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Comments on Weeks 7&8 Readings-2017

CREATIVE REPURPOSING OF VACANT SPACES

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  1. Filling the Empty Lot

    One of the things I found the most interesting in this article was that the designers of the park created from this empty lot created a slight slope to the land.This enabled water from rain to flow down the hill and collect in a way where trees and plants could “drink their fill.” This is a detail that I likely would not have thought of and seems more in the realm of thought of a civil engineer or landscape architect. These little details are extremely important though. By doing this, the park can now be sustainably watered, greatly cutting down on costs (both economic and ecological) of having to use sprinklers.

    I was also interested in how little it cost to revitalize the lot. The article stated it had an inital cost of about $4500 and was maintained all summer for about $450. This is a very small cost for the amount of good that revitalizing the lot does. Improving empty lots improves the neighborhood and raises property values significantly.

    I was also interested in the ways in which plants can be used to extract pollutants from the soil. Initially, I wasn’t very interested in including a lot of plants in the lot on abolition row. I certainly wanted to include them, but didn’t think very deeply about it. But I think it’s interesting that something as simple as plants, and as easy to maintain as plants, can be used to improve the lot both aesthetically and ecologically. The article mentions my strain of thought in relation to trees, saying that often they are an after-thought, however trees are also essentially to the planning of revitalization of empty lots.

  2. John Gallagher, “Filling the Vacancy” in Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City.

    It is amazing the society we are turning into. We have gone from such traditional roots to lets try something new. Even with old school planners resisting, there are entire movements of people trying something new. Not just one thing either, it is not people going from lets just build houses to lets just make the empty lots look nice. They are trying many things, such as cleaning up the empty lots, building a park there, and just overall trying to fix an issue with not just one solution, but with many. People are realizing there is not just one solution, but many. That to solve an issue, you may need to get created, you may have to really think, but the answers can also be really simple too. However, the answer is not just tear it down and put up more houses, but get creative and attempt something no one else has yet done. Or better yet, copy designs and ideas that have been done and have been shown to work.

  3. Many cities in America have abandoned or empty lots and often times it’s hard to figure out what to do with them. In “Filling the Vacancy”, Gallagher describes varying ways to revitalize abandoned or contaminated lots. I took a particular liking to his discussion of contaminated lots and how to reduce contamination using plants. This seems like a cool idea that could make a lot usable, especially if it’s not being used to produce food or for kids. Sunflowers can take contaminants such as lead out of the soil and absorb it into their structure. These sunflowers can then be disposed of as hazardous waste. Although this is cool and could help a lot if people were going to be in contact with the soil a lot, it seems almost wasteful in places where encapsulation is also possible, such as if the lot was going to be a parking lot. In this case, what sense would it make to contaminate another space with lead-contaminated flowers? It could be cheaper and possibly more effective to just encapsulate it in place.

  4. Gallagher: “Filling the Vacancy”

    in this chapter, Gallagher describes varied projects around the US that fill vacant lots or at least make them less of a sore thumb in the neighborhood. Gallagher seemed to be of the mind that empty lots should be maintained and filled lots should be functional spaces. Community members should maintain lots by cutting the grass and keeping it clean of trash to make the neighborhood look a little nicer, while helping keep property values high. Lots should be maintained until the community or city can fund a project. I liked reading about the Northern Liberties lot project in Philadelphia. I hadn’t though of using a vacant lot for something incredibly functional and community-oriented like a farmers market and community garden. I think this is a really cool idea that should be done more around the US to bring neighborhoods back to life. Another use for vacant lots, as Gallagher describes, is a simple parking lot. Despite having low income areas, these post-industrial cities are usually the home of a lot of drivers. Older cities with narrow, crowded streets, like New Bedford, could definitely benefit from an extra dozen or so parking spots that the community can share. This is especially true for the vacant lot for our project. A parking lot isn’t exactly the most creative use of the space, but the neighboring streets are really tight with cars on both sides of the road and I think a parking lot instead of the park would be more welcome.

  5. John Gallagher, “Filling the Vacancy” in Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City.

    Overall, I have grasped a variety of productive and environmentally clean uses for Detroit’s vacant urban landscape. By using plants to extract contaminants, geothermal wells, or the minimal of filling vacant space with forestry, artwork, and wildlife habitat can seriously go a long way. I was amazed at this article and all of the examples it possessed of how Detroit revitalized their vacant lots and the immense difference it made through the neighborhoods and community itself. The fact that using art itself to revitalize a vacant lot may not last long but always leaves some kind of hope is what truly amazes me, instead of throwing an x amount of money to make something nicer.

  6. I agree with a lot of points Gallagher makes – the first step to revitalizing these vacant lots is finding, as Gallagher puts it, “productive and environmentally clean uses for Detroit’s vacant urban landscape”, and really this mindset can be applied to any area that’s been devastated (in comparison to Detroit). Transforming a vacant lot, such as the example given in the Philadelphia Neighborhood known as Northern Liberties, can change an entire neighborhood for the better – by creating a multi-function space, local residents have found a way to engage with one another with what the park has to offer; a community garden, sculptures made by neighborhood artists, and a playground for children. Perhaps these sorts of projects, if not done by organizations established for the sole purpose of revitalizing these vacant lots, are best tackled simply by the community taking action; even if the lots aren’t re-purposed, cutting the grass and picking up trash can make quite a big difference on how nearby homes, or the neighborhood in general is viewed. “Greening” organizations such as Pennsylvania’s Horticultural Society clean up vacant lots, plant a few trees, and install a post-and-rail fence. Susan Wachter, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania has studied these projects and concluded that surrounding home values were boosted by as much as 30 percent in some cases.

    I recently observed a neighborhood in New Bedford for another class project and I found it odd that even though there were many nice homes in the neighborhood, there were also quite a few abandoned, or just not very well-maintained homes. I mean, an abandoned home is no different than a vacant lot, it serves no purpose and it looks bad for the neighborhood. At what point does the city step in to decide whether or not these lesser-maintained homes or vacant lots need to be addressed? I don’t think New Bedford is by any means in the position a city such as Detroit is in, but I could still recognize just how much a neighborhood could be affected by vacant or abandoned lots. The neighborhood I was in was near Serenity Gardens, and right behind this community space is a boarded-up house that doesn’t seem to be a livable environment for anyone; I began to wonder “what good is a community space if it’s placed in an area such as this”? Not that this garden shouldn’t be placed here, it just seemed silly to me that this sort of project would be done before abandoned homes / vacant lots in the area were taken care of.

