Category Archives: reading

Reading analysis #4

 

Jeremy Kramer

11/7/2016

Professor Hoskins

Analysis #4

His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society

        In the article of “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” Suzanne Tick argues that designers fail to aid the gender revolution. She claims that: Designers, who should focus a critical eye on society’s issues, need to work within this discourse and help promote acceptance and change” (Tick). Through this call, Tick hopes that by casting a critical eye on the current gender revolution, designers should then, be working and thinking within a revolutionary mindset. Such a mindset will result in the creation of designs which not only help promote acceptance and change but also work through a genderless perspective.

Despite this call, today’s design landscape is far from equal. The landscape of today is one rooted in Modernism. The Modernism movement was a turn of the century art movement which sought break off from classical and traditional forms in exchange for progressive ideals. As progressive as it was this movement was shaped predominantly by the male perspective. Often this resulted in designs which favored men (Tick). For example Men historically, “have occupied power roles in offices, male necessities dictated the design of prime spaces, while the female secretaries occupied ancillary areas” (Tick).

        Today’s design landscape, however, does not represent the reality among those who utilize it. Society today is fast becoming genderless and for once truly equal. Those who were outcasts and oppressed by society, such as women, minorities and those within the LGBTQ are no longer facing the discrimination they once were.  People are now more aware of others differences, and as a result are looking to challenge and change the status quo. Tick argues that the changes which stem from these difficulties should not be fought but accepted by the general populous.

        Despite this acceptance, the current design does not allow for these accommodations. Currently, the design of restrooms, for example, lack a  space which is sensitive to personal issues such as gender identity, as bathrooms currently do not allow for a non-binary system. Thus placing those who are not binary in an uncomfortable place. The only solution Tick claims are the creation of a universal design which accommodates anyone and everyone. Because as Tick states: “having safe places for anybody to function and do what they need to do, no matter who they are, should be our first step.”

Overall Tick believes that the foremost priority to achieving this new gender revolution is to create a space which accepts any and all people. The creation of such a space will require a new design, and as such designers should work to create a design which promotes a genderless society.

Works Cited:

Tick, Suzanne. “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society.”Metropolis Magazine, Mar. 2015, http://www.metropolismag.com/March-2015/His-or-Hers-Designing-for-a-Post-Gender-Society/.

 

Reading Analysis #3

Jeremy Kramer

Hunter Hoskins

Reading analysis 3

Education Through Environment

In the essay “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces,” the authors Kathleen Scholl and Gowri Gulwadi argue what that the college campus itself, with its expansive green spaces and large open spaces, hold a beneficial value far greater than mere aesthetics. The authors hold the view that the outdoor college campuses value is in its ability to provide students a place to recharge and refocus.

Historically, the view was that the university and its campus should be an “ideal community that was a place apart, secluded from city distractions but still open to the larger community enabling their students and faculty to devote unlimited time and attention for…learning, personal growth and free intellectual inquiry.” (pg.1).  Meaning that the Institution had to become self-sufficient. The university not only had to provide the necessities such as dorms and dining halls within in its grounds but physically placed those grounds outside of the community. Designing the campus in such a way as to promote indoor studying; Often this meant settling in rural areas, and building the physical campus in such a way that buildings would be nearby and green spaces would be non-existent. However, this soon would change in 1862.

In 1862 the Morrill Act, which gave public lands to intuitions of higher education for free in exchange that they established institutions of agriculture, science, and technical education, passed. The passage of this act not only resulted in the advent of the land-grant institution but also changed the physical college campus. The Morrill Act required that land-grant institutions had to build brand new buildings which held observational space and laboratories for scientific research and technical education. These requirements countered the traditional design of the college campus, which employed tight clusters of buildings in an effort shield students from the outside world. Land-grant institution sought use their open space in an effort aid student learning by having them interact with their environment through the use of working farms, forests, gardens and greenhouses (pg:1).

