, he gave me very limited information about the neighborhood and John’s Place. According to the owner, John’s Place bar was located across the street from the liquor store. John’s Place was shut down 10 years ago due to another shooting either inside the club or around the area. He claims that the neighborhood has changed drastic after the shutdown of the club. The violence within the community decreased over the last few years, however it is still present. Log Cabin Liquors is one of the very few places from the 1990s (pre-gentrification era) that have still remained in Shaw-Howard.
Log Cabin liquors located near the former John’s Place location (photo I took myself)
The store clerk from Log Cabin Liquors has a similar description of the neighborhood compared to the S Street Rising book. As stated previously, Castaneda portrayed the neighborhood as violent and drug ridden, which the store clerk confirms the statements from the book. However, there is a difference in opinion compared to the store clerks of the Elbo Market. As I entered, I was immediately greeted by friendly workers in this convenience store. Initially, the store clerks were a bit uneasy with me entering the store and asking questions about the neighborhood and their place of establishment. Elias, one of the store clerks working at the store, very limited information about the neighborhood. Elias has been working at Elbo Market for about five months now and was very unsure to when Elbo Market opened, but does it believe the store became apart of the neighborhood five to six years ago. Elias and the other store clerk has never heard of John’s Place, but still described the minimal changes within the neighborhood such as traffic light reconstruction and the new apartment buildings across the street located in 1700-1730 7th street NW. From his descriptions, it seems as though the 1700 block of 7th street NW are receiving the effects of gentrification. Is gentrification greatly affecting this neighborhood? This something I seriously questioned through my search.
Exterior of Elbo Market
In order to learn about gentrification within this community, I used my annotated bibliographies for that research. My first two annotated bibliographies especially focused in on gentrification within Shaw Howard and I learned about the negative effects gentrification has on the community. In his In Gentrified Shaw, Old-Timers Offer Advice To Young — And Sometimes Naive — Newcomers, author Paul Duggan, discusses the history amongst the Shaw community, the rises and falls within the last few decades, and changes within the community from perspectives of the older Shaw residents. Duggan uses his article to to argue that gentrification affects Shaw residents greatly due to that fact that Shaw-Howard predominantly houses ethnic minorities and low income residents. Duggan uses the perspectives of elder residents within Shaw’s community to better explain the changes and impact pertaining to the environment. From this article I learned that residents are being pressured to leave their premises, despite the fact that most of these local residents have been apart of the community for decades.
From Elias’ descriptions, I was very curious to learn more about these neighborhood changes and how the residents are being affected by these various forms of gentrification. Through my search, I also stumbled upon a large renovated apartment complex called the Channing E. Phillips building. The Channing E. Phillips Homes, a newer addition to the 7th and S street community, is an apartment complex that caters to low income residents. The apartments is available to those who make about 60 percent of the area median income, which is about $65,000 for a family of four. The Westmoreland Congregational United Church of Christ and Lincoln Congregational UCC, both church organizations located in Shaw-Howard collaborated to renovate the establishment. The Channing E. Phillips building is still not open to residents yet, however community residents and city officials are expecting this apartment complex positively impact the neighborhood. The Channing E. Philips housing complex is expected to help save the community from gentrification and bridge housing gaps.
A few of the people I met with on the streets agree that the Channing E. Phillips will help tackle some of the gentrification issues facing the Shaw-Howard Community.
Interior of Channing E. Phillips Apartment complex lobby
As stated previously, the goal of this assignment is to observe transformation within the community. After the demolishment of John’s Place, there were significant changes made within the community. Crack and violence has decreased over time and the cost of housing has gone up. More developments such as restaurants and apartment complexes have been built. Since, the cost of living has increased in Shaw-Howard, the Channing E. Phillips apartment complexes aids in countering housing gaps. The locals within this community seem to be satisfied with the current changes compared to life in Shaw-Howard during the 1990s. Overall, this project is a compilation of all the work I have done. From this assignment, I learned a lot more about the community and the community is nothing like the way Castaneda portrayed it within his book. It is unfortunate that John’s Place is non-existent to the current community and the very few articles about John’s Place talk about shootings inside or near the club, but the community has moved forward. This project helped me denounce some of the stigmas that surround the community. There is clearly unity amongst members, especially during these challenging changes that effect housing and living.
Here is a prezi that I worked on which summarizes my findings:
Castaneda, Ruben. S Street Rising: Crack, Murder, and Redemption in D.C. New York, Bloomsbury USA, 2014.