  7. In “Filling the Vacancy” John Gallagher speaks about the urban planners attempt to rework vacant lots with a nature-centered approach. He explains that in European countries, they choose trees specific to the area and what benefits they can provide. Trees are often an afterthought in American urban planning and are often chosen based on aesthetic appeal rather than what they can bring to the area. As Gallagher states, the way a street is headed can be determined by looking closely at the lots. The vacant lots in New Bedford are a gateway for negative activities but they can be turned around. Making them connected by a networking of good outcomes such as community hubs, parks and any other public gathering sites, they can become centers for good activities. With the right trees/plants for the area and a remembrance of our city’s history we could have a successful renovated lot. I do disagree, however, on Gallagher’s idea of using the vacant lots for paved parking lots. This is costly and not a environmentally friendly solution, it encourages cars to flood the area when people should be leaving less of a carbon footprint in today’s world. But if we make the lot on Seventh Street a city bus stop it could create a welcoming feel and add foot-traffic around the area.

  8. One part of the article that resonated with me was the importance of appearance in vacant lots, as well as the ways in which they had to be incorporated into the community to have a main purpose for local residents of the area.

    I thought it was extremely unique that different programs were able to find things that worked for the people within their communities in order to create a central space that was cared for and appreciated. This was sometimes in the form of a park or garden, but it could range to a parking lot or geothermal wells.

    I found it astounding that simple additional to a vacant space with a little cleaning up could raise property values in an area so dramatically. One statistic from the article state that “vacant-land improvements boosted surrounding home values as much at 30 percent.” To me that is a huge increase considering it only took getting rid of trash and weeds along with volunteers adding a wooden fence and cutting the grass to help create an entirely new feeling about the vacant lot in New Kingston, Detroit.

    One of the most interesting vacant lot rejuvenation projects to me, was the North Third Street neighborhood garden. I thought this project was both unique and meaningful because of the hard work and dedication of residents and non-profit organizations that helped the community make their vision a reality. I thought the community garden gave to neighborhood a lot of reasons to maintain it effectively. I also thought that it allowed the space to serve a variety of purposes. It allowed for a space for local performers to have a stage to share their talents. More importantly, I enjoyed reading about this project because of their ability to have access to and sustain healthy food choices for residents in the area. This project also gave residents a driving reason to invest their own time in the space, which created a sense of community that was previously not present with the vacant lot. This project truly changed that space by meeting the unique and specific needs and wants of the residents that it was meant to serve.

  9. Vacant lots are seemingly large empty spaces, some contain overgrowth, others hold dilapidated buildings but in the end no matter what it contains an empty lots is an eye sore for the area they rest. Debris, unwanted activities and reputation grows with time while also decreasing the value of an area. To transform a long forgotten lot, innovation and out of the box thinking is sometimes necessary. In cities like Detroit and St. Louis where vacant lots upon vacant lots are found, building apartments or making a strip mall won’t add personality or life to these empty streets. Innovation is necessary such as rain gardens, an ecofriendly; fresh way of thinking, using natural water runoff will help efficiency and ensure longevity. Spit balling what some may call “crazy” ideas isn’t crazy at all and meshing art with the landscape has been thought of as a “crazy” idea and yet has been to be reachable, reliable and successful over and over again..

  10. John Gallagher: Filling the vacancy

    I think the “Filing the vacancy” reading by John Gallagher reading was definitely interesting. It was mostly about how innovative methods are used to change the unproductive states of vacant lots in shrinking cities. I enjoyed seeing how some of these ways were able to not only improve the conditions of the lot’s soil but the economy of the respective city as well. I was surprised to see how high of an interest a city is able to gain by caring about these lots and chaning their conditions. I was however mostly surprised with the phytoremediation method where plants would be implemented on contaminated soils to retrieve heavy metals in ground as an effort to clean the soil. This was my first time hearing of such method. This method proved to me that certain solutions can solve mostly all of a vacant lot’s problem through practicability, ease and inexpensive methods. I always seem to enjoy Gallagher’s work because of his optimism and style of writing. This work of his surely did not disappoint.

  11. Previous posts and writings I have made have reflected the sentiments found in “Filling the Vacancy.” In general I think these spaces should provide communal benefits, they should act as a meeting place of the residents but also of history, culture, and community. One of the proposed ideas, that I have suggested for our own lot, is creating a performance area. While reading I stopped to ponder our lot as a performance venue more. It came to me that the remaining steps, with some work and added space, could act as a stage for the performer.
    I think creating these spaces in a green way is also important. Perhaps trees could be planted in such a way to provide shade for audiences in the summer months, while also adding aesthetic and sustainable value to the lot and city.
    Of course these ideas are ideas I hold for all lots. In my home of Fall River there is at least one lot I can think of that just sits empty and devoid of life. Something like a farmers market area, or performance area, could go along way in creating a greater sense of community and cordiality, something that Fall River sometimes lacks, which is reflected in our city’s politics.

  12. John Gallagher, “Filling the Vacancy” in Reimagining Detroit: Opportunities for Redefining an American City.

    In the article it goes into depth on how to re-purpose and revitalize vacant and decrepit lots around cities. These lots lower housing values and make people want to move away or seek better surroundings. A small start up cost with a good idea can help bring artwork and community space to these lots in which will raise surrounding property values by a large amount. With unique approaches to subjects such as natural engineering, plants can help reshape and clean polluted vacant lots which is amazing. Reusing or recycling debris and old buildings can really help make a difference in the city.

    Also, somewhat related, from the game “Sim City” a lot of the same problems occur with property values and attracting residents to the simulated town. In order to create hubs of attractive commerce and residency, one is require to build community spots such as plaza’s, parks, (nice well kept) grassy fields to play, fountains, and other similar type spots. All of these spots come with a building construction fee and a monthly maintenance fee, since all public resources require some maintenance, even if its paying one person for just a few hours a month.

