An Analysis of Why Place Matters Through a Look at Surroundings and Background – RA 4

 

In Chapter 3.8 of City of Rhetoric, David Fleming proposes that location and environment are the biggest contributing factors to how successful you are. There are physical boundaries that very severely affect success. 

Fleming discusses how there are pros and cons to living in every environment, whether that be the ghetto or the suburbs. While one may be considered undesirable, the other is isolated. Both build distrust, promote prejudice, and harbor social alienation. Additionally, he suggests that the only way to build a self-governing community is if everyone is from similar backgrounds. There are improvements that can be made in every community that lead to selflessness and innovation, but the built environment of Chicago is already so fragmented that it is unclear as to whether or not the issues will ever be resolved. However, acknowledging the issues and differences between us and “the other” can help with understanding.

There is both reason to believe and to write off the notion that physical location and individual being are strongly linked. On one hand, place matters. On the other hand, we are told that if you work hard enough, anything is possible and the physical world is written off as superficial.

Globalization blurs the boundaries of the physical environment even further. Technology has allowed for innovation beyond that of the physical. Rather than focusing on success within environments, people are focusing on success across environments. However, these are largely influenced by differences in the environments in which the success occurs. The environments more likely than not affect the innovation of the individual. Stakes in property, proximity to jobs, crime and violence, neighbors, community social organizations, and quality of schools are all factors to consider, as well. Furthermore, accessibility, density, diversity, publicity, and sovereignty are critical to an environment. Ultimately, place matters. There is a direct link between environment and opportunity; people are products of their environments.

 

The Multi functionality of a Commonplace – AB 3&4

This source is a newspaper clipping from April 8, 1999 from the Washington Post Historical. It talks about how the Festival Center was going to be used for a town hall meeting to discuss shortages in parking. Representatives from the Department of Public Works, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Association, and D.C. Council member Jim Graham were said to have attended.
“The District in Brief” ties into how important the Festival Center is in acting as a Commonplace for the Adam’s Morgan community. It allows for a meeting place and open forum for any issues and questions, or needs that the community may have for its representatives. This is what Fleming was getting at when he mentioned the importance of how small communities operated with polis’s in Ancient Greece.
Hanley, Delinda C. “Nakba Museum Opens in the Nation’s Capital.” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, vol. 34, no. 6, Sept. 2015, pp. 60–61.
This source is on EBSCO from September of 2015. It talks about Arab American Activism. Bshara Nassar’s traveling museum, the Nakba Museum Project of Memory and Hope, debuted for 2 weeks at the Festival Center in Washington, DC. It included works of 6 Palestinian refugee artists. It also included conferences and seminars in places around the U.S. to allow refugees and their families to share their stories.
This source adds a new aspect to the functionality of the Festival Center. Though the building itself has always been capable of performing a function such as hosting an exhibit, someone actually using it for such shines a new light on it. This exhibit brought together the people of the Adam’s Morgan community if they so chose to be brought together, as well as gave a reason to people outside of the central community to come to the Festival Center that may not have been previously. The Center expanded its purpose as a commonplace and acted as a forum for other issues that needed to be discussed, but did not have a commonplace to do so until then.

Ghetto – RA3

In ‘Ghetto’, Fleming explains how Chicago became the most racially segregated city in the United States due to a multitude of reasons, each built on the next. Fleming tells the story of the hardships of blacks in Chicago from the 1850s until modern day, with evidence from Allan Spear, St. Clair Drake and Horace R. Clayton, and Arnold Hirsch. “Private” means allowed for the creation of Chicago’s first ghetto. Factors include “police inactivity… city and state cooperation in the power war urban renewal schemes, (and) federal support of discriminatory housing policies” (Fleming 81). The “most potent weapon yet devised” was racially restrictive real estate covenants.

 

The CHA played a major role in the deterioration of living standards in Chicago in the 1960s through massive low-income housing projects, lax maintenance of the CHA, the simply astounding number of children at the Robert Taylor projects, the diminishing of local employment opportunities for African Americans, and the “buffer” areas between whites and blacks diminishing.

