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Comments on Weeks 3&4 Readings-2017


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  1. Nadia Anderson, “Public Interest Design as Praxis” in The Journal of Architectural Education.

    I found the article different. Having an inclusive communal architecture design seems so foreign and smart. Like the article says, instead of building for a company and designing for specific needs, instead you build for the community and make designs that are friendly to what the community wants and is useful for all. This also helps capture the values of the community into the build. Such as if the community wants to be green, you can incorporate the design. Also having cooperation with non-architects and hearing outside ideas can really help in thinking for future projects.

    Susannah Hagan, “Five Reasons to Adopt Environmental Design” in Nature, Landscape and Building for Sustainability. 

    The intellectual reason, the practical reason, the technical reason, the economic reason, the pedagogical reason. These are the five reasons argued to adopt environmental design. Each reason is supported with reason. However, there is one big reason to adopt environmental design. This reason is mentioned, and the reason is demand. A business is about making money, and if people want to buy and be sustainable, then a market opens up for it. Same as an architect, even if you do not believe in being green is necessary, it does not matter. You will design environmental designs if that’s what is in demand. That is the only reason to get people to be green, because it is profitable.

    • Good observations on Anderson’s article. It is also important to highlight some of the theories that are discussed in the article:
      Public interest design praxis theories:
      The Social Production of Space
      The Everyday
      The Relational
      Public interest design praxis practices:
      Activism (Change)
      Participation (Decision Making)
      Material Agency (Appropriation)

    • Materiality in the Ruins: Waste, Excess and Sensuality

      When Edensor talks about wasted space he explains it clearly, “ In ruin all things are equal… because they are all trash. They are useless and worn out, and therefore possess no value and can be, indeed ought to be, discarded.” This is a straightforward approach and does not take into account other factors like our want to relate to people and things. I think this is what Edensor wanted to address though, that we’ve been hesitant and confused over what to do with decrepit structures for fear that if something is replaced the heritage that once was there will be gone forever.

      Thomas Stubblefield, “The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus”

      Stubblefield focused on the colossal impact that skyscrapers have on the environment and its people. People were worried that mass urbanization could threaten your health mentally and physically. Throughout history the buildings that always had the most symbolism was towers, and people had a sense of pride with the towers: the Great Pyramids, the Taj Mahal, the Lighthouse of Alexandria, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Parthenon. What skyscrapers represent is more like the tower and the story of Babel, accept that everyone wants to be the one on top because it does feel great to be on an imaginary hierarchal plane. However, “towers” nowadays give off a claustrophobic feeling.

  2. Five Reasons to Adopt Environmental Design

    I found the mentality of architects to be very interesting. Building something in the environment leads me to think that architects had to like or embrace the environments around the project – but there was once a time they didn’t. The article itself says , “For them, environmentalism is embarrassing. It has no edge, no buzz, no style.” That today is such a foreign concept. Its hard to realize that there once was a time that caring about the environment was only for hippies and geeks. The article goes on breaking down why architects need to embrace sustainability. There are intellectual reasons, practical reasons, technical reasons, economic reasons, and pedagogical reasons. Between all the reasons, while they are all valid, I think the technical reasons are the most important. Things such as building structures that can survive both summertime and wintertime conditions and other weather situations is paramount. Some real life examples I know of are a guy from the south is building a cottage at Moosehead Lake, Maine, and is building it with a flat roof! Flat roofs won’t work very well in the winter and I assume it will collapse. Another example is a building in Rockport where my uncles father told somebody building a house that there was an underground waterway that leads to the property and if you put a basement it will flood. He didn’t listen and to this day that house has flooding issues during heavy rainstorms.

    The Meanings of Deindustrialization

    This article tells the destructive path of companies moving offshore to cheaper areas of business. Many mines, factories, and mills are padlocked and abandoned leaving the towns around them with the same impact as a war-zone. While some of the buildings are re-purposed, others are just sitting there. Most of the re-purposed to maintain a manufacturing income for the communities around them. While this is a great thing to have, the incomes lack that of the industries that once were. The overall message of the article though aims at shaping a “new American workplace” that will help make a more humane and responsible place.