  13. In Gallaghers’ Filling the Vacancy, I found it most enlightening about uses for abandoned spaces, as well as the most relevant for our lot in New Bedford. I saw that when the neighborhood gets involved, and has a say in the process, it will be much more successful overall. This bottom- up approach will ensure that there is an invested pride in the results of the effort.

    I did disagree with the idea of a parking lot. Although I realize that parking can be an issue in urban landscapes, it’s not so much a consideration in our neighborhood. There are two parking garages fairly close by and there is plenty of off street parking. If I were inclined to do a parking lot, I would look to something more earth friendly, than what Gallagher proposed.

    This is a nice parking lot example however- that deals with water overflow and parking simultaneously.
    https://www.google.com/search?q=pop-up+floating+car+garage&rlz=1C1SKPL_enUS423US428&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi8kazW4ffWAhVJwiYKHWDbD9EQ_AUICygC&biw=1366&bih=613#imgrc=mJ_lMLjG9kUyLM:

    However, there were ideas that appealed to me. I am very interested in the geothermal technology and I am aware of its use in suburban areas, particularly in new construction, but I was unaware of its applications in bigger, cold climates such as Oregon. Using that technology to keep roads and sidewalks from freezing is ingenious. But again, I don’t think it’s the right fit for our lot in New Bedford.
    I was drawn to doing something to encourage animal activity. I think it would be great to include bird and butterfly habitats in our plans. There doesn’t seem to be much being done in our area involving animal conservation, with most of the area focusing on highlighting the rich history of New Bedford- the animal population has been generally overlooked.

  14. What was unique about Gallagher’s article as opposed to some of our other readings this semester, his writing was practical and easy to digest. I thought it was interesting how he compared the costs of different kinds of projects. He also discusses the problems that may arise when planning a project. It is important to consider these restrictions when actually planning a project.

  15. “Filling the Vacancy” by John Gallagher was an interesting read. The section on repurposing the vacant lot showed that there could be more than one direction to go in when trying to utalize unused space. The lot incorporated art, entertainment, as well as sustainable solutions. The community garden allowed the residents in the community to grow vegetables, a small rain garden was built that helped with the watering of trees, grass and plants. Local artists contributed with sculptures and a playground was built for children to play on. A platform for performances was built as well as stalls for a farmers market. This revitalization of the lot allowed the community to come together. It gave purpose to the area and helped to bring a the residents of the community together. It allowed sustainable easy to maintain solutions to help the neighbourhood make something out of nothing.

  16. “Filling the Vacancy” By: John Gallagher

    I found the reading “Filling the Vacancy” by John Gallagher to be very interesting. It shows that vacant lots do exist in many areas and cities. One should not ignore that these vacant lots exist but to utilize this space and have a purpose for this lot. Some of these lots had contaminated soil but they found ways to extract the metals that were mixed in the soil by plating plants and trees. This was very interesting to me because this method could be used in many other vacant lots. The plants and trees would be helping the lots soil but as well bring beauty and shading to the lot, so individuals may enjoy its beauty comfortably. This method is inexpensive but at the same time environmentally friendly.

  17. John Gallagher, “Filling the Vacancy”

    What I found to be the most interesting and useful aspect of this article is that it highlights diverse ways of “rescuing” vacant lots. Not all design projects need to look the same. There can be an incorporation of art, wildlife, or the urban forest. All of these things can help a community and may even need the assistance of community members, which can help people feel more connected to their community. The author mentions how he helped plant one of the trees in Detroit’s West Village, which shows that the community itself can be used in the redesign of vacant lots and improving cities. At another point, the author mentions how he started to look forward to seeing “his” opossum and when it disappeared he missed it. This reminded me of how I expect to see crows on campus and if I don’t, I miss them, even though I know some people who find them unnerving. The art section mentioned how public art can be used to build a better city and can enhance the lives of residents in any city. This is similar to what Theaster Gates said in his TED talk about how he believes beauty is a basic service. The article also mentions how art can be functional and I think finding a way to incorporate the beauty and functionality of art into a vacant lot could be incredibly useful for a community because it would be nice to look at and use.

  18. “Filling the Vacancy”
    This was a interesting read between the whole repurpose of the empty lands and the little things of sustainability to help with costs of keeping it going. The best idea i liked the most was the slope on the land to make the water flow go towards the plants and trees, to self sustain watering the plants. this idea is a great one and reminds me of a project i did for another class about self sustaining homes and used a similar concept for rain water use between bathroom, garden water use. and with some of these ideas we should bring them over to the project for class.

  19. John Gallagher’s post detcrives the events in Detroit, using empty lots to allow nature spaced of habits to grow and creative artworks fill the empty lots as the title suggests a clear contrast of what the empty lots will be. A way to address changed in the community, in the space we can still unite as caring group of citizens and the waste and products we use and create.

    • I disagree that with the source because artwork cannot be left there for extended amounts of time and there is always upkeep and issues of the efficy of the uses of the vacant lot.

  20. I thought their idea of planting vegetation and trees in vacant lots with contaminated soil was a interesting idea. While reading initially I was skeptic of the idea of just planting randomly wherever there was a vacant lot because most of them will probably be brownfield sites. I also thought that instead of focusing on turning over as many vacant lots as possible they should’ve spent more time on each of them individually. It seemed like they thought that the project would eventually just work for itself or they put too much faith in the community members to get involved. If someone repurposed a vacant lot around me and planted a couple trees, some grass, and then fenced it off, it wouldn’t seem like a very welcoming or purposeful space. However, overall I think that filling the void, had a lot of trial and error, and with that came ideas that will contribute to projects in the future. Going back to what I said at the beginning about their idea on helping resolve contaminated areas I think that this can be a cheap and impactful way to reverse effects.

  21. John Gallagher, “Filling the Vacancy”

    In addition of creating a sustainably environment for a vacant lot within public space, renewing and giving them purposes for the neighborhood is the most effective way of gathering public interest. I believe every renewal projects are necessary to have a form of interaction with the environment, as well as the people within the neighborhood. According to the reading, a self-functional park plays an interesting role in a community, thus it creates refreshing environment to visit. More importantly, it is appreciated by the public. As a self-functional recreation park, it would be a great idea to spread this type of project throughout vacant lots surrounded by urban decay.