 

According to Wilson’s theory, children were not likely to interact with values, such as work and behavior because of the isolation of their neighborhoods. When the working and middle class fled, the social buffer that they created ceased to exist. This isolation would later lead to a rise in gang activity with the youth who did not see work and behavior as suitable growing up to join gangs.

 

To summarize the making of racially segregated Chicago linearly, Chicago blacks were forced into inner-city ghettos through racism, then increased joblessness resulted from macroeconomic changes, next the disappearance of the social buffer between higher income families and inner city residents, and withdrawal of the government all together with Reagan. Ultimately, “the ghetto silences its inhabitants”, whether it be politically, criminally, etc.

 

Activewear

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CYRENWT8lz8

This video was first brought to my attention on my Facebook feed a few weeks ago. It has since become more prevalent. I think that it does an excellent job of using satirical humor. Nowadays, women, myself included, wear “activewear” to do just about anything. From what I have seen, leggings have become as prevalent, if not, more prevalent, than jeans. This is especially true with younger generations.

I think that many females find this video funny because of the simply mundane activities that the women in the video partake in. I believe that they find it very relatable.

Are Spaces What They Seem To Be?: An Analysis of Built Space, Who Utilizes It, and How It is Utilised – Final

 

Many people feel that their voices are not heard and do not carry much weight in society, and so they do not actively participate as citizens. In City of Rhetoric, David Fleming calls for the need for a commonplace. Commonplaces have been used since as far back as Ancient Greece to act as a forum for a community. Though then, Commonplaces were called polis’s. The Greeks emphasized the importance of the polis as a place where everyone could come together to voice their opinions. The polis was both an equalizer and a divider; everyone’s voice was heard who was at the polis. However, the only people who participated were men who owned property and were wealthy. Though the world has only expanded and become more global since then, one thing has not changed: the need for a commonplace (Fleming 25). I will expand upon Fleming’s argument through looking at the rhetoric of the built environment of the Festival Center in Adam’s Morgan.

Every community needs a place of congregation for one reason or another. In Adam’s Morgan, the Festival Center is that place for many different people in the community. The Center is a large building with many rooms and a large amount of space, 19,600 sq. ft to be exact (Festival Center). Within the Festival Center are a small chapel and a Church, as well as various other rooms that you can rent out for events, such as including conferences, Weddings, Birthday parties, and retreats, etc. Access to these spaces allows for communion and celebration. The rental of the space must help contribute money to the upkeep of the place, as well as pay the people who work there.

 

 

Although renting space is necessary for profit, how necessary is it? How much profit? In a way, this brings up the same problem the ancient greeks had: socioeconomic status division. People can only utilize the space in the Festival Center if they have money. At the entrance of the Festival Center exists a multitude of flyers, one of which explains the spaces within it. At first, the looks of the flyer are promising: this is a place of community for all. There are many spaces for many different types of activities and events. At a closer look, however, the building is clearly a place that looks to profit from it’s use. The only people who have access to the pricey spaces in the Festival Center are those who have expendable income. The prices of rooms depend on the people who are renting them out. Since rental is through the Church, nonprofit is an option if there is proof through an IRS 501c3 or State Tax Exemption letter. Still, a deposit of $125 is needed if the event has less than 50 people and $250 is needed for more than 50 people. Additional cost per hour for nonprofits is $50, or the 9am to 5pm rate, which is a gaping $500. Questionably, businesses must pay the same rates that nonprofits have to pay for number of people, between $125 and $250. Businesses have the option of paying a rate of $600 from 9am-5pm, which is only $100 more than a non profit has to pay. They must also pay a rate of $75 per additional hour. Weekend rental rates are even more expensive than those formerly mentioned. There are also things such as a kitchen, a microphone, a podium, tables clothes, and a boom box that can be rented for another fee between $25-$50.

 

The rental rates of the Festival Center are expensive; this begs the questions: how much is the Festival Center actually a place to gather for the community, and how much is the Festival Center a place of business? It seems as though establishments nowadays almost always double as whatever they claim to be, and a business. However, establishments rarely advertise the business aspect. For example, colleges are schools as well as businesses. Additionally, the flyer states that renters are not allowed to charge an entrance fee to attendees. The flyer claims: “The Festival Center has several inviting spaces for rent that can be configured to accommodate your needs”, but what it leaves out is, “but only if you’re wealthy enough to accommodate our needs.”