    • Good response to Hagan’s article. In other words, she is saying there are these five reasons and we will discuss them in class:
      The intellectual reason
      The practical reason
      The technical reason
      The economic reason
      The pedagogical reason

  3. In Hart’s “Worker Memory and Narrative,” I found it quite surprising most interviewees felt minimal negative impact of plants closing. Many workers had the foresight to save money (because some had been laid off in the past) and readjust their spending to live within their means after their plant closed. To some, the plant closing presented the opportunity to take early retirement. Obviously, many workers were affected negatively, but Hart highlighted the workers who saw a silver-lining in getting laid off to demonstrate how “unique personal circumstances shape individual reactions.”

    I agree with Hagan’s assessment of the “Economic Reason” to embrace environmental design. We should begin emulating nature when it comes to manufacturing processes. In nature, the waste of one process becomes the fuel of another. If we were to adopt this mentality in the United States, we could streamline manufacturing, reduce costs, and become more environmentally friendly. Turning waste streams into sellable commodities and resources is inherently efficient and waste-reducing.

  4. Susannah Hagan, “Five Reasons to Adopt Environmental Design” in Nature, Landscape, and Building for Sustainability

    Hagan talks about how all people are equally required to protect what sustains us (101). I believe this to be true and I also think that people from all fields of study can play a positive role in sustainability issues. Of course, some fields may have a more obvious connection to sustainability and environmentalism than others, but there are ways for most fields to get involved. Sometimes that will require individuals to create their own path. Environmental awareness, and design, is an opportunity for change and new ideas that can become the norm and what is familiar. So, I do find the idea that there are those who think that environmental design is a threat to their creativity a little silly (Hagan 112). I think this thought process could be due to the fact that people don’t often like change and, in my personal experience, people will say they don’t like rules, but their behavior says they do. Perhaps some in the architecture field have grown used to the way things are and have been. They have learned to create within a defined set of rules and environmental design is revealing new opportunities, so it may be too much for some to deal with.

    Nadia Anderson, “Public Interest Design as Praxis” in The Journal of Architectural Education.

    This article states the foundation of public interest design praxis is the partnership between architecture and the public (Anderson 16). This idea of a partnership with the public goes beyond architecture. It can be applied to many different occupations and it should be applied to other occupations. I feel like the public is often left out of decisions that concern their well-being. Those from all fields need to learn how to communicate effectively with the public. There needs to be a bridge between those who are initiating change and those who the change is for. Partnerships between architects and the public may be especially important for places like Gateway Cities. These partnerships could help people in those communities feel more connected to the space they inhabit and to each other. This in turn will help the cities progress.

  5. J. Soricelli:
    Cowie and Jeathcott’s article discusses the switch of investment from an industrial to post-industrial. Along with how society reacts to the situation. If you plant closes it means that you are out of a job however people should also think of it as someone else gets to keep their position and continue to work. The meaning of deindustrialization has a different meaning to different groups of people. Which is why it is suggested that deindustrialization be thought more as industrial restructuring. Looking at it in a broader sense would the de-linking of inventing and place and a broken connection between identity and work. I found Hagans chapter very interesting. Thinking environmentally you have to think about more than just the materials you are using to have to think about pollution from transporting materials, by products of cutting that material, and how that material will retain heat or cold. We also are using more efficient designs in roof ventilation from Kanak hut designs. While these seem to focus simply on environmental emissions making these choices help companies save money so it also has an economic standing.

  6. I think it’s interesting that Hagan lists the “pedagogical reason” for environmental design. She makes a strong case for the fact that in schools, students are in theory taught how to navigate the problems of their field and the world around them. What is happening to the environment is certainly a large problem of the modern world that everyone will encounter, and one we must adjust for.

    I think Anderson’s plea for architects to design with the community in mind is also interesting. I can’t say I know much about architecture or the process of being an architect, but I do know that there have been countless communities who are incredibly upset with a design or a building. I also know that there are many buildings that are made with the community in mind, meant to fit with the history and surroundings. However, I’m not sure that architects need to do this when they build. I think it’s incredibly important to know context in art in general, and definitely in something as imposing as a building can be. But I also don’t believe that an architect has to follow that mold or necessarily listen to the community, however nice it may be to do so. I think architect’s creativity is already a little more limited than other mediums (just by nature of building codes, physics, material cost, etc.) and it seems unfair to require them to limit creativity further. I know Hagan mentions that make design sustainable is not a limitation on creativity, but this appears to go beyond just adopting environmentally friendly design.

  7. In Susannah Hagans “Five Reasons to Adopt Environmental Design” I love how she writes about “big business” being the main reason for how resistant our current administation is to environmental change. The incorporation of environmental design has proven that in the long run it is more cost effective. Reducing water and energy use, along with effective waste disposal can actually increase the income of big business yet these companies refuse to change to environmentaly based designs. The environmental crisis has been growing at an alarming rate, and incorporating environmental design in architecture would help to reduce the damage that is being caused.

