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Commonplace Book Entry 9

Letts Hall second floor bathroom.

Letts Hall second floor bathroom.

Letts Hall second floor at American University classifies as an all female floor. This means that every bathroom on this floor is accessible to girls. However, due to its original structure, half the bathrooms have “Men Restroom” signs. When we first moved in, were told that the men’s restrooms would now be gender neutral, due to the fact we still have male guests on our floor. Being at a liberal school such as American and having gender neutral bathrooms on the first floor, it could be assumed that everyone would be alright with this decision. However, that wasn’t the case.

A week after move-in day, we were pulled in for a floor meeting. Someone had complained that they weren’t comfortable with the idea of a gender neutral bathroom, and all bathrooms were made exclusively female. This made many of my floormates and myself upset due to the fact that there were still 2 female restrooms in addition to the 2 gender neutral ones. So why couldn’t they just use those exclusively? This also made me think about why administration would make this accommodation for just one person?

Reading Analysis: How to Get a Job at Google

In his article, Thomas Friedman argues that our praised GPA’s and test scores alone won’t land anyone a job at one of the most successful companies in the world. The main criteria for the job include 5 skills: general cognitive ability, leadership, humility, ownership, and expertise. Since “Google attracts so much talent, it can afford to look beyond traditional metrics,”(Friedman), meaning that if you’re particularly talented at a skill, it isn’t necessary for you to have a fancy college degree. To google, experience trumps brand name colleges.

General cognitive abilities are our “brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex,”(Michelon). Strong cognitive ability will allow someone to solve puzzles and piece together information. This also involves critical thinking skills and how to solve problems. This skill isn’t something that could be sticker priced using a GPA, and is the number one thing needed to be hired to the Google team.

As opposed to taking every leadership position in every club you possibly could, Google is looking for “emergent leadership,”(Friedman). Emergent leadership is being able to take control of a situation suddenly. However, knowing when to step in is just as important as knowing when to step out. Decide you can’t handle situation and being “willing to relinquish power”(Friedman) is also a characteristic of leadership. You must be aware of your limits.

GSA Program Team

GSA Program Team

Being able to take ownership of a problem can be difficult for some people because they may not want to be wrong and have a bad outcome. Being able to step in and at least attempt to solve the problem is the type of ownership Google is looking for in their employees. Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations for Google calls this “your end goal,” meaning what you can contribute to the situation. When it comes to humility, being able to learn from your failures is the key. Bock mentions how for this reason, “graduates from hotshot business schools plateau,”(Friedman), these intelligent students don’t experience the failures that would better them in the long run. This is when the fundamental attribution error is made. This entails that when failure does occur, they blame everyone but themselves for the mistake.

Bock states that “expertise” is the least important of all five skills. This has to do with the way an “expert” and a “nonexpert” solve problems. Someone who’s done the same thing 1000 times will come up with an identical answer to the problem every time, whereas a nonexpert will sometimes “come up with an answer that is totally new,”(Friedman). This specifically will make an employee stand out in the crowd.

Google, a multi-billion dollar company, hires their team based on raw talent, as opposed to their fancy college degree. If you have general cognitive ability, leadership, humility, ownership, and expertise on your resume, you meet the criteria of Laszlo Bock, who’s a member of the team in charge of hiring. However, having that degree and excellent grades can only help you. A higher level education is important for general knowledge and may put you above others in skills such as math, computing and coding skills.  

Works Cited

Friedman, Thomas. “How to Get a Job at Google.NY Times, 22 Feb. 2014.

Michelon, Pascale. “What Are Cognitive Abilities and Skills, and How to Boost Them?SharpBrains, 18 Dec. 2006.

Annotated Bibliographies

1) Goff, Steven. “D.C. United Stadium Plans Taking Shape at Buzzard Point.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

This article from the Washington Post is a background source, giving me insight to the future of Buzzard Point. A brand new soccer field has been approved to be built, replacing the old RFK stadium. With it being a larger, more modern facility that can seat up to 20,000 people, it will bring in customers from all around the city. This money could be used to make the rest of the area just as new and shiny.

I may use this source as an insight to gentrification in the area and what changes it will bring. A brand new stadium rises the economic status of Buzzard Point. The stadium will bring in a flood of tourists to the area. More tourists may lead to more food and hotel chains. In a bigger picture, with a new, larger stadium, comes more job opportunities.

2) “DC Neighborhood Cluster Profile – Population – NeighborhoodInfo DC.” DC Neighborhood Cluster Profile – Population – NeighborhoodInfo DC. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Oct. 2016.

This source provides me with background information on the population of my built environment. I now have information on the total population of the area since 1980, including what percent of those people are children and seniors. I also now know what percent of the population was black, white, Hispanic, and Asian for every year documented.