These open spaces would not last for long. After the Second World War a student enrollment boom coupled with new scientific research grants from the federal government directly led to rapid expansion in colleges across the country. Institutions of higher education scrambled to build massive projects and new facilities. Massive independent standing structures, whose architecture often failed to match the style of the buildings already on campus replaced the old public campus spaces. The influx of new students resulted in the influx of more automobiles into the campus area. Thus to accommodate this growth, large parking lots which connected to newly built “ring roads” filled in what free space remained. Hemming the pedestrian core from outside. Blocked in by these “ring roads” and new buildings, the modern American college started to resemble its more classical ancestor  This resemblance was short lived. By the 1970s  the sustainability movement along with the grassroots movement changed the campus further. This modern outlook promoted reconnecting with nature and stressed reconnecting with nature as a way to recharge and refocus oneself. These recent movements seek to accomplish this by integrating the campus with open spaces and “green infrastructure” (pg: 1).

If one looks at the historical record, it becomes apparent that the campus evolves in response to the “prevailing philosophy of education” of the period with older universities placing an emphasis on discipline and boundaries, while newer designs emphasize integration and shapelessness (pg:2).

The perfect campus design Scholl and Gulwadi insist is one that creates an atmosphere for holistic learning where “the student’s relationship with the natural and built environment is capable of having an effect on student learning.” (pg: 2).  The authors conclude that such an atmosphere would employ a mixture of different learning styles and types.  Thus resulting in a campus filled with an architectural style which combines natural and urban elements as to regulate learning and restoration cycles, public areas and outdoor learning environments which foster a sense of community and quiet areas for self-reflection and reconnection.

        The holistic campus is a perfect one as it not only provides a balance between the more traditional styles of learning with, the more modern and comprehensive approaches but because it creates an additional resource for the students to learn about not only the world around them but learn about themselves too.

Works Cited

Scholl, Kathleen; Gulwadi, Gowri. “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces.” Journal of Learning Spaces, vol. 4, no. 1, July 2015.

Reading analysis #2

Jeremy  Kramer

Hunter Hoskins

Reading analysis 2

Exclusion through architecture

Is it possible that architecture, something obviously inanimate and unable of thought let alone judgment be exclusionary? According to Professor Sarah Schindler, it is. However not in the way one would imagine.

In  her article “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment,” Sarah Schindler proposes the idea of built environments. Schindler characterizes built environments as architecture which is a man-made physical feature such as a bridge, highway or park which is designed to make it difficult for certain individuals to access certain places[J3] .

Schindler starts off her essay first describing the two reasons why discriminatory exclusion through the use of architecture and urban planning occurs is, according to Schindler because lawmakers fail to recognize architecture as a form of regulation. Instead, they view architecture only as functional, a-political, and harmless. The second reason is that even if there [J4] were awareness to the potentiality that architecture could be racist, the current existing jurisprudence would be insufficient to address this problem.

The basic legal framework which allows the built environment to exist Schindler states has been in place since the inception of the United States has always enacted laws whose sole purpose was to exclude minorities and those of lower socioeconomic status. As “Legal scholars and historians have repeatedly recounted the formal laws and informal norms that furthered racial and socioeconomic exclusion (pg. 6).” This exclusion has ranged from threats and disapproval to more formal movements through the use of legislation such as the use of “Jim Crow” laws.

These methods have resulted in the form of architecture and planning which seeks to exclude racial minorities and the have-nots from the general public. City planners and architects accomplished this feat by planning massive architectural structures around and even through the neighborhoods of minorities. All done to prevent marginal groups from taking part in leisure activities or other amenities which more privileged groups take for granted.

The clearest example of the impact of the built environment occurred on Long Island NY after World War Two. Acclaimed city planner Robert Moses, specifically built his bridges to Jones Beach too short to allow clearance for large automobiles such as trucks and public buses but tall enough for private cars. In addition to this Robert Moses also vetoed extending the Long Island Railroad to Jones Beach. The impact of this was that minorities and poorer members of society were unable to access Jones Beach during the summer easily; as they could not afford cars and relied mainly on public transportation (i.e.: buses and trains).