    Public Interest Design as Praxis not only speaks of environmental concerns, but of social concerns as well. Engaging in current issues such as the homeless, poverty, and climate change. I think being aware of the issues in the area that surround a potential architechtural site are important. These issues should be put into consideration along with a plan to help improve these situations. The idea that activism is a major part behind public intrest design as praxis is great. It brings to light social issues that otherwise could be overlooked. This design focus’ on creating a relationship between people that value all parties involved who share the knowledge, which in turn creates new knowledge and ideas that can change more than one environment alone. These practices are being constructed by theoretical ideas and values of human decency and empowerment that is enableing the action that is the praxis of public interest design. Placing humanity and the environment above capitalist gain is something that has taken a back seat more often than not as time has gone by. This has led to many of the issues we deal with today that are in need of a resolution.

  8. Meaning of Deindustrialization

    This article kind of reminds me about the Abolition Row Park in New Bedford, a restoration project which will change people’s lives around the neighborhood. In comparison with the article, the author mostly tells us about how destructive path changed people’s lives. It all started when workers who works in mines, factories and mills lost their jobs during the World War II. Without jobs, they lose their homes while jobs were left abandoned. Which is later, turned into artsy shopping spaces or dynamited. Overtime, some of the buildings and the lands are restored but it was not what was once called home. As for the workers they move to places with opportunity, such as areas with small companies.

    Five Reasons to Adopt Environmental Design

    This is an interesting article in my opinion. The author, Hagan, tells her viewers that the health of the city can be measured among anythings. Some of them includes, by the condition and the use of public space. In my understanding, I believe she is suggesting that one’s action may affect another. All and all, it is interesting to understand her views of what she sees in the environments.

  9. The Meanings of Deindustrialization

    This article highlights the immediate impact deindustrialization has on the nation and as a result inflicts joblessness and poverty among workers, families and their communities. These workers faced despair and betrayal as their mines, factories and mills were shutdown and turned into shopping spaces, apartments or torn down to be entirely replaced. Cowie and Heathcott further discuss the industrial decline in terms of social, political and economic impact. They bring together several industrial cities declines to determine that deindustrialization is not a single place or period in history. Rather, it is a plethora of causes, timing and situations that cannot be defined or predicted. They suggest that deindustrialization ought to be thought of as a restructuring of the “new American workplace,” that has come from the industrial downfall. And that we should all strive to shape it into a more humane and responsible place.

    Public Interest Design as Praxis

    Public interest design not only produces spaces that are inclusive and place based but also creates a theoretical framework that incorporates values of equity, inclusivity and social justice through action or process. This encourages a change in relationship between architecture and the public from one of hierarchy to one of partnership. Public interest design praxis acknowledges its political role and connects it to activism. The concept moves design beyond rational problem solving to include the habits and practices of ordinary people as well as the systems that give their lives meaning and identity. It engages the everyday by working with the public to address needs such as affordable housing, disaster recovery, local food access, and employment opportunities. I think this should become a common approach to community projects because the community members provide knowledge about everyday needs and practices that are critical in helping design partners understand the places history and cultural patterns.

  10. “Five Reasons to Adopt Environmental Design” by Susannah Hagan 
    Susannah Hagan wrote about the reasons to adopt environmental design. All the reasons had good points in why we should adopt to environmental design. One of the reasons she mentioned was the practical reason. Wouldn’t people want to adopt environmental design in their buildings because the materials used to build these structures end up influencing our environment. The materials have an influence because it takes energy to produce and transport these materials. Susannah mentioned that wood was a good material environmentally not only because it resists conducting heat and cold, but also because it adds no carbon to the atmosphere, except when it is transported and cut. Architects should consider the materials that they want to use for their structures that they design because their choices influence the environment.

    “Public Interest Design as Praxis” by Nadia Anderson

    I found the article interesting in how they focused on the publics ideas of what should be done with the open spaces and areas. They had their focus on the people living in the neighborhood because they are the ones who will use the space the most. They wanted to know what was important to the people of the neighborhood and what they feel was most useful for their community. It’s important for the community to join as one and express their ideas to each other and come up with something that will be best for their well-being. Most of the time the community doesn’t have a word in what is decided and the public should be able to express their thoughts and ideas.

