Monthly Archives: March 2017



Looking for new ways to relax and destress from school work I have tried watching old movies, tv series, reading books, meditating, exercising, but nothing has helped me feel better. Last week I gave a chance to Yoga. I read about a franchise CorePower Yoga, which focuses on not only changing your body, but to change your life. By being a first-time student I received a week for free and started attending, there I have met many students from American Universtiy, which I have really enjoyed meeting different people outside the campus. I truly feel less stressed out and I am enjoying this new passion of mine.



Picture from Google Images. ( CorePower Class C1, Namaste)


RA 4


David Fleming in City of Rhetoric, argues that the environment of a society or community is influenced on how the people in said community respond in three main ways. According to Fleming, the effects from the environment are “contingent,” “nonlinear,” and “dynamic.” In other words, the environment of a community is influenced by its culture. In the chapter “Toward a New Sociospatial Dialect” he examines how conversations take place and whether or not each plan was successful. By coming up with different plans, he stumbled with many barriers until which was 1230 North Burling Street, created an environment where its residents tried to act as one community. The issue with this was the consistency that came about. As Fleming argues that people are attracted by diverse environments and he believes there will be more commonplaces in these neighborhoods. To Fleming, the “sociospatial dialectic” towards one that promotes healthier interactions between people by creating commonplaces in these communities (180). He presents what groups of people and various communities relate to each other when they are living closely together and, contrastingly, when then are segregated, both which lead to issues in social discourse. He shows the balance that can be created within the communities. Although it is difficult to change the culture of an environment that people live in or influence the culture of that specific community, free and open communication remains key to improving the situation. The creation of commonplaces focus on bringing together equality and freedom while they are concurring, but there is a big barrier, which is the members of the community and these people have to be convinced of the opportunities they will have in the future by participating on public discourse or willing to participate to see a change.

Annotated Bibliography 2

  1. Argument“Three Men Shot in Shaw, Police Say.” NBC4 Washington, Accessed 27 Mar. 2017.

    Although this is a short article, I believe it is important because it outweighs the quantity. For the entire course of the semester, I have been looking at a shooting that occurred many years ago on 7th and O Street in Shaw. A little over a year ago, there was another shooting that saw three men being shot right outside the what was then just a market. The buildings seems to be a place where death occurs and using more information of another shooting at the same location seems quite for the paper.

    I have been doing research about a Giant-turned grocery store (building). I was reading about how someone decided to shoot up the inside of a supermarket and then outside as well. This article seems to change things up quite a bit. It clearly explains how the Giant is becoming a symbol of violence and death in my eyes and incorporating this into my paper is important as it shows that even in a gentrified area, crime still does occur.

Image from Areavibes

2. Background

Shaw, Washington, DC Crime Rates & Statistics. Accessed 27 March 26, 2017.

In my essay I plan to use this great website for looking up the statistics of crime throughout DC and compare it to other cities that are going through the same process. You can find facts about what kind of crime occurs throughout the day, you can compare cities and neighborhoods to others alike, and you can find other things such as the cost of living, education, and housing on an A through F grading system. Overall, this is a good website to use, and particularly for me because crime is an important characteristic on how a neighborhood consists of.

I plan to use the Areavibes website because I believe it is a good way to how sums up what gentrification has done for Shaw. I never state if what is occurring is a good or bad thing, I simply just lay down the facts of what is going on. I discovered and wrote in my paper how crime rate has gone throughout the years because the different scenarios that have taken place down in Shaw over the years.


RA 3


In City of Rhetoric, David Fleming beliefs that how communities are set up influences how people write, speak, and act changes. He uses the city of Chicago to examine and proof this mostly by studying the demographics and design of the neighborhoods. Fleming attempts to dissect the relationship between the average individual and the large nation-state. By emphasizing the differing roles that individuals fulfill within the two different types of communities, Fleming sets up a contrast for readers, exemplifying the impacts a surrounding can have on its citizens. In closing, Fleming’s evaluation of the way a smaller republic functions, compared to a large nation-state, point to the clear benefits attributed to a smaller democracy, emphasizing how that type of environment would enable a more active participation by the individuals that call it home.