To understand how and why Robert Moses built environment had such a significant effect on the disenfranchised of New York City, one must understand the power which architecture holds. Using the example of a simple highway Lessig states that “a highway [which] divides two neighborhoods limits the extent to which the neighborhoods integrates. That a town has a square, easily accessible with a diversity of shops, increases the integration of residents in that town. That Paris has large boulevards limits the ability of revolutionaries to protest. That the Constitutional Court in Germany is in Karlsruhe, while the capital is in Berlin, limits the influence of one branch of government over the other. These constraints function in a way that shapes behavior. In this way, they too regulate.” (pg:5)

According to Schindler, resolving the built environment has been slow, is because it is a multifaceted issue. To start because the courts fail to realize that “Architectural exclusion is different in that it is concerned with the placement and location of infrastructure that physically separates and inhibits access, not just disparities in treatment based on geographic location.” (Pg:7).  Another reason is that the current legal protections are insufficient to deal with the built environment is because simply, they did not exist during the creation of the exclusionary zoning policies and architecture. The final issue is that even though “zoning ordinances [which] explicitly divided cities along racial lines were struck down many years ago, [the] walls and roads continue to divide cities along racial lines.”

Changing this problem is possible. The obvious remedy would be to only design buildings and structures so that they are inclusive and modifying old ones, so they become.   Simple construction and renovation won’t solve all the issues. To make a permanent change, we as a society have to modify the law. Either through legislation or litigation, it must be done.

Works Cited:

Schindler, Sarah. “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment.” N.p., 2015. Web. 23 Sept. 2016

Reading Analysis #1

Jeremy Kramer

Reading Analysis 1

City of Rhetoric Chapter 9 Reading Analysis

In chapter nine of his book City of Rhetoric, David Fleming counters the idea which states that simply manipulating one’s surroundings is the only thing which is needed to change the way a city interacts with itself. Fleming says that while placing community services (such as schools, restaurants, and libraries) within walking distance is beneficial, what creates change is public spaces which allow people to come together as equals (p.197). However, this ideal city cannot just be created through a single set of criteria. Fleming argues, that instead, what is needed is an entirely new way of how we think about cities and how residents interact with each other.

        Fleming believes that the older way of thinking does not work. It fails to bring people together. A new way of thinking which promotes a “new public philosophy,” instead, is needed. “Public philosophy,” Fleming believes at its core, pays attention to “our plurality and our unity,” “our undeniable bonds and our inevitable conflicts” and allows people to appreciate “our commonalities even as we confront our differences.” Combined these core pillars come together to create a new city which is not only diverse but is so diverse that the mere idea of such a thing is utterly natural. (p.202)

        Fleming states the obstacles which hinder the general adoption of this ideal way of thinking are the result of three points. The first is that we need to stop placing social mobility over stability. Fleming believes, that while this way of thinking is good for economic, it is not suitable for creating an overall sense of community as it promotes a social detachment from the local community. The second point is that we must stop associating political position with self-interest, but instead political stance should represent a “large number of diverse people unified by a single commonality despite their differences.” (pg. 204). The final obstacle is that there lacks a language which deals with conflict but does not involve assimilation and separation “which privileged depth over mobility, and publicity over self-interest and conflict over harmony. (pg. 204).

        Finally, Fleming concludes that it is possible to overcome these obstacles. Specifically by starting at the school level, because according to him schools can produce a “great deal in democratic community-building” (pg. 206) which can give children a new way to view their community and change the overall rhetoric. These lessons teach via four distinct projects, each designed to tackle one of the four obstacles. The first is a memory; Before any change in their community or learn about the city’s present makeup, people must first learn about their past, this project focuses on teaching their past, and the past of their community. The second is mapping; By encouraging students to map their local communities, we are helping them to uncover what usually goes on unseen and then they can develop a hypothesis on it and account for what they see and hear. The third project deals with judgment.  In this project, students receive the ability to judge and debate real cases in the classroom, and then after doing so, they can create a collaborative judgment and then reflect on how they reached that point and their practices. Through this method, we are teaching our young generations/students how to have effective rhetoric. The final project which Fleming proposes involves design. Students should work together to discover problems and produce feasible, and creative solutions to them, which they then as a community would implement.

        In short, Fleming states that if one wishes to change a city for the better, they must change how people think, and to do that, one must start at the schools. Emphasizing the idea that students are the easiest to influence as their minds are still malleable they have not been exposed to other ways of thought and the public schools provide an excellent location to provide students the political skills, knowledge and dispositions necessary for this “new public philosophy”

 

Works Cited:

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