  22. John Gallagher Filling the Vacancy
    Within the last year the WORLD channel aired a documentary about a Detroit neighborhood that rejuvenated some vacant space. It showed citizens, of all ages, cleaning out the rubble and prepping the soil for food growth. Shot throughout one growing season, the project was a success on many levels. It was much more visually appealing, and the excitement of seeing your little plants sprout, knowing it was done by your hand, is unbelievably exciting. It was an educational opportunity that satisfied the taste buds.
    I am reminded of the food bank just blocks from our site in New Bedford. The Salvation Army soup kitchen is just south of spring street and another on the north side of Union street. Sister Rosa’s in the south end of the city feeds more people than the other two. I donated my extra watermelons from last year’s garden to Sister Rosa’s and the Salvation Army. Community gardens are what I visualize when I see vacant lots and open space.
    In Gallagher’s Octopus article, he spoke about the change in one New York City park that felt more claustrophobic and less tranquil after more skyscrapers were built around it and blocked out the sun. Just cleaning up the rubble and maintaining a vacant lot makes the surrounding space more comfortable. Unfortunately, when government agencies and local planners get involved projects take longer, are more expensive and beyond their imagination. Neighborhood participation and feedback are a must.
    One advantage of being an older student is the history that I’ve lived. I can now understand why older people do not recognize old familiar neighborhoods. Cities and towns go through an evolution. I go to different areas where I have lived and socialized and they are unrecognizable. The Providence and Boston skylines have gone through an unbelievable change. Being a TV addict and a news hound, I have seen many building imploded to make way for something new. The government will not give a community funds to remodel an old school, they will only help with newly built projects.
    Gallagher uses some creative examples of other renewal projects in other cities. Creative minds are needed to accomplish these successes. In one of my previous writes, I mentioned that artists are a catalyst for this kind of change. I think Gallagher also said, in one article, to make it look like you care. Projects like these influence the imagination of our children and help shape their social lives.
    Shrinking city decay has caused large areas of abandoned housing and factories. The space is larger to work with. Parks with walk ways give city people the chance to get out in the fresh air and away from the bustle of the city, improving their health and encourages new business interests. During the depression the government employed people to create and maintain national parks. Shrinking cities need to design programs that do the same.

  23. I read the “Silent Spring” excerpt by Rachel Carson and part of the “Cradle to Cradle” book. In some ways, I felt that these two readings were complementary. Rachel Carson pointed out why using insecticides is extremely detrimental to the environment. She emphasizes that nature balances itself in millenia and not in human years. This basically means that we will suffer the consequences of our actions for years to come. The worst is that as our actions to nature become more extreme , we will suffer the consequences in worst ways. However, her reading does not provide what we should do to improve nature’s current state. That is exactly why I believe the “Cradle to Cradle” reading help her ideas. Because “Cradle to Cradle” provided ideas and solutions to businesses and individuals on how to design to nature’s boundaries and leave a better ecological footprint , it motivates us as readers and individuals to apply Rachel’s ideas since we have a way to move forward sustainably without feeling that we are sacrificing too much in our lives.

  24. Rachel Carson, Excerpts from Silent Spring

    Reading through this short excerpt, I could feel the passion or possible rage that Rachel Carson had been expressing through her descriptions and metaphors that were directed towards “man’s assault on upon the environment”. She makes many validated statements that I believe should be taken more seriously. The fact that they do not cause me to have some level of concern for the future and the sustainability of life itself. She states, “The chemicals to which life is asked to make its adjustment are no longer merely the calcium and silica and copper and all the rest of the minerals washed out of the rocks and carried in rivers to the sea; they are the synthetic creations of man’s inventive mind, brewed in his laboratories, and having no counterparts in nature.”. Her Rachel seems to point out that all of these “adjustments” that our earth, nature herself usually is able to adapt to after x amount of time are no longer natural things that come from earth but are now even more hazardous and made by man that has “significant power to alter the nature of his world”. Rachel seems to be overly critical about man and his inventive mind and doesn’t seem to think upon the question, “What if these things were never created?” when considering insecticides or any harmful chemicals that have been created and adapted upon in order to save our crops or for whatever other reasons. What would happen then if we never made these chemicals that help our crops that provide nutrients/food to people? Over all, I enjoyed the excerpt but definitely see so much more to this argument. Though I do side with Rachel on this.

    Whereas William McDonough and Michael Braungart, “several chapters” in Cradle to Cradle seem to focus more on the environmental aspect without really blaming man kind for his inventive mind. They seem to focus more on how to come to a solution that will better or fix man kind’s inventions.

  25. Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

    In the article, Rachel goes into telling us about how the chemicals we make to control pests and plants are destroying the Earth in which we live. Nature progresses at a slow and careful rate, but in the age of Man the rate is increased far past any other influence on the planet. Over 500 chemicals a year come out in the US alone that Human, Animal, and Plant have to try to adapt to and contain or die from. The most infamous of these chemicals was when DDT was released for public use. This DDT was spread far and wide over crop fields and animal pastures, it settled in underground rivers and streams, and turns up in almost every single animal and human on the planet. The substance never loses its toxicity, the only reason anything survives at all is the concentration is spread out. Other chemicals, such as Strontium 90 are released from nuclear weapon fallout, mans own invention of toying with atoms – which also effects everyone in some concentration. Strontium 90 is deadly to flesh and is only contained in our bones, in a bed of minerals, to save our flesh from its harmful effects. The manipulation of creating these toxins hasn’t gone unseen by nature. There is one rapidly adaptive species on the planet that keeps evolving because of our intervention – insects. These creatures have short life spans and high turnover of new generations, as they become immune to one toxin we find a more powerful one to use. This creates super bugs in an ever evolving chain.

    I think the article really shows how we must stop and try to prevent involvement in nature and let it run its course by itself. It also shows a real problem, more humans should be invest in cleaning the Earth and all the toxins we made, instead of creating new ones.