Castaneda, Ruben. “4 SLAIN, 2 HURT IN NW CLUB.” washingtonpost.com. Accessed May 5, 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1990/02/25/4-slain-2-hurt-in-nw-club/24cb2a56-7514-450a-ad6e-5d084c56fede/?utm_term=.edec12c2d9b9
Douthat, Chris. “Federal And Local Officials Celebrate Construction Kickoff For Channing E. Phillips Homes At Shaw/Howard University Metro”. Georgetown, DC Patch. Accessed May 5, 2017. http://patch.com/district-columbia/georgetown/federal-and-local-officials-celebrate-construction-kickoff-channing-e-phillips-homes-shawhoward.
In his final City of Rhetoric chapter, author David Fleming argues that it is extremely difficult to design environments that are conducive to human flourishing. Even though there is difficulty in such task, humans still keep trying. Through his exploration of these environments, Fleming briefly states, “But designing for people is not just about ensuring decent housing for the poor and disadvantaged; it is about designing for human beings in general. After all, we all have bodies; and none of those bodies, I would argue, is well served by the way we currently organize our sociospatial environment” (197). Ultimately, Fleming believes that various members within communities are at an a disadvantage, not everyone is being catered to, and argues that these built environments have created issues of displacement.
Within this chapter, Fleming continuous to investigate this idea of of rhetorical space, or in this case “public spheres”. Even though achieving public spheres is possible, Fleming also acknowledges the difficulties associated with it. Fleming explains that “Designing such spaces means acknowledging, however, that each of us belongs to multiple publics at once; and that “publicity” can never be reduced to a single place, procedure, or criterion. People need access to a whole network of layered and interconnected publics to represent the many groups of which they are members, all (ideally) democratically governed to one degree or another (199). Basically, acknowledging individuality and a creating a more inclusive will further progress within public spheres. Not only is Fleming encouraging inclusivity, but he is requesting people to accept one another’s differences and similarities, which can dismantle this idea of community displacement.
Chicago gentrification protest
As well, Fleming mentions there are three setback that are contribute to community displacement and are enacting as barriers for public spheres. The first setback is that “Americans consistently privilege mobility over stability (Fleming 203). He explains that this is catering on an economic standpoint, but less on bridging community gaps. The second barrier mentioned within this chapter is political position and self interest. Fleming explains, “To sustain a more broad-based public sphere, we need to learn to speak a language in which political positions are by definition relational, and the general interest is as compelling a value in our debates and deliberations as self-interest” (203). Working on connecting interests and political stances will help bridge community separatism. Lastly, the third setback deals with language and linguistic comprehension. Basically, addressing communication skills and urges communities to work on uniting. Fleming believes these barriers do create community separatism, but are possible to overcome.
Throughout this chapter Fleming addresses the possible and current setbacks within community displacement, which is interesting to read in this time period. Gentrification is growing more and more, especially within tight-knit communities. These changes can negatively affect people and cause social rifts. Fleming’s book introduces probable reasons for why communities are disconnected. Working on accepting, appreciating, and respecting individuality can help with bridging community displacement. Building on those can help with providing a more sustainable “public sphere”.
Fleming, David. City of Rhetoric: Revitalizing the Public Sphere in Metropolitan America. Albany: SUNY, 2008. Print.
Residential Neighborhood of the 700 block of S street
I visited the residential neighborhood 700 block of S street, around the corner of the busy 1700 block of 7th street NW. I went there to see if there was anybody who knew anything about the changes within this surrounding community. Unfortunately, I was unable to find available people. However, I observed the physical characteristics of the 700 block S street houses. The houses compared to the rest of the neighborhood are much more livelier. The row houses surrounding 714 S street NW are painted with pastel and neutral colors such as nude and a faded mint green. The buildings surrounding the 5 row houses look archaic and are deteriorating. Across the street, the buildings are of the same brownish/tannish color. The sides of the brown colored building are filled with graffiti. The houses look newer compared to the rest of the building surrounding that neighborhood.
Channing E. Philips renovated apartment complex
The Channing E. Philips is an apartment complex located in the 1750 7th street NW. The building is currently being renovated. However, the building so far has glass windows and a metallic outer frame. This apartment complexes are supposed to be for low income residents within the community and cater to those who make 60 percent median annual income. When the apartment is done being renovated, it should look like the Westmoreland Apartment Complex next door.