 

It seems that documents that are supposed to apply to every person within a society always leave something out in the fine print; there is always a “but.” Examples include, but are not limited to, the Bible and the Constitution of the United States. The Bible preaches love and acceptance, but not for gay people. Originally, the Constitution was written for the equality of all men, but not women or nonwhite men or non-educated men. Thankfully, the Constitution is a living document that is subject to amendments and change, and the Bible is open to interpretation. Food is normally something that is normally up for interpretation, but not at the Festival Center.

 

Oddly enough, the Center controls the type of food, which is a symbol of unity, that renters serve. The flyer reads: “Food served and or Eaten in the large conference room will be negotiated at the time of rental.” It seems that this could be looked at in a couple of different ways. This may be because there are certain things that may stain floors or that are too messy for the space. This may also be because the Festival Center wants to make sure the restaurants within and around the Adams Morgan area are being supported. Other reasons behind exactly why the Festival Center has a say in the food people eat at their parties remain a mystery.

 

Open to the community around the Center, as well as newcomers outside of the area, the Chapel within the Festival Center hosts prayer groups every weekday from 12 noon to 12:20 pm. People are encouraged by a small card to: “Come pray in person or leave a written prayer request… All are welcome.” This seems welcoming and inviting. However, what are the reasons that people are not encouraged to come at any other point in the day? The Chapel is small and serene, and a good place to go if people need to pray, but why are people only encouraged to come at a certain point for a certain amount of time? Surely, the Chapel should always be open for people to pray if they need to, for that is that job of a Chapel: to be a built space that people can use if they feel like they need to talk to God or someone else. It is a place where people should feel they are welcome at any time. In conjunction with all being welcome is a bus stop very close by outside the building. Promisingly, the placement of the bus stop, intentional or not, means that the Center is accessible to more people in a relatively easy manner. The door is unlocked in welcoming and there is a ramp outside, so that people with disabilities can access the Church without needing help from anyone else.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2saDAUjiSDU&feature=youtu.be

Link to a video that briefly shows bus and ramp access.

 

However, I did not exactly feel welcome as I approached the Festival Center building; I was greeted by blank stares from inside. There was no sense of welcome, there were no smiles, no hands waving me on. I was not sure whether to go inside or not, but I proceeded.

 

 

It seems as though religions claim to welcome all to join their faith until people actually want to join. There are often many hoops people need to jump through to become a member of a certain faith. There are at least 3 sacraments you must complete to become an adult member of the Catholic Church and it is extremely hard to become a member of Judaism. Scientology is a whole other story. Was this a display of protection for the community? Why are all welcome and then some met with questions. My identity was not something I thought would matter much in an instance such as this one. That was a rather daft thought, since identity plays a role in everything people do. Perhaps the people within the building sensed that I was an outsider in the community, and so they regarded me suspiciously and with scrutiny.  Perhaps the people within the building regarded me with suspicion because they only saw my age and thought I was up to something troublesome, or that I may be lying about why I was there. Perhaps they did not think that these things would play such a large factor in whether or not I could take pictures of inside the building.

 

 

When I asked the people I was first met by in the building if I could take pictures of the space, they looked at me oddly and said that I had to wait to ask the Boss. I suppose that must have been a rather strange request on my part. The Boss did not have an issue with my request and told me that he did not mind. Perhaps he thought that a little free publicity for the center and the Church could not hurt. Perhaps the other people I encountered did not want their Center to be taken over by college kids who were not actually members of their community. I stuck to taking pictures of the Chapel as there was a party in the making in one of the rooms nearby. The Chapel was what I thought I was focusing on when I went there, but I realized afterward that the whole Festival Center held more of the community.

 

 

It is important to understand a built environment and to think about how it plays a role in the community around it. Commonplaces are important in society because they are places where people can go to discuss the issues or happenings of a community that they belong to. There exists no more efficient way to fully understand the needs of a community than through discussion and the voices of the people that belong to it. No matter the time or place, a space as described above is always necessary. A built environment always affects the community around it, and so a built environment must be created and used properly in order to exercise its full potential.