  11. Sustainable design across the globe from small to large projects have created interesting spacial and social awareness. With renewable, reusable, manipulation of materials, as described in Public Interest Design as Praxis, creates dynamic arrangement of space and the objects within the spaces, with the emphasis of creating an environment that can be manipulated to accommodate as time goes on. The article is interesting in its contextual evidence as to create furniture and objects and working together, as a society moving forward to innovate more ecofriendly alternatives and change how we see opportunities to construct our environment and public spaces. Environmental design as emphasized in Hagan’s article contributes to the discussion, using examples of designs throughout history, to emphasis the significant changes that environmental design contributes to different factors in our lives, whether it’s political, economical, or otherwise, the author creates the point of the innovations being a better alternative. On the contrary, it takes energy to create most sustainable innovations, especially large buildings, but creating sustainable designs still creates waste but in the long run less waste is emitted to effect the environment.

    Nadia M. Anderson (2014) Public Interest Design as Praxis, Journal of Architectural Education, 68:1, 16-27, DOI: 10.1080/10464883.2014.864896

    Susannah Hagan. “8 Five Reasons to Adopt Environmental Design.” Nature, Landscape, and Building for Sustainability: A Harvard Design Magazine Reader. By William S. Saunders and Thayer Jr Robert L. N.p.: U of Minnesota, 2008. 100-13. Print.

  12. Meaning of Deindustrialization; Worker Memory and Narrative “Beyond the Ruins”

    I found these article very interesting and I chose both of them because they come from the same book. It goes deeper than just an “historical deindustrialization”. Everyone you ask will give you their own personal definition of what denindustrialzation is and was. This author not only looks at it as a historical event but something that has carried over into today’s communities around the United States. Deindustrialization was more than just factories closing/moving overseas and cities being left with huge abandoned buildings. There were people and families that were effected tremendously. Closing of these major factories may have been beneficial for some (like the big guys of the corporations) but what about the employees that were suddenly left without employment and no warning? Deindustrialization was part of the white flight era and that in turn moved the wealthy and white out of the inner cities and into the suburbs. This left nothing the lower and middle working class to fend for themselves and those government officials that approved factory closures now were stuck with the problem of having to try and figure out what happens next with all these desolate buildings and vacant spaces? Some cities have been able to slowly recover, but there were others that are still completely poverty/war stricken and desolated with no means to end in sight. Some families are still struggling to just provide the basic needs of health and decent education in many of these places. Point being that although some see and saw deindustrialization as paving the way toward the future, they failed to remember the people and environment that were being left behind.

  13. I chose to read Jennifer Cowie and Joseph Heathcott, eds., “Introduction” in Beyond the Ruins: The Meanings of Deindustrialization. As well as, • Susannah Hagan, “Five Reasons to Adopt Environmental Design” in Nature, Landscape and Building for Sustainability.

    Both excerpts focused on a completely different topic, though they each can be related to sustainability within architecture. To start, “The Meaning of deindustrialization” Into was dragged out across nine pages, it touched upon how the people who lost the most, their job stability and the vision of their hometowns when industry began to fall. But turning to the present, the authors began to explain that now is the right time, the era where as a nation deindustrialization must not be related to defeat but represented as a transformation, historically, geographically and politically, “beyond the ruins”. It is explained that where a strip mall now stands, was once an active steel plant famous for the strike of 1919 against Andrew Carnegie. In this they show that times have changed, and unfortunately the historical past can be lost within this change. But that it is also possible to have improvement, movement into a new age while respecting our past through reuse, with description of the smoke stacks that line the new Main St. It was interesting to realize that deindustralization is not commonly used in politics, instead postindustrial age is the keyword. The author explains that using postindustrial creates a shadow over what is still current, it hides us from the economic and environmental fact that we have not surpassed nor rebuilt the area that experienced industrial turmoil.

    The Second excerpt I read was very interesting to me, it explained how adopting a biological outline to how one reinvents old architecture or build new areas is helpful in many ways. In order to build something that will stand the test of time one must think about the dynamics of nature in which it is present, take tips directly from nature such as being, “circular and energy efficient”. Keeping in mind that more complex areas need more complex interactions between the people, the environment and the form. The article promotes the efficiency big business will accomplish if it takes on this new, ever growing idea of coexisting industry with environment, “symbiotic relationship”. More so it touches upon how this new innovate way of thinking and creating allows for experimental and artistic freedom within new forms of building, while also giving a platform on which to first grow off of.