  26. “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carlson and “Cradle to Cradle” by McDonough and Braungart examine humans control over nature in different ways. While they both express blame on humans for the Earth’s conditions, Carson comments on man’s destructive habits and how our selfish needs and choices have done harm to other aspects of life. All of which is for our own benefit.. The “control of nature” is a Neanderthal age phrase she uses make the point that at one time we believed nature existed for the convenience of man. But the irony is in the fact that our preventive methods, such as in pest control, have turned us against the Earth. McDonough and Braungart are more forgiving in their argument. They outlined the life of a house rug claiming that “the rug is still on its way to a landfill; it’s just stopping off in your house en route.” They stress this point because in the past we didn’t consider the idea of repurposing and how important it can be. Even with all of our efforts and discoveries nothing can truly be done, we will forever be attempting to postpone the inevitable.

  27. Rachel Carson–Silent Spring

    I agree with what Carson has to say and this was written decades ago which shows that not much has changed. Just as Carson put it, “For time is the essential ingredient; but in the modern world there is no time.” We’re well aware that all of these things are bad but nothing is being done about it, and I think that is the next question that we should be asking ourselves. People keep coming up with solutions for climate change and new inventions that can reduce this and that, but none of it gets into the hands of the people. Like professor said “keep your ideas simple”, one of the quickest solutions would be to get everyone consciously recycling and throwing away trash. Even that is going to be tough hardly anyone goes out for green up day anymore. Is it just in our nature to be destructive? I hope not. I think that it will take coming up with sustainable designs that are effective and usable to everyday folk because not everyone can afford a Tesla or solar panels on their houses yet.

  28. In the excerpt from Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” and throughout “Cradle to Cradle”, the subject of chemicals and how they affect our lives are reoccurring topics. While it is true that we use more chemicals today than we did in the past, I do not think that this is necessarily a bad thing. People are living longer than they ever have and some of this would not be possible without modern chemistry. Pesticides used to protect crops ensure a stable food supply for billions of people. Modern medicines can curb the symptoms of and sometimes cure even the most horrible of diseases. It is important to keep on innovating in the chemical industry to create even better solutions for our modern lives
    That being said, we do need to be careful about how quickly new chemicals are brought into the market. DDT harms native plants and animals, Hexavalent chromium and tetraethyl lead are well known as water pollutants, despite their usefulness in developing America into an industrial superpower. Asbestos, PCBs, and lead paint formed many of the historical and architecturally significant buildings in this country but nowadays they are health hazards. It remains important to clean up after the past, as well as to keep watching out for what might come next.

  29. Though the reflection, “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson was written at a time when the consequences of pesticide and herbicide overuse (a decade earlier) were realized, I feel this piece of work still resonates today. Carson’s voice of concern and disappointment in mankind is expressed fully throughout the excerpt and her passion is backed by truth is a key player in conveying her feelings about mankind’s devastating role in environmental degradation. I felt connected to the emotion Carson projects and I, hoping to be a conservationist can connect with her view. On the other hand the authors of Cradle to Cradle talks about the devastation and ongoing pollution of the earth and how only the next imaginative thinkers, business men and creators can help solve or revive somewhat of the destruction that has been done. By setting out a clear route on how to tackle different environmental issues while also presenting direct ideas that the authors feels are worthy for creating change.

  30. I was six years old when Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring. Back then, most prepackaged food items were marketed in glass or metal, waxed paper, or in the case of bread plastic. Canned fruit and veggies and bread bags have not changed. What has evolved is how those items were disposed of, and the insides of the cans. I remember my father had three, fifty-gallon drums. One was for clear glass, another for colored glass, and the third was a burn barrel. The glass and metal were crushed, and all paper products were burned. The glass was taken to a recycling place and the ashes were taken to the dump. Today they are known as landfills or transfer stations. I remember going to one of those sites. We drove down to the marsh on the east branch of the river and the ash was dumped into the marsh. This would be considered an illegal atrocious act today.
    Air and water quality have been a talking point throughout my life. Humans are very conceded creatures. We consider ourselves at the top of the food chain, because we think, use items as tools, and have thumbs. We think we can control nature. With the advancement of science and technology we are more aware of the effects we have on the evolution of the earth. The earth will be here long after man has destroyed itself. We are more aware of the effects we have had on our human bodies. We are slowly poisoning our air and water.
    We cannot slow down the process of global warming. It has been happening for millions or trillions of years. But, we have accelerated the process. When you hear the words, “super fund” remember, it is a man-made clean up problem. I believe, New Bedford Harbor had that designation, at one time.
    As our Baby Boomer population aged, the need for bigger better hospitals increased. As Mass. General Hospital, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and other Boston hospitals expanded, in the last twenty years, the designs have included a lot of open sunlit spaces. One of them has an open-air site with plants, trees and greenery on an upper floor.
    As we design our sites, we need to think like Michael Braungart and William McDonough. Can we build a long lasting, modest maintenance, gentle impact site?

  31. William McDonough and Michael Braungart, “several chapters” in Cradle to Cradle.
    Rachel Carson, Silent Spring

    One thing discussed by Carson was how humans have harmed the environment by contaminating the air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and lethal materials. McDonough and Braungart discuss a similar issue in their book. The first step towards eco-effectiveness as described in Cradle to Cradle is to get “free of” known culprits. People and industries often try to get rid of substances that are widely seen as harmful and the goal is to positively select and combine ingredients for products. McDonough and Braungart also discuss how being free of something wouldn’t guarantee that a product is safe. However, they also said there are some substances where getting rid of them will usually be productive, such as PVC, cadmium, lead, and mercury. Also, Cradle to Cradle talks about how William Ford experimented with treating the contaminated soil around plant sites, which shows how there are efforts to fix what Carson is talking about when discussing the contamination of the earth. I think Cradle to Cradle builds off of Silent Spring and adds to what Carson talks about. Carson talked about dangerous materials and chemicals which are negatively affecting nature, which includes humans, insects, soil, air, and many other things. McDonough and Braungart provide steps for how people and industries can improve in terms of eco-effectiveness and, most importantly, they provide real examples of what has been done to help with the problems we are facing and what Carson refers to as the “control of nature”. I think right now people need to know about solutions and they need to know about the efforts being made even if they aren’t perfect.