The article additionally provides information on infant births. I am given the percent of low weight births and births to teen mothers. This information helps me better understand what the area was like in the past and the present. Knowing who was occupying the homes of Buzzard Point at any point in time uncovers the economic status of the area at the time and what type of jobs were available.

3) B., Lauren. “Riverside Condominium – Washington, DC.” Yelp. N.p., 04 Mar. 2014. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

The streets of Buzzard point are presently lined with apartment buildings and condominiums. But who lives there and what’s the quality of living? In this exhibit source, reviews from a specific living facility, Riverside Condominiums, gives me information on how it’s like to live there.

Because the information is coming from the residents themselves, I have credible information to use in an argument concerning the interior description of Buzzard Point. From the information I’ve gathered, as of 2015, the building has undergone a change of management, which has lowered the quality of living. I can now ask the question: why was the change necessary?  And why are people so unhappy with it?

4) Longstreth, Richard. “The Southwest Urban Renewal Area in Washington, D.C.” Welcome. N.p.,  n.d. Web. 26 Oct. 2016.

This source provides me with background information on the Urban Renewal of Southwest DC. Newly found information on who the area was built to attract tells me who resided there in the past. The new developments would lure middle- and upper middle-class households to the metropolitan core.

The article also provides me with photos dating back all the way to 1949. It’s interesting to see how the area hasn’t changed much in appearance. But this now leaves me with the question of: can this be said the same about the interior?

5) Lochner, Tom. “Martinez: Downtown Walk, Waterfront Park Festivities Support Recovery from Alcohol and Drug Addiction.” News. The Mercury Times. N.p., 3 Sept. 2014. Web.

This article is a background source from The Mercury News, that tells us about the 10th annual Recovery Walk on September 20th, 2014. The walk was created to support Waterfront Residents who are overcoming addiction to alcohol or other drugs. This promotes treatment and recovery options, and urges communities to help prevent alcohol and drug abuse.

This article shows that for the last 10 years, the community of the Buzzard Point area have been trying to decrease the amount of drugs on the streets, and help pull it’s people away from the drug scene. With this information, conducting more research will lead me to find out if this particular event has caused drug crime to decrease over the last ten years.

6) Baskin, Morgan. “Bowser Pledges to ‘Crack Down’ on Synthetic Drug Use.” Washington City Paper. N.p., 9 June 2015. Web.

This article is a background source from Washington City Paper that gives information about how D.C’s current mayor, Muriel Bowser, pledges to reduce synthetic drug distribution and consumption. She warns about the side effects of these drugs and why we must stay clear of them.

With this article, a comparison between our current mayor and our past mayor, Marion Barry, can be made. As opposed to stopping drug use, he was caught using them himself. Entering office in 2015, research can be done on whether the use of synthetic drug use has decreased in the last year.

7) “Southwest Waterfront – Buzzard Point.Point Homes, 2014.

This is an exhibit source where I will analyze the data present to relate it to another topic. The website provides population demographics of buzzard point. For example, the total population and how many of those people are female and male. Additionally, it provides me with recent crime rates and statistics. The website gives me a general idea of the area: Is it safe? Who lives here?

I will use this source in my interior description of Buzzard Point to compare the past and present crime in the area. Once I compare these factors, I can begin to research why things have changed, and if they have changed for better or for worse.

8) Bowser, Muriel. “Buzzard Point Urban Design

This PDF is an exhibit source that described the future plan for Buzzard Point. It provides the researcher with information on Buzzard Points present conditions and the vision the Government of the District has for its new regional and local destinations. They aspire to revitalize the area and fill the needs of residents and relate the need of the city as a whole.

I will use this source to analyze why this gentrification is happening and who it will affect. This article will also help me relate my place to the rest of the city. What are they doing differently? It informs me on renovations for the next 10-15 years, giving its residents an “enhanced environment, community benefits, and improved transportation.”

9) “Southwest Waterfront.” UrbanTurf. Accessed 5 Dec. 2016.

This article is an argument source where the writer most people believe “Southwest Waterfront has been nice, quiet, and dependably consistent,” but it will soon “break out its shell.” The article related past and present information in terms of Buzzard Points Urban Renewal and economic standpoint.

This article can be integrated into my research because it supports my argument in that Buzzard Point is improving for the better of the entire city, and will leave people surprised. It is no longer a quiet part of town the rest of D.C didn’t even know existed. In addition to the National Mall where all tourists find themselves in when visiting the District, Buzzard Point will become a place they won’t want to miss.

10) D.C., United. DC United Stadium. 19 Aug. 2016.