 

Works Cited

Festival Center. https://festivalcenter.org/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

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

Failure

In Worstward Ho!, Samuel Beckett writes the following:

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”

How does the sentence structure perhaps affect how we read this? Would the impact be different if it were written in a DC, IC form?  How so? How would it change if he used question marks after the first two sentences? And exclamation points afterward?

Beckett says that failure in inevitable, and that you’re going to fail even worse in the future than you have already, but that you must continue to try again and again. This is an extremely important lesson to be learned because often times people give up too easily.

One of the world’s most great writers would use such “simple” structures to add emphasis to the lesson he is teaching. This quote is structured this way for a reason. The pattern adds to the point that you must try again. The sentence structure affects how we read this because it makes each sentence’s meaning more deliberate.

The impact of the quote would be different had Beckett used different punctuation. If he had used a DC, IC form because it would have connected the phrases differently and therefore changed the relationship between the words. If he had used two question marks at the end of the first two sentences, it would have made the quote more conversational and less definite. If he had used exclamation marks afterward, it would have sounded like an ad, or commercial.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45mMioJ5szc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zSVu76AX3I

 

The Importance of Words and Speech

Pam drove to the park (IC);(fanboy) Rich biked to the park(IC) and met her(DC).

David Fleming concludes his City of Rhetoric by arguing that “education [should be] oriented to the ‘strong publics’ of decision making rather than the ‘weak publics’ of opinion formation” (205). For Fleming, then, composition courses, which traditionally have asked students to write on politics, should instead have students participating in civic service.  In other words, activism. Rather than writing about what we think of our site (BE) and how it connects to the politics of the neighborhood, we were required to do research and to go out into the community ourselves.

I thought that the clips was interesting, though I am not where I stand with it. I think that he definitely has a point though. My issue is with class time. If everyone in the classroom were to put their hand up and then say that they didn’t know the answer, I think it might take up time that we could have used learning something. That being said, I think that Delany’s words are something to pay attention to. There is some extremely important about letting other people know that you are truly interested in what they have to say. For example, when someone asks you/you ask someone, “How are you?”, are you using it as a greeting? Do you mean “hi” or do you truly care about how this person is? Often times, a conversation goes, “Hi, How are you? May I please have….” if you’re ordering in line somewhere. The conversation should instead be interactive and responsive. Words mean something. Delany seems like he cares very much about his role as a teacher and in enlightening kids.

Are Spaces What They Seem To Be?: An Analysis of Built Space, Who Utilizes It and How It is Utilised

Commonplaces have been used since as far back as Ancient Greece to act as a forum for a community. Though, Commonplaces were called polis’s then. The Greeks emphasized the importance of the polis as a place where everyone could come together to voice their opinions. The polis was both an equalizer and a divider; everyone’s voice was heard who was at the polis. However, the only people who participated were men who owned property and were wealthy. Though the world has only expanded and become more global since then, one thing has not changed: the need for a commonplace. Many people feel that their voices are not heard and do not carry much weight in society, and so they do not actively participate as citizens (Fleming 25).

Every community needs a place of congregation for one reason or another. In Adam’s Morgan, the Festival Center is that place for many different people. The Center is a large building with many rooms and lots of space, 19,600 sq. ft to be exact (Festival Center). Within the Festival Center is a small chapel and Church, as well as various other rooms that you can rent out for a number of reasons, including conferences, Weddings, Birthday parties, and retreats, etc. Access to these spaces allows for communion and celebration. I can only assume that the rental of the space also helps contribute money to the upkeep of the place, as well as pay the people who work there.

Although renting space is necessary for profit, how necessary is it? In a way, this brings up the same problem the ancient greeks had: socioeconomic status division. People can only utilize the space if they have money. At the entrance of the Festival Center exists a multitude of flyers, one of which explains the spaces within the Festival Center. At first, the looks of the flyer are promising: this is a place of community for all. There are many spaces for so many types of activities in life. At a closer look, however, the building is clearly a place that looks to profit from it’s use. The only people who have access to the pricey spaces in the Festival Center are those who have expendable income. The prices of rooms have a wide range of prices. Though since it is through the Church, nonprofit is an option if there is proof through an IRS 501c3 or State Tax Exemption letter. Still, a deposit of $125 is needed if the event has less than 50 people and $250 is needed for more than 50 people. Additional cost per hour for nonprofits is $50, or the 9am to 5pm rate, which is a gaping $500. Questionably, businesses must pay the same rates that nonprofits have to pay for number of people, between $125 and $250. Businesses have the option of paying a rate of $600 from 9am-5pm, which is only $100 more than a non profit has to pay, and a rate of $75 per additional hour. Weekend rental rates are even more expensive than those formerly mentioned. There are also things such as a kitchen, a microphone, a podium, tables clothes, and a boom box that can be rented for another fee, between $25-$50.