    • Great! Love how you emphasize this point: “…how this new innovate way of thinking and creating allows for experimental and artistic freedom within new forms of building, while also giving a platform on which to first grow off of.”

  14. Five Reasons to Adopt Environmental Design:

    In this chapter, Hagan starts off by describing the current state of environmental design, being increasingly accepted by various fields. Oddly enough, architects have proven to be less accepting of environmentalism as it’s “embarrassing” and “without style”. This was quite a surprise to me as I thought of architecture as an area that could most benefit from environmental design, in terms of innovation and sustainability. Hagan continues to explain how schools and practies could benefit from being involved in environmental design: The intellectual reason, the practical reason, the technical reason, the economic reason, and the pedagogical reason. Through all of these reasons, I tend to lean towards the technical reasoning as to how environmental design can have a positive impact on cities, or in a more general sense architecture. One of the big issues is that incorporating environmental design is that it can be very complex; it isn’t just figuring out what to build, it’s how to build it, what materials should be used, and developing software capable of testing these structures before they’re built.

    Public Interest Design as Praxis

    Anderson states “Public interest design is motivated to act in a way that frames architectural practice as a reciprocal activity done in partnership with communities”. Social and environmental issues need to be addressed, and this begins with inclusivity in terms of the public environment. I feel like this closely relates to Hagans “Five Reasons to Adopt Environmental Design”; Architects need to become more engaged with environmental design, but also with the public who inhabit the structures they build.

  15. Public Interest Design as Praxies.

    Architecture conjures the image of magnificent buildings that become a staple of the skyline of which they reside. However this article challenges that view. Architecture can be so much more, and I agree, it should be so much more. Architecture can be a means of bringing different elements of different disciplines together, such as activism and sustainability and community. I think as we look towards the future of our proposals we should heavily incorporate these ideas. The land should reflect the activist roots of the Abolitionist movement as well as provide something for the community that now resides around the forgotten lot.

    Worker Memory and Narrative

    I am very interested in learning more about labor movements and labor laws, I feel as though this article was a snippet of the history around these two subjects. It is interesting to hear that the workers interviewed picked an optimistic viewpoint to continue their lives instead of one of anger or depression. If we attempt to extrapolate those values to similar communities, especially presently, it seems as though they do not fit. One of the large reasons political scientists and commentators alike believe Trump was elected was because of “economic anxiety” or because of how jobs were seemingly evaporating. However this paints a picture of angry, frustrated, and upset workers, whereas this piece makes laid off workers seem more relaxed. I wonder what the disconnect is?

  16. Five reasons to adapt environmental design by Susannah Hagan

    Listing the 5 reasons to adopt environmental reform, as the intellectual, the practical, the technical, the economic, and the pedagogical, the author gives us many reasons to embrace environmental design.
    She also states that for architects, which professional field is a ” haven for the untalented, where ethics replace aesthetics and get away with it.”, and many view environmental design as “embarrasing”. It lacks the edge and style that some architects seek.
    I would argue that sustainable architecture is more appealing than traditional, in that it takes more commitment to create beautiful, usable space with environmentally sustainable materials than to design traditionally without any thought to the environment.
    I believe that designing eco-friendly and environmentally friendly buildings will be what weeds out the “untalented” in design and architecture. The consumer is demanding these traits in their homes, offices and other spaces more and more. Professional architects will be limited in their career and opportunities if they cannot keep up with the demands of society.

    In Worker Memory and Narrative, I found the common thread of disbelief, even though many said they saw some of the problems in advance. They felt lied to by company executives, felt that the executives merely were trying to weaken the strength of the unions and were trying to reap the benefits provided by NAFTA. What they didn’t feel though, was like “mere victims.” They were strong, skilled and hardworking, and these are traits any employer should want to have in an employee.

    This story makes me wonder more about Unions and the benefits of belonging to one. Are they a dated set of demands in today’s global economy? Can we afford to have unions? In some large companies the legacy costs that the unions create, make it a crippling weight for the companies to bear in times of slow economic growth. Yet, they provide so much support for the workers, how can the employees rights be protected without them?

  17. Rive reason to adopt environmental design is about the importance of architectural practices and architectural academics. The five reasoning are intellectual, practical, technical, pedagogical reasons that are understanding of architecture, environmental design. Since environmentalism is a modern and postmodern, it’s aims are universal in being responsive to, dependent upon, in individual conditions.