    • I read excerpts from McDonough and Braungart’s Cradle to Cradle. I found this book fascinating, and will probably buy the book to read from cover to cover. I was particularly enlightened by the chapter “Why being less bad is not good.” I’ve been brainwashed throughout my life to recycle. I am astounded when I am somewhere that doesn’t recycle, such as schools and large business. It makes me feel at least like I was doing something proactively to “help” the environment. Yet, does it really? Recycling is merely delaying the trip to the landfill, and often uses more resources and energy to rework a resource than it took to make the original object. This is often even more detrimental to the environment. There are several problems that need to be addressed. If the original objects were designed with recycling in mind, we can improve on this cycle, and the impact of down cycling would be less detrimental. I’m also keen on the idea of redeveloping how we buy things in this country. I look to purchase things that use the least amount of packaging. I love farmers markets and food cooperatives that allow you to bring your own containers and buy from food in bulk, but these places can be hard to find, and they certainly aren’t near my home, which makes it much more difficult

  32. The articles discuss the impact that humans have had on the environment using pesticides. Rachel Carson except is more direct in stating that “man” is the sole cause of the issues we are facing. The downside to this except is that it simple says what the issues are with our environment but does not have any solutions to them. This lacking just makes the except a list of problems without any insight. The article does put a good emphasize on how the earth will not be able to balance itself for a millennia not a few years and they generations will past before any adjustment will be seen. The pesticides effect more than the targeted group that contaminate the air, soil, and water which is one of her main points. In Cradle to Cradle it not only talks about the issues but has how we can come to some solutions to these issues which gives the article a more positive feel instead of just having the negative problems. Rachel’s argument is justified however, if I wasn’t interested in these issues it could be hard for someone new to environment protection to fully agree with her.

  33. Browse: Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, Excerpts: http://bit.ly/1z9AZFO

    Rachel Carson, was a woman ahead of her times. She essentially started the green revolution that today is trying so hard to be sustainable. What she is fighting against is all the chemicals used to farm and increase productivity. This was the 1970’s when agent orange was still being sprayed to clear entire acres of land in the Vietnam war. The peoples fears in this era were not how will all these people be kept alive, or how can we continue to live here when we are destroying it. There fears were the cold war, Russia, and nuclear fallout. Till this book came out, there were whispers of the environment, but she caused a movement when this book came out. Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the roof of the white house because of the movement this book started. This shows what one person is truly capable of.

  34. I loved how Braungart’s and McDonough’s “Cradle to Cradle” starts off describing the hazardous materials used to make so many things in our daily lives that at first we may not realize. Computers and the chairs we sit on while using them, printers, and other electronic devices that, in some cases, house more than 1000 different components – metals, plastic, and other additives. What makes matters worse is when you consider the idea of “Planned obsolescence” in electronics and other devices; companies making products that, over a given period of time, become obsolete. With an increasing number of obsolete devices comes an increase in waste and non-recycled materials. The fact that we dispose of so many electronics that have thousands of different materials within them, without actually thinking of what happens to the waste, is a big concern.

    Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring” talks about the impact humans have on the environment, and how this impact is a negative one overall. I especially like the last paragraph of the article that discusses the “control of nature” and how the purpose nature serves is merely for the convenience of man. The very things we do to protect crop and keep pests our of our homes with the use of pesticides, but at what cost? Society has an odd way of justifying wrong doings by the supposed “benefits”, we may get rid of pests by using these chemicals, but we’re also harming the environment.

  35. “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson
    William McDonough and Michael Braungart, “several chapters” in Cradle to Cradle

    After reading “Silent Spring” by Rachel Carson one of the things she discussed about was how humans have polluted and harmed our planet’s environment. We have done this by contaminating the air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous materials and chemicals. William McDonough and Michael Braungart “several chapters” in Cradle to Cradle discussed about similar issues. One of the topics that they discussed was about our choice in transportation and how it is environmentally depleting. It pours waste and pollution into our air and water. Both readings have blamed and have concluded that our earth’s current condition is because of humans. We are harming our earth and its environment. Not only we are harming our environment but we are also harming our bodies because we breath and drink the polluted air and water.

  36. Cradle to Cradle

    I am very interested in waste management and recycling as processes that can be made more efficient and environmentally friendly. Last semester I took sustainability 101 where we talked about cradle to cradle design. This approach to design cuts out any errors in the middleman of the waste stream; no toxic chemicals or environmentally unfriendly materials can find their way into the environment if we don’t use them. Another exciting (to me) aspect of cradle to cradle design is circular waste streams, where byproducts of one manufacturing process are used in another process– no waste! Cradle to cradle design sounds idealistic, but once it catches on it will change the way we manufacture things.

    Silent Spring

    There is a certain sense of justifiable animosity towards industrialization from Carson. Since the Industrial Revolution, man has found countless ways to exploit and damage the environment. I’m sure this was not the intention of inventors and innovators. However, given the science we have today, that companies choose to ignore for capital gain, there is no excuse. On basic principle, regardless of outcome, we shouldn’t be poisoning our environment. Planet Earth is the only thing keeping us alive right now, so we should do what we can to protect it, not exploit it.

  37. Reading the article “Excerpts from Silent Spring” made me think about today’s problem with Global Warming, war, ad everyday human unintentional activity that would harm the Earth. Here are some images I found that are based on the text
    /Users/dmclogon/Desktop/620616_r29078.jpg /Users/dmclogon/Desktop/620623_r29079.jpg /Users/dmclogon/Desktop/620630_r29080.jpg

  38. “Silent Spring”, Rachel Carson
    “Cradle to Cradle”, William McDonough and Michael Braungart

    It is understandable that the book called, “Silent Spring” became controversial throughout America during the time it was published. Since the mid 1940s, chemicals were created for the use of killing insects and pests. Universally, this type of practice spread throughout the world, killing most of the endangered species and giving negative impact on earth. I believe both readings have an interesting connection, because in the reading, “Cradle to Cradle”, the authors focus on how the world is being destroyed by the hands and evolution of human technology.

  39. We as a people seem to overlook the small details in favor of the larger picture. We see fantastic technologies, triumph of humankind, but forget to think “how?” What are the processes that go in to creating these revolutionary products and designs? What are the materials that go in to them? These two articles highlight that common human mistake, the ability to overlook and ignore the minute details, especially when they are unfavorable to our moral code. In a way these articles are shocking- it is that realization that we are complacent- complacent in the degradation of our environment, our world, and complacent in believing small steps we take, like recycling or buying recycled goods, make as big a difference as needed. The irony is I write this using my expensive computer, sitting in a world designed by and using processes and materials that are detrimental to our health.
    We as a society need to rethink how our world works- at the very fundamental level. But is this possible? Are we too ingrained in what has already been? In a way these questions are irrelevant, because if we do not try first, we will never be able to achieve an answer.