Chapter 6 of the books “The New Urbanism” first talks the North Town Village and how it reminds the public that suburban relocation is not a viable solution for the problem of urban poverty to achieve the facilitation of social interaction and to avoid class systems. It first introduces the idea of an economically diverse urban village by explaining how the public housing projects became uninhabitable and their deterioration can be traced right to federal housing programs. Also, the government thought that the apparent alternative to remedy was to deconcentrate the poverty in existing projects by bringing in higher-income residents. Fleming, mentions that the renewal on the Near North Side Re-establishes the characteristics of the Cabrini Green public housing that make it a troubled place and then lists development plans that aimed to redevelop it. The North Town Village was built with a long-term goal of lasting beauty, survival, and practicality (Fleming, 132). The main intention of the development of this mixed income community was to take advantage of the prime location and proximity to transportation in order to “revitalize the Cabrini Green neighborhood” and to encourage interaction between families of various incomes (Fleming, 145). There are many rhetorical aspects of North Town Village, mainly because of the numerous purposefully designed parts of the architecture, but in page 144 Fleming mentions how some reports suggest that there haven’t been any social changes, people may suffer if their wasn’t so much of a social mix, effects between black and white people are too strong, meaning that white people benefit more than blacks.

Though, most of the staged measures were in the form of gatherings, there were a couple architectural ones as well. In addition, to the obvious intention of the proximity of living spaces, the designer also included many common, open spaces with the goal of guiding the people that live there to conserve, observe, and learn about each other. These open paths, decks, and common lawns were all designed to promote a sense of safety, community, and unity. In terms of the staged attempts at bringing the community together, there is still the large problem that the rich and poor are inherently different. In some ways, these efforts may have even further drawn attention to the differences between them and increased the distance between these families with various incomes. The exterior of these houses and the location to supermarkets and other stores are still aimed towards those who are more well-off in the community. It can be argued that the poor are even more alienated in North Town Village, their circumstances made even more obvious by their richer neighbors and the “stories” they may tell. Though the intentions of the designer were well-intended, it seems that the real effects of the architecture of this community may not have lived up to its ambitious intentions.

Same Love


I find the song, “Same Love” by Macklemore a piece of art because how powerful it isIt was released in 2012 when there many LGBTQ tensions and problems, specifically for marriage equality.  The song is a story, starting from the birth of a colored boy who then was in the third grade and tells the story of this young boy. This boy grows up being scared of turning up gay because of the stereotypes he has heard and seen. In the video, one can see him growing up and at first pretending to be someone he is not and finally, sacrificing his relationship with his parents by telling them the truth of his sexual preference. There is not a specific form that the song has, or even this verse in particular.  It honestly is such a powerful, but depressing song, that has a very important meaning.  The way that Macklemore even brings in a quote from his mother truly adds to the impact of the song and how the music video was made gives a lot more meaning and other feelings that together workout amazing.


Spring Break


During this last week I had the opportunity to host my college friend in Puerto Rico. Because I am one of the few puertorricans that knows the island I was kind of scared because I didn’t know where to take them or what to do. Other than the beaches, restaurants, monuments, and other places we visited I could say the the Old San Juan marked me. It is a 3 minute ride from my house and I always go out at night to that place, but never have I gone like a “tourist.” San Juan is the capital and most popular city in Puerto Rico. It was founded by Juan Ponce de León in 1521 and there the Spanish built their city, which the actual goverment of Puerto Rico still conserves the authenticity of the Spanish arquitecture, colors, and customs. The streets are still made out of cobblestones, none of the buildings have elevators, and only a few have air conditioning. In Old San Juan one can find El Morro that was only taken over once by pirates, but their siege lasted just a few days,  the walled city that surrounds it, and the beautiful street art. While walking around the streets I felt homesick and I realized how different is living here in DC, than in Puerto Rico, not only because the warm weather, but the peoples charm and happines is contagious and that is something that one can find often.






The New Shaw?


7th And O Street, the New Shaw?


As a twenty-first century college student, I pulled out the Uber application to order my ride to 7th and O Street. I have never heard of this street, and much less, the building. As soon as I arrive I start noticing the people that pass me, they were all different! Yes, communities are supposed to be diverse like this, but I could not help notice how varied the physical appearance of the buildings in that one block were. One side of the street was filled with brick buildings and on the other side the buildings were more modern, also I say many construction sites around. The building located at 7th and O Street currently is a Giant supermarket, which is a chain of supermarkets in the United States. Walking around the building I observed the gothic architecture that it has and how there is no building like this around and observing all of the details it made me think about its past and what was it for others years ago.  I plan to use this address and investigate the purpose of this building and how this building was used in that community, but also the meaning it has to each person through the years that have lived in that area..