    The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus talks about the first abstracted view of the city from photography. The image shows a perspective of eradicates depth and establishes illegibility as its organizing principle. The was a landmark of New York’s Madison Square that transform into a abstract image of an Octopus. Alvin Coburn took that image on top of Metropolitan Life Tower, which was the tallest tower back then. The image showed the modern industrial buildings (skyscraper) and space.

  18. Five Reasons To adopt Environmental Design

    I like how hagen writes her article so that it can appeal to people of different backgrounds and jobs. In the intro she basically states that were all in this together no matter what or backgrounds or cultures are our condition on this planet is all the same. Its interesting how the article is setup to draw to your interests in the way that you reason with the world; furthermore, she lists multiple reasons and explains them so that people learn that architecture should be seen as a multiple-discipline not just something you simply sketch and build. Hagen quotes “ Matter is, in short active, dynamic and creative”. When I’ve always thought of environmental design or building things with purpose, I never imagined anything to be manufactured or homogenous because no two things in nature are alike, things grow and live somewhere for a purpose.

    The Meaning of Deindustrialization

    I agree with Cowie and Heathcott that we need to reweigh the chronology or rethink the way we address deindustrialization. We’ve been approaching this topic the same way for too long, and I don’t think it applies to only deindustrialization, but people in general just don’t like moving on and by nature we are creatures of habit. So I can feel people’s frustrations in seeing their industry die in their neighborhood, or a once prosperous factory turned into a strip mall. It would frustrate me too that people walking into those shop’s don’t know about the ground they are standing on, but they shouldn’t have to. The environment changes everyday and you can’t expect things to last forever, so another reason why we need to learn to build things more sustainable is so that things are more durable but also so that it has less impact when gone.

  19. Urban Decay Photography and Film: Fetishism and the Apocalyptic Imagination

    Arts and performers have used ruins of the industrial time to create a somewhat apocalyptic scene as a subject of their work. While this usage is appreciated and helps the artists currently, it doesn’t help the area or the sustainability of it. The most famous ruins are in Detroit. I learned that both the movie industry (Z Nation) and the music industry (Eminem to name one) have used these ruins to create media that people in general like to consume. As learned in the article, some even refer it to “ruin porn” photography. The reason why the term is focused on being derogatory is because when the artist/performer uses the imagery it disconnects the background meaning and the local meaning of the locations. Overall, it covers that a ruined urban city such as Detroit isn’t a dying, crumbling location but a blank canvas for new artists, architects, entrepreneurs, and businesspeople.

    The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus

    This article depicts a sky down image of New York’s Madison Square from the Met Life Tower in 1912. What it shows is an abstract image of an Octopus. The idea of viewing the walkways like this was perceived as “precociously Modern.” It leads to ideas of photographers for not just documenting what exists but being a medium to discover new designing, dwelling, and production space.The Octopus leads into a skyscraper debate about how the skyscraper can reduce light and prove threats to humans. They became associated with corporate greed and even resulted in the deaths of 146 people in a routine fire who couldn’t do anything else but jump to their deaths. It allows people to really stop and think about the actions and situations that they put themselves into.

    • This is a good response. Both articles are important in highlighting the importance of representation.
      In other words, they are saying: How might the inheritance of empty and unused buildings function as something more than monuments to prior prosperity? The danger is that, if the image of decay comes to take a firm root in the public imagination, then as Sontag suggests this is to be complicit in its misfortune: to desire acquiescence to the current state of things rather than change. Photography and film that perpetuate the images of the ruins and, indeed, capitalize on it do little to generate alternative ways of thinking about or acting toward urban regeneration.

  20. In Thomas Stubblefield’s article, it discussed how people did not what skyscrapers built. They thought that it would cause property values to drop while affecting the building around them. These building would get less natural light and air flow causing them to rely on artificial light sources and ventilation systems. This is a valid concern, with less natural light the building would be cooler meaning that it would have to use more heating in the colder months leading to higher costs. The same happen for electric costs as well. These issues were also thought of as a health and safety risk which I found interesting. Especially after triangle factory fire these issues were reinforced. Sarah Arnold’s article however talks about photograph of decaying building and Detroit is the main city she talks about. I found it interesting how the article discusses how photograph can risk dehumanize the social history that interacts with it. The photograph show the decay with rusty browns and grey colors emphasize the changes of the buildings themselves however they do not capture the stories connected to the building. The photograph can also leave a building fixed in a certain moment and they will be remembered as such.