  40. basically from reading these both i felt that we are casing the end to the world by stuff we do and these pictures i will attach make me feel that same way shutterstock_88550854-850×500.jpg

  41. Cradle to Cradle; Silent Springs

    “What you people call your natural resources our people call our relatives.”
    – OREN LYONS, faith keeper of the Onondaga

    Being of native american heritage when I opened Cradle to Cradle this resonated with me deeply. In my culture we are very much taught that the world around us is apart of our family. We must treat earth respectfully and lovingly in order for earth to keep us healthy and sustainable. These articles tell us something different. Over time the earth and it contents have evolved and most things evolve on their own time. Planet earth was here way before the human race and most likely will be here after the extinction of our species. What we as as humans are doing to it, in an unnatural manner, is destroying our planet. Bugs, critters and creatures have all had a sense of evolution over time. The pesticides and other chemicals we use in order to grow our veggies and such are not only poisoning the earth but also we, in a way, ingest those pesticides as well. Global warming has been happening throughout evolutionary periods but our uses of mother earth is not helping to stall the process much, rather its helping speed it up. I agree that we as a human race are ruining the very place we call home.

  42. 13rdorac_ch05_gallagher_healing_landscape.pdf

    In Healing a wounded landscape, it seems that Detroit has an easy solution. Although it is a costly solution, opening Bloody Run creek could bring in people and businesses again. As in the previous openings by other cities, they have all paid off. It may not fix the entire city, but like it said in the article, it may at least make basements dry again. However, within that statement, it also shows potential. If the buildings Are no longer flooded and no longer have water damage, it makes locating there more desirable. This in turn could at least interest business and residents.
    What Detroit should really do is start a donation site to open the creek. They should attempt to get federal funding and raise money any way they can. It is so easy to tell the entire world anything and get a quick response. Basically, Detroit can try to atleast get the word out about attempting to open the creek, and just by private donations could maybe raise enough money.

  43. Throughout the process of industrialization many streams and small rivers flowing through cities have been covered up, either to control flooding or allow for sanitary removal of waste from industrialized cities. A few such projects are mentioned in this week’s reading, including rivers and streams in Detroit, London, and Seoul. It may not be as well-known but Worcester, a much closer city, has also done this even more recently than those cities mentioned in the article.

    The Blackstone canal went from Worcester all the way to the Narraganset bay in Providence. It was the first real mode of mass transportation to city and allowed the city to grown enormously over its roughly two decades of operation. Sadly the heyday of the canal was short-lived and it was enclosed in the 1840’s as a part of the city’s sewer system.

    Nowadays Worcester’s “Canal District” is around where the canal once stood and consists of many of the old mill buildings the canal once connected to the outside world. This is the up and coming area of Worcester, full of entertainment, bars and restaurants, and small businesses. Worcester has been considering, like many cities in the article, reopening the canal to help spur development in the downtown, but sadly no progress has been made.

  44. John Gallagher’s article healing the wounded landscape shows how natural characters of the landscape provide an important function and are not just a visual. There are many examples of how natural formations aid in the drainage of water in these cities. However, they are either filled in which caused many problems to neighboring properties and ruined spots that are important to the people living in these cities. Not surprisingly, these alternations that were made were reversed due to flooding issues as well as making the landscape more appealing. The huge downside is that they spent a lot of money to alter these locations to make it more urban, filling and burying wetlands and drainage locations. But also had to spend even more money to bring it back to its almost original state. It also shows that some things are better that way they are. I feel that this also links to Rachel Carson’s article, they “man” are changing things and the earth can not adapt to the changes. Like the drainage ways, those can not can direct due to gravity so burying them is just going to cause flooding since the water is going to continue to go that way. The positive though is that they saw the downside to this and changed it back.

  45. Healing A Wounded Landscape

    After reading through this, I realized most of these decisions to take such strides to fix something in the community couldn’t have been easy and certainly weren’t cheap. They also probably weren’t popular ideas among the community. At the end of it all though, these were fascinating ideas that pulled through for the better of the community and should have been thought of earlier. Regardless some do require a large sum to get the project completed but seem to pay of quicker than most think. I found this very eye opening and think things like this should be done more often in communities.

  46. Reading the short articles in the reading “Healing a Wounded Landscape had similar stories about flooding. The only difference was that these flooding were happening in different cities, states, and countries. They all found a solution to fix the problem of the flooding whether its digging up a lake that was buried or replacing building and turn the land into a wet land park. I found it bazaar that Quaggy River in London buried the river and built a community on top of it. The river was there for a reason since it wasn’t a man made river. The people who decided to buried it should of none that they land would be a wet land it would cause problems in the future. I hope these articles open the eyes of people and government that are deals with flooding in there cities and find a solution for the flooding in they’re cities.

  47. Healing A Wounded Landscape

    In the reading, the process of reconstituting a natural and ecological solution to a man-made set of problems is show to reap both beneficial rewards for man and nature alike. The core problem was a building was built in what used to be a pond in the low lands, where it never should have been developed. This area was constantly being destroyed by nature, the basements flooded and the pavement cracked – it was trying to remove the structure the whole time. Locals even noticed ducks swimming in the parking lot puddles – they knew a body of water was traditionally there for many years. The project then began to revitalize the area and return it to a natural lake. Through doing this, the people removed the crime and “crappy” shopping mall situation and in-turn created a high end residential area as more and more people wanted to live with a beautiful lakeside view. It also helped the city in other ways, such as acting like a normal rain containment center so less piping and sewer structures had to be built in the area. This saves thousands of dollars year after year. The article as a whole shows how extreme ecological restoration can be beneficial in urban areas that are unused and unproductive to man.

  48. Through the middle of the reading Gallagher poses the question, “Can we lose connection with nature and remain healthy humans?” In my opinion the answer has always stood and will always stand no, we will not be healthy humans if we begin to lose our connection with the natural world. If we lose connection with the earth in which we inhabit, if the beauty and aw is lost, then what appreciation will we have? What care will we take to preserve our home? What curiosity can we evolve if we have no connection to the natural world? Hoping to work in conservation biology one day I love hearing about reinventing the land by using its natural essence. Learning about the current reversal of industrialization to naturalization gives me hope for our future. The fact that large cities such as in Korea, London and even areas in the United States using this technique/train of thought shows that replenishing the natural environment, waterways, is possible and brings with it a multitude of benefits.