This article is a background source that provides information on the future D.C United Stadium. It tells us who will be working on the stadium. For example, the associate architect: Marshall Moya, and the design builder: Turner Construction Company. The article additionally tells me why they’re building the stadium and the benefits it will have for the community.

With this information, I can relate how the stadium will act in relation to the already existing neighborhood. How will this new attraction affect the surrounding residents? Will they have to worry about more traffic? More tourists?

Common Place Book Entry 6

[A]n education [. . .] that was designed to support a truly direct, deliberative democracy [. . .] would be an education oriented to the ‘strong publics’ of decision-making rather than the ‘weak publics’ of opinion formation. (205)

In his quote, David Fleming argues that educators should be teaching students to form their own opinions and make thoughtful decisions, as opposed to just regurgitating information. He believes students should be rewarded for actively expressing their opinions and ideas. This is much like some classes I’m currently in. Credit is given for input on the topic and class discussions. This is the type of reward fleming believes will improve student’s use of language effectively and prepare them for real world situations.

students raising hands in classroom

Reading Analysis 2 Final Draft


Analysis of Part Two of Sarah B. Schindler’s Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment

In part two of Sarah B. Schindler’s essay, she argues that the infrastructure and design of physical barriers, transit location, highway exits, and the design of residential neighborhoods are used to create racial and socioeconomic discrimination between upper and lower class communities and that our government contributed to the manipulation. She described multiple methods of exclusion including the lack of sidewalks, walls and fences, confusing roads, lack of transit stops, highway exits, and required paid parking.

Physical barriers are an effective way to exclude those who are unwanted from local communities. Schindler uses the example of Robert Moses’s Long Island bridges. “Moses set forth specifications for bridge overpasses on Long Island, which were designed to hang low so that the twelve-foot tall buses in use at the time could not fit under them”(Schindler, 1953). This way, those who only have access to public transportation are unable to access the beach. In this case, the architect’s intent was to “favor upper-and middle-class white people who owned cars at the expense of the poor and African-Americans was due to his “social-class bias and racial prejudice”(Schindler, 1953). However, to the public eye, the bridge is seen as an innocuous feature rather than a discriminatory object. Additionally, the lack of sidewalks and crosswalks in neighborhoods pose a threat to those who have to walk or bike to their destinations. If someone wanted to walk or bike to another area that lacks a sidewalk, they would have to stick along the shoulder of a busy road. For example, “in Palo Alto, traversing Highway 101 to reach affluent West Palo Alto from low-income East Palo Alto is dangerous and involves passing through numerous busy intersections; the area has one of the highest rates of car-pedestrian collisions. The lack of secure pedestrian infrastructure makes areas more difficult to access in a safe and easy manner”(Schindler, 1955). In history, large fences and walls have been known to segregate one part of the community from another based on racial and economic factors. Walled ghettos were used to separate the Jews in Europe during World War II, “as were Arab and European traders in china”(Schindler, 1955). This was also seen in “Detroit in 1940, a private developer constructed a six-foot-high wall— known as Eight Mile Wall—to separate an existing black neighborhood from a new white one that was to be constructed”(Schindler, 1955). Shockingly, the project was actually approved by  Federal Housing Administration (FHA). It could be assumed that this government subsidy is in support of this racial divide. There has been instances where local governments take affirmative steps to install exclusionary architecture themselves. “For example, the concrete barriers and bollards that exist throughout the streets of Berkeley, California, were installed to calm traffic.”(Schindler, 1959). This is sometimes done to keep drug and gang violence of the streets. Although Schindler agrees with the public safety issue being controlled, she also believes that this is done to keep poor and other unwanted groups of people off the streets as well.

In addition to physical barriers, “communities also engage in architectural exclusion in the way they design and place public transit and transportation infrastructure”(Schindler, 1960). Upper-class communities actively push their elected decision makers not to bring transit stops to their neighborhoods in hopes of keeping out low-income people and people of color who often rely heavily on public transportation. These “transit-siting decisions are also intimately connected to employment opportunities for minorities and low-income individuals”(Schindler, 1963). They are often forced to accept minimum wage jobs that are easily accessible.

Furthermore,  “bridge exits and highway off-ramps are often located so as to filter traffic away from wealthy communities”(Schindler, 1965). The placement of specific highways and routes are another way the government has allowed for racial and socioeconomic segregation. For example, “the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge (formerly known as the Triborough Bridge), as it traverses the East River from Queens to Manhattan, makes an almost perpendicular hard right turn north, so that the traffic lets out in Harlem, not on the wealthy Upper East Side”(Schindler, 1965). This is also seen when “local government officials and state highway planners in Miami intentionally located I-95 so that it would cut through Over-town, an inner-city black community. Although it had previously been known as “the Harlem of the South,” Overtown became “an urban wasteland dominated by the physical presence of the expressway.””(Schindler, 1965).