  21. For today’s readings I chose The City from Afar Aerial view in Alvin Coburns The Octopus and the landscape and memory of deindustrialization.
    In 1912, standing atop what was at the time the tallest building in the world, Coburns image ignites debate over high-rises in general and is “a reminder that the power of a photograph is not simply to document but to envision new modes of designing, dwelling, and ,..”producing” space.” The arguments that there was a lack of fresh air and light as a result of skyscrapers was used for the “quality of life” arguments, and these were presented as life threatening conditions. The spread of disease was sited and then reinforced with a tragic fire. In an effort to appease the conflict, a movement started to create wider streets to help ease the claustrophobia caused by the high buildings, but this proved too expensive, so it never happened, and the building of skyscraper continued.
    Photography did play a role in policy reform, resulting in the first zoning laws of 1916- not limiting height but required setback to help keep natural light, and designate predetermined amount of space for plazas in front of the skyscraper.
    This image is talked about as “the first abstracted view of the city.” There is no horizon line to orient yourself to, and there is no true depth. It becomes a bit disorientating. Coburns took this image after a trip to the Grand Canyon. The experience of photographing “natural views from high altitude” is what brought him to New York, to be able to capture “equally fascinating…man-made views.”

    In the Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization, the author looks at plant closings in Canada and sees a sharp contrast. There are not nearly as many closings, and they found only scattered abandoned industrial sites. Many have been demolished and replaced. One town has been able to keep its steel industry intact. But of the closures seen through Canada, one of the things that struck me was the fact that the Canadians put up much more resistance to the closings than their counterparts in the US did. They did however, show some animosity toward the foreign, primarily American, owners of such plants, with one worker saying” I honestly believe the people of Canada have been shafted. They’ve had the wool pulled over their eyes and these corporations laugh right in our faces.” Another states “ You can’t fight the Yankees. You know what they say: ”Them damn Yankees.”

  22. Urban Decay Photography and Film: Fetishism and the Apocalyptic Imagination by
    Sarah Arnold raises a strong point about the fasinization with urban decay and how it can at times misrepresent what is actually occuring in the community. The example that she uses with the photos of Cass Tech highschool is perfect in representing this. The photos give off an almost erie feel when looking through them, showing us what once was a thriving school left to ruins. It looks as though this school was abandoned many years ago and has been left to ruin when in reality the students in these pphotos are only in their early thirties. It gives us the notion that nothing has been done with the school when in actuality it has been torn down and a new, better school has been built right next door that is thriving in the community. Looking to the past is a good way to improve the future, but it can also misrepresent what is really going on in the present. It is important to highlight the positive along with the negative.

    The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus
    Thomas Stubblefield is based on the invasion of the skyscaper taking away open space. This is argument that is still relevent today. Although more conscious efforts are made in building in order to include environmenta factors, cost and efficiency are also main issues in the building process. It is necessary to reimagine space and utilize it in a manor that is both beneficial to its inhabitants and the environment.

  23. I found it interesting how Stubblefield connected his analysis of Coburn’s “The Octopus” to both social and economic issues of the time period. First, he expresses the public concern regarding the unsightly skyscrapers, compromises to general safety, exploitative commercialism. He trivializes these humanitarian concerns to showcase the economic effect of these skyscrapers. The unsightly factories hurt local businesses by their sheer size and appearance. Furthermore, the volume of leasable space skyrocketed, causing real estate prices to plummet; a simple supply-and-demand effect. Skyscrapers are often considered economic positives, as they offer offices for businesses and space for factories. It is very interesting to me how Stubblefield’s analysis included economic insight, in addition to sociopolitical factors.

    High and Lewis’ “Deindustrial Fragments” was interesting to me for a few reasons. Firstly, I enjoyed reading the piece because it is a collection of interviews, as opposed to an analysis with quotes peppered in; it is a nice change of pace from other pieces we read. Here, the bulk of the piece is reading individual accounts. Hearing from the workers of closed factories with different backgrounds allows the reader to draw their own conclusions and gain insight on the smaller picture: how the workers responded individually to closures. Usually, we hear factory closures put people out of work and they suffer, but we don’t really get to hear their voices.