The rental rates of the Festival Center are expensive. This brings up the question: how much is the Festival Center actually a place to gather for the community, and how much is the Festival Center a place of business? It seems as though establishments nowadays almost always double as whatever they claim to be, as well as a business. However, establishments rarely make the business aspect well known. For example, colleges are schools, but also businesses. Additionally, it is stated in the flyer that renters are not allowed to charge an entrance fee to attendees. The flyer claims: “The Festival Center has several inviting spaces for rent that can be configured to accommodate your needs”, but what is leaves out is, “but only if you’re wealthy enough to accommodate our needs”.

It seems that documents that are supposed to apply to every person within a society always leave something out in the fine print; there is always a “but”. Examples include, but are not limited to, the Bible and the Constitution of the United States. The Bible preaches love and acceptance, but not for gay people. Originally, the Constitution was written for the equality of all men, but not women or nonwhite men or non educated men. Thankfully, the Constitution is a living document that is subject to amendments and change, and the Bible is open to interpretation.

Oddly enough, the Center also controls the type of food renters serve. It is stated in the flyer that: “Food served and or Eaten in the large conference room will be negotiated at the time of rental”. It seems that this could be looked at in a couple of different ways. This may be because there are certain things that may stain floors or are too messy for the space. This may also be because the Festival Center wants to make sure the restaurants within and around the Adams Morgan area are being supported. Other reasons behind exactly why the Festival Center has a say in the food people eat at their parties remains a mystery.

The Chapel within the Festival Center is open for prayer every weekday from 12 noon to 12:20 pm. People are encouraged by a small card to: “Come pray in person or leave a written prayer request… All are welcome”. This seems welcoming and inviting. However, what are the reasons that people are not encouraged to come at any other point in the day? The Chapel is small and serene and a good place to go if people need to pray, but why are people only encouraged to come at a certain point for a certain amount of time? Surely, the Chapel should always be open for people to pray if they need to, for that is that job of a Chapel: to be a built space that people can use if they feel like they need to talk to God or someone else. It is a place where people should feel they are welcome at any time. In conjunction with all being welcome is a bus stop very close by outside the building. Promisingly, the placement of the bus stop, intentional or not, means that the Center is accessible to more people in a relatively easy manner. There is also a ramp outside, so that people with disabilities can access the Church without needing help from anyone else.

I did not exactly feel welcome as I approached the Festival Center building; I was greeted by blank stares from inside. There was no sense of welcome, there were no smiles, no hands waving me on. I was not sure whether to go inside or not, but I did.

It seems as though religions claim to welcome all to join their faith until people actually want to join. There are often many hoops people need to jump through to become a member of a certain faith. There are at least 3 sacraments you must complete to become an adult member within the Catholic Church and it is extremely hard to become a member of Judaism. Scientology is a whole other story. Was this a display of protection for the community? Why are all welcome and then some met with questions. My identity was not something I thought would matter much in an instance such as this one. That was a rather daft thought, since identity plays a role in everything people do. Perhaps the people within the building sensed that I was an outsider in the community, and so they regarded me suspiciously and with scrutiny. Perhaps they regarded me with suspicion because they only saw my age and thought I was up to something troublesome, or that I may be lying about why I was there. Perhaps they I did not think that these things would play such a large factor in whether or not I could take pictures of inside the building.

When I asked the people I was first met by in the building if I could take pictures of the space, they looked at me oddly and said that I had to wait to ask the Boss. I suppose that must have been a rather strange request. The Boss did not have an issue with my request and told me that he did not mind. Perhaps he thought that a little free publicity for the center and the Church could not hurt. Perhaps the other people I encountered did not want their Center to be taken over by college kids who were not actually members of their community. I stuck to taking pictures of the Chapel as there was a party in the making in one of the rooms nearby. The Chapel was what I thought I was focusing on when I went there, but I realized afterward that the whole Festival Center held more of the community.