By finding articles published in the past I hope to learn more about the community and how the buildings have evolved over the years. Shaw is a small neighborhood located in the north-west part of Washington, D.C., which in the past has been the home to many African-Americans. As many neighborhoods that rise and fall, Shaw has been one to rise after all the riots that took place following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King that left the streets devastated, a place where gang violence and drug deals took place, but now it is facing a positive change with all the restaurants, cinemas, shops, and real estate boom. This change has allowed the community of Shaw to grow, but necessarily this is not a good thing (Fisher). In an article published in The Washington Post, the author mentions how the O Street market (seen in the first picture) was known only for its decline and gang rivalry. Many people interviewed in the article recalled the shootings that were taking place all over the area putting the security of civilians at stake. However, Marc Fisher gives a slight background of what O Street used to be, but somewhat he explains how the area is improving significantly. The author goes into the detail about how the area is having the biggest Giant supermarket, a hotel complex, and restaurants being put into the area (Fisher).

According to the English dictionary, the word gentrification is the process of renovating and improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. The gentrification that has been taking place in the Shaw district is causing changes in the environments that people interact daily. This has caused the Shaw community to face big changes. Residents of the Shaw community have seen and lived the significant changes it has gone through in the article “O Street Market: Symbol of violence becomes a marker for D.C.’s resurgence” tells the experience of a previous resident of this community (Fisher). She was a victim of the rivalry between the gangs in the past and says that she had to move for her mental peace, but when she visits the community now a day she doesn’t recognize it. Not only the people that live there, but homes, and business of the area have changed drastically. Therefore, it is imperative to ask whether the changes have led to the positive growth of the area or not.

The article clearly describes how the Shaw community transformed from what it was to what it is now. More specifically, it describes the infamous mass shooting that plunged the O Street Market into its decline. The incident took place in 1994 and continued to haunt 7th and O Street for years. Violence claimed many lives in the community and as the article’s title states, the community was known as a symbol of violence (Fisher).

However, the impact of gentrification on the Shaw community is mostly due to the large movements of wealthy, white families into the neighborhood. Mostly, it is characterized by an excess of the wealthy, predominantly white neighborhoods just like in other areas of cities with different community relationships. Communities are defined by the people that live in them. The culture and the traditions that exist in a community are developed from years of individuals residing in the area. These traditions eventually define the neighborhood through its art, music, or yearly events. All the new buildings that are being built and restaurants opening are changing the community’s daily performance. This is seen as new people come into the area and the former residents leave new traditions are created, and old ones are forgotten. It is thus important to know what has caused these migrations to begin moving into the area (Fisher).

The people responsible for the revamp of this community had a certain vision. They planned with a specific cluster of people in mind. Shaw has been remade to attract new people, people with money, as a key developer states. It is important to completely overhaul the image of the area that people held. But, should the change bring about issues associated with race and class? The renovation has been in effect for a few years. The new Giant supermarket is now bigger than ever and there are more and more housing units being put up. Shaw is now home to high-end restaurants, shops and even a gourmet coffee roastery replacing the laundromat. The laundromat replacement is the perfect analogy for what the neighborhood is going through.

Gentrification is essentially a progressive and necessary process but the renovation of the Shaw community may demonstrate otherwise. For instance, the neighborhood has since been occupied by less African Americans and has consequently made them feel less and less out of place in what was once deemed their home (Freeman). The new inhabitants of the area view the old ones as a burden of some kind to the community’s full potential. This is because, as one of the developer’s states, a client expresses concern on the number of people “hanging out” on the sidewalks even though they lived in the area quite longer than she has (Fisher).

Additionally, the process that the community has gone through has seen many of the original inhabitants leaving the area for a number of reasons. First, the 1994 incident left many people scarred, especially the loved ones of the victims and trying to erase such a memory is of the essence. As the O Street Market continues to change, it becomes less of what it means to the people that live in the area (Fisher). Therefore, the people continue to feel like there is nothing left for them. For those that remain, life is not what it used to be. They feel like they are being pushed out and it is only a matter of time before they are forced out.

One might argue that it was imperative for the community to undergo the changes that it is going through now (see picture #2). This is indeed true and the area is now a more favorable figure. The intersection is now less of a reminder of the deaths of the young children, the elderly women and the other victims(Fisher). However, what is a community without its inhabitants? The old inhabitants that have spent all their lives in the area have not been able to enjoy the changes. Thus, this proves that these inhabitants, including the ones who have left, do not attest to the positive growth of the area since they are unable to experience their home as they should.

While it is important to erase the unfavorable notion of the area, many people continue to wonder to what extent Shaw will change until it is not Shaw anymore. The violence and the gang activities have been significantly reduced and this is a positive development for any neighborhood. The new people bring with them new traditions and culture that will reshape Shaw and overwrite everything else. They will make new memories and shape a different future and just as an old inhabitant states, the change has only served to open people’s eyes even though home is not home anymore.

Polo, Isabel “Picture #1”                            Polo, Isabel “Picture #2”