    Look at the difference… https://www.kcet.org/sites/kl/files/atoms/article_atoms/www.kcet.org/socal/departures/cheonggyecheon_elevated_expressway.jpg

  49. Daylighting these previously covered up streams seems to have a great success rate, although it did make me question whether there had been “failures” and if so – to what extent did they” fail? “I did a little searching, but didn’t find any instances where it proved to be detrimental. In the times when these streams were being used as sewers, man- kind didn’t have any frame of reference for the damage they were causing. Preserving nature never even occurred to them, as it seemed to be so bountiful as to never cease. They believed they were making progress. It is exactly this short-sightedness we must try to avoid at all costs moving forward. It makes me question what are we taking for granted today that we haven’t even begun to think about yet? The short term expense seems to be justified for these towns that have preserved in daylighting their local covered streams. The rewards benefit all in the community and ultimately result in less money being spent over the long term. This action goes hand in hand with the greening movement and revitalizing areas that were formerly in decline.

  50. John Gallagher, “Healing a Wounded Landscape”

    This week’s reading “Healing a Wounded Landscape” by John Gallagher talked about how natural landscapes have an important purpose and are not only to be visually pleasing to people. Natural landscape formations help disperse water and helps in the drainage of water in cities. Unfortunately, we disturb and change the formation of the natural landscapes in our cities which than causes many problems such as flooding which damage neighboring properties. These buildings that are affected by flooding end up damaged. That’s why many cities that have had serious flooding issues have acted and came up with solutions to prevent anymore flooding. These cities had to decide to spend a hefty amount of money in attempts to fix its flooding issues and they also had to deal with possible residents who won’t stand behind their plan. These cities not only fixed the flooding issues but they also made the landscape more appealing. Fixing the flooding issues in these cities helped businesses and residents in that area.

    While I was reading “Healing a Wounded Landscape” and reading the flooding issues that have occurred in these cities. The image below came to mind. The image is an area in Fall River that has had flooding issues.

  51. Healing A Wounded Landscape

    Before reading this, I hadn’t really been aware of many projects that were intended to improve communities. My thinking was post-industrial cities were declining in population and income, which was a recipe for lower tax revenue to fix the problems causing the decline. I also hadn’t thought of totally removing buildings like the shopping center in St. Paul, Minnesota to build a wetland park; I had always thought of “revitalization” as renovation or improving buildings, not replacing them. From the St. Paul example, we can see that replacement may actually work out better for the community than renovation. What was once a low income housing area became a waterfront residential area. Furthermore, replacing the shopping center also removed an area where crime was an issue. Also interestingly enough, I hadn’t realized that there might be pushback from the community members, either due to cost or resistance to change. Despite what the community may want, these projects are well intended and can be a tremendous benefit to a community.

  52. For today’s assignment, I read “Healing a Wounded Landscape” by John Gallagher. The reading was about how certain projects focused on turning existing concrete based projects into environmental projects. Examples are the ” Pristine Stream”, ” The Quaggy”, ” and the ” Arcadia Creek” projects. Multiple of these projects involved “daylighting” which is the act of uncovering natural streams buried under placed soil or concrete. I am actually really interested in this act. I feel as if the country could benefit greatly from having multiple small projects based around this movement as it can bring more of a connection to nature and restore the natural charms of cities. As we are always looking for ways to improve as a society, I believe we should all think like Gallager and realize that instead of always starting new systems or projects in an area, we should consider using the environment’s natural systems to design with. I believe applying this ideology will cause certain cities to prosper , tourism to increase in respective cities and city residents feeling more satisfied and happy with their environment.

  53. I found this reading extremely interesting. While I was reading it I came across something that struck my attention as far as how I perceived this reading. The author wrote, “Living in a place where our ancestors wounded the landscape, do we suffer today from those earlier actions?”. The answer in my honest opinion is absolutely. Look at what happened to all of those now urban cities do due urbanization? Naturally waterways and streams give us all health benefits. In trying to fix the problems of those times before covering the creeks, they made it a worsened environment for the future generations. One of the stories that struck my attention was the Bloody Run Creek it Detroit. I agree with Gallagher here as well as far as the city already failing and not investing more into at the time to make it a better/healthier Detroit. It also clear to see that in covering the stream in the direction in which they did also created a divide in communities as now 8 mile is known as one of Detroit’s poorest neighborhoods. I found some images of Bloody Creek that I thought would be interesting as far as landscape in concerned.


    http://www.secondwavemedia.com/metromode/filterd/images/bloody-run-creek-01-750.jpg?s=f

  54. Healing A Wounded Landscape

    It is interesting to learn how people get around with ideas to revitalize drainage problem throughout cities that were once in the effect of industrialization (for example, Detroit, London, and Seoul). As flooding is a huge issue around those areas, an excessive amount of money needs to go through reconstruction projects. All in all, I think it is good to know that some areas within these cities are being revitalized for the better to both the community and the environment.

  55. “Healing a Wounded Landscape”

    just like everyone else has been talking about. us coming into these areas and making full blown cites are messing up the way the water goes back in to the earth. and with that problem its leading to a lot more flooding of areas and more destruction in the long run. just take a look down south with these hurricanes from this year and the past most of them leads to major flooding for long periods of time and is was to happen in places of nature that has not been touch. i bet these areas will make it threw the storms and we would not have to worry about mass flooding as much. https://goo.gl/images/ThCq3y

  56. It’s disgusting how humans have disregarded and discarded the beautiful landscape features that once were a staple of their respective areas. Even the fact they were turned into dumps initially is disgusting. Then sick with our own horribleness, we covered it up instead of healing the land.

    This piece hits especially hard because this is something we have done in Fall River, to the very namesake of our city. We abused it with chemicals from mills and sewage, and then covered it up to create highways. Reading this piece gave me some hope that perhaps it could come back. Although I am not hopeful that the current residents would like the idea and have the political will.

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