It is important to understand a built environment and to think about how it plays a role in the community around it. Commonplaces are important in society because they are places where people can go to discuss the issues or happenings of a community that they belong to. There is no more efficient way to fully understand the needs of a community than through discussion and the voices of the people that belong to it. No matter the time or place, a space as described above is always necessary. A built environment always affects the community around it.

American University RA

On the American University website, the administration targets students and their parents through promises of graduation and employment. For example, the website presents AU as a place of high involvement in political life both inside and outside of the U.S. Additionally, it highlights its location; Washington, D.C. is the capital of the U.S. and the place to be for anything involving government. AU portrays itself as diverse place with many backgrounds and experiences. It advertises studying abroad and portrays itself to the world as global. Comically, AU shows itself as meeting 100% of demonstrated financial need being met. Unsurprisingly, the people who created the website are administrators who want parents and bright students to think that American University is a top notch university and to pay a substantial amount of money. Consequently, the purpose of the site is to get people to want to apply to American University. The topics, such as Study Abroad, financial aid, and employment, are all on the main page because most of the time these are the deciding factors for whether or not a person will go to a university.

Becoming Church and The Festival Center – AB

Becoming Church – AB1

“About.” Becoming Church, http://www.becomingchurch.org/about/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

 

In the About page for Becoming Church, the administration sets forth the platform for the Church. The first source is the Becoming Church website. Further, the website explains the Church’s mission and invites people to join. Additionally, there is extreme emphasis on wealth and poverty and the staggering difference in the area. The website says: “Igniting new forms of Church, Becoming Church tends to the life of the Spirit in community, interprets the principles of the Church of the Saviour, and accompanies new initiatives of call”. Unsurprisingly, this source is important because it explains the goal of the church and how it helps the community.
Episcopal Church of Our Saviour. http://www.episcopalcos.org/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.
The Church of Our Saviour seems to be predominantly Episcopal. After some additional research, I concluded that it must be because most of the Churches of our Saviour are, in fact, Episcopal. In conjunction with the teachings of the Church, the homepage of the website tells seekers about news and events, how to get involved with service, outreach, and pastoral care. Ultimately, the website shows that there are many ways to help the community around you and to do God’s work. Furthermore, there are events and meetings all week, but predominantly on Sundays. Therefore, the source is important because it gives background information on the type of Church that Becoming Church is, which otherwise seems nondenominational and unclear as to what religion it belongs to.

The Festival Center – AB2

Festival Center. https://festivalcenter.org/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

The building of my site, which I had previously thought was an just a Church, is actually a multipurpose facility for the Church. Consequently, it is a big place of gathering within the community. At an expansive 19,600 sq. ft., the Festival Center has many rooms for parties and celebrations, as well as a serene Chapel. The center aims to help people embody what God wants the world to be. To elaborate, the mission is to evoke people’s gifts as “servant leaders”, to make the crisis of the world known, and “to collaborate with missions of compassion”. There are many public events at the center throughout the week and weekend. The building was dedicated on September 23, 1989. Due to the large space, it hosts many mission-based organizations, including “Jubilee Housing, Jubilee Support Alliance, Faith and Money Network, Little Bird Acupuncture, The Adams Morgan Partnership and the Church of the Saviour”. Additionally, the Festival Center also offers classes and workshops through the Soteria Community School. Undoubtedly, this source is important because it gives background information on the building itself and happens within it.

“Soteria DC.” Soteria DC, https://soteriadc.com/. Accessed 20 Feb. 2017.

I thought Becoming Church was Episcopal. However, it seems to be Christian as the Soteria Community School is a christian school. Regardless, it is a pace of God and is routed in the Church of our Saviour and offers theological education. Furthermore, programming within the Church is organized by: “call in community, prayer and contemplation, Scripture and the Christian tradition, economic and earth justice, liberation from oppression, and peace and reconciliation”. Though still vague, this source is indubitably important because it helped me understand what religious affiliation Becoming Church actually has with it.