The lack of directional signs, guard gates, confusing cul-de-sacs, and parking permits furthers the discouragement of unwanted visitors in certain communities. These architectural features serve to keep out those who are not expressly allowed in. In neighborhoods that require paid parking permits, those who can’t afford it are less likely to enter the community, making it more exclusive for the middle to upper class.

In conclusion, Schindler uses several examples to argue how architectural infrastructure is used to create racial and socioeconomic discrimination between upper and lower class communities.

Reading Analysis 1 Final Draft


Analysis of Part One of Sarah B. Schindler’s Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment

In part one of Sarah Schindler’s essay, she argues that architecture functions as a form of regulation and constrains the behavior of those who interact with it. She proposes that architecture allows people to exclude one another on the basis of socio economics, race, and gender. For example, in Long Island, ”bridges were designed to be so low that buses could not pass under them in order to prevent people of color from accessing a public beach”(Schindler, 1934). Discrimination can be achieved through architecture just as easily as laws from the past. “Urban design tactics, including street grid layouts, one-way streets, the absence of sidewalks and crosswalks, and other design elements can shape the demographics of a city and isolate a neighborhood from those surrounding it”(Schindler, 1934). This means that those who only have access to public transportation are deprived of several opportunities. Evidence of this is seen through the building of physical barriers. Historically, “walls, fences, and highways separate historically white neighborhoods from black ones”(Schindler, 1937). Schindler mentions how the Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Transit Authority (MARTA) is designed to give people of color access to suburban communities. However, “the lack of public transit connections to areas north of the city makes it difficult for those who rely on transit-primarily the poor and people of color- to access job opportunities located in those suburbs”(Schindler, 1938). Therefor, members of the lower class are more likely to accept accessible minimum wage jobs as opposed to higher paying suburban jobs.

Through the works of other legal scholars who also have also considered how  built environments serve to regulate human behavior, she further argues how “infrastructure placement and design as physical and symbolic contributors to  economic and social inequality, exclusion, and isolation”(Schindler, 1940). For instance, the armrests on public benches are an example of how architects use physical means to discriminate against the homeless. In addition to regulation in means of transportation, built environments can function to control human behavior in smaller controlled environments. For example, in the case of a cafeteria, if junk food is placed in a less accessible place than the healthy food, a customer is more likely to purchase something healthy. “The architectural constraint is that it is physically difficult to reach or see the junk food, and thus it is harder to access”(Schindler, 1948).

Sarah Schindler argues that through architecture, people of color and low socio- economic class are less privileged to opportunity in society. She makes valid, credible points through the use of her research, indicated in her footnotes. These points include the fact that architects use physical barriers to separate the upper class from poor and colored people. The lack of public transportation to aristocratic areas additionally contributes to the discrimination of these “unwanted” people.

Works Cited

Sarah B. Schindler, Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment, 124Yale L. J.1934 (2015).

Kahn, Michael. “Could $8 Billion Vision for MARTA Become Reality?” Curbed Atlanta. N.p., 2015. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.
China, Zen Cart. “Wood Preservative Park Bench Outdoor Leisure Chairs Garden Chairs Landscape Outdoor Public Benches Chair.” Wood Preservative Park Bench Outdoor Leisure Chairs Garden Chairs Landscape Outdoor Public Benches Chair. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.

Commonplace Book: Entry 2: The conversation

Intro to Sarah B. Schindler’s Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment

Robert Moses was known as the “Master Builder” of New York.1 During the time that he was appointed to a number of important state and local offices,2 he shaped much of New York’s infrastructure, including a number of “low-hanging overpasses” on the Long Island parkways that led to Jones Beach.3 According to his biographer, Moses directed that these overpasses be built intentionally low so that buses could not pass under them.4 This design decision meant that many people of color and poor people, who most often relied on public transportation, lacked access to the lauded public park at Jones Beach.5

This follows the template of “They Say, I Say” :

A number of sociologists have recently suggested that X’s work has several fundamental problems.

Excerpt from Sarah B. Schindler’s Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation through Physical Design of the Built Environment

Justice Marshall dissented, acknowledging that this inconvenience carried a “powerful symbolic message.”12 He wrote, “The picture that emerges from a more careful review of the record is one of a white community, disgruntled over sharing its street with Negroes, taking legal measures to keep out the ‘undesirable traffic,’ and of a city, heed-less of the harm to its Negro citizens, acquiescing in the plan.”13 He believed that through this action, the city was sending a clear message to its black residents.

Follows the template of “They Say, I Say” :

Introducing something Implied or Assumed