  24. The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus

    This reading is about how Alvin want the view the modern industrial city of New York City by looking down from the Metropolitan Life Tower. He was working on interpretation of images as a study form. He tried to relate his work to public urbanization. When he stood on top of the Metropolitan Life Tower, he photographs the landscape below. The view liked an abstracted view of the city. The landmark of New York’s Madison Square was an abstraction form of an octopuses. Here’s a video of Dr. Percy North discusses Alvin Langdon Coburn’s photography

    Urban Decay Photography and Film: Fetishism and the Apocalyptic Imagination

    This reading the urban decay of Detroit. I found the reading and photography interesting. I like how Susan Sontag merged old photos of the Cass Tech High School with students in them and took photos of the decaying vacant school together. Susan brought the dead school to life when she merged them together and turning them into a series. Besides Susan there were other photographers like Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre tool a photo of the fisher bod 21 plant. They show the Ruins of Detroit on what used to be wealthy industrial sites that are abandoned. Showing photograph’s relationship to time, the past and present and death.

  25. Steven High and David Lewis. “Deindustrial Fragments” in Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization.  

    The closing of factories was much different in Canada than the united states. Of course any mass loss of jobs is unfortunate, but unlike the U.S, Canada recovered. The factories were taken down and the land was turned into shopping centers or other uses. The employees such as John Livingstone was compensated and given a nice severance package as well. The article starts off saying it is hard to fine factories that are abandoned and still standing. In the united states there was the rust belt, but it seems in Canada there was just dots of rust.

    Sarah Arnold, “Urban Decay Photography and Film: Fetishism and the Apocalyptic
    Imagination “in Journal of Urban History, Pamela Karimi (ed)

    My interpretation of this article, is that taking photos that reflect on the happy past and sad present locks that place in time and keeps it from having a happy future. I would have to disagree with that statement. Comparing the past to the present can be inspiring. Seeing how great it use to be can inspire and cause a movement to make the sad present a happy future. Photos speak a thousand words and an image can speak louder sometimes than any written review can.

  26. “Deindustrial Fragments” in Corporate Wasteland: The Landscape and Memory of Deindustrialization.

    This article discussed issues larger than factory closings and cities transforming, what was interesting to read was that when the workers of Hamilton, specifically the women workers, were not given the same opportunities as male workers when the mill closed in the 70’s. Since this article is focused on Canadian mill cities it was surprising to hear that the interviewers emphasized a greater resistance to plant closings compared to those in the United States. A really powerful line was in the interview with Ed Lawrenson where he said “We’d rather be out of work than have to live in fear of working from one week to the next…” and ends his interview by describing the factory workers losing their jobs in Canada as having “the wool pulled over their eyes and the corporations laugh right in our faces.” In the last interview it was nice see that the workers fought for what they deserved, despite feeling hopeless, and became recognized and supported by the community and the broader labour movement and by the end were given a settlement, something not many were granted during these hard times.

    “Urban Decay Photography and Film: Fetishism and the Apocalyptic Imagination”

    As a design student I found this article particularly interesting especially the correlation it makes between abandoned factories and the urban decay photo series like the abandoned Detroit high school. The parts of this city that used to represent progress are now pointing to decline. People seem to take an interest in abandoned buildings just as the article states, “Rather than visiting the city for the arts community opposite, they are more interested in visiting the decayed and disorderly sites of the city.” The Fisher Plant photograph, as well as others in the series, are “connected spatially and politically to Detroit’s [continuous] narratives of past, present, and future.” These photographs are referred to as the apocalyptic imagination, romanticizing the impression of it represents. Many artists are taking interest in this content and in turn end up driving potential and interest to the city for artists which leads to businesses and a revamping of the city.

  27. The chapter, “Deindustrial Fragments,” in Corporate Wastelands, contain memories of factories and buildings that were once clean and comfortable and clean areas of work, recollect their memories as they move through the buildings once again explaining once it was. Revisiting their memories, how factories closed without any say of the workers themselves. In the first paragraph, the authors wrote about different areas revitalizing. The images and representation and mentality of the people still seeing the area as a wasteland as the title suggests, reminds me of how third-world countries are portrayed in order to profit or gain recognition indirectly for capturing the poor where as here they capture homes and buildings crumbling from abandonment.
    The chapter, “Waste, Excess, and Sensuality,” in Industrial Ruins, Tim Edensor beautifully captures his intimate apocalypse-esque photos of showing how the wildlife have taken over and the remaining standing structures and piles of waste left behind and unmanaged. The emphasis the issues of how we use materials, the industrial societies, and how we treat the environment with the pace the structures are decaying and how that affects the environment.

  28. Stubblefield: “The City from Afar; Arnold; “Urban Decay”

    I chose both of these articles because well firstly, the titles caught my attention. Both articles are about photography and the representation pictures have on the community, members of said community as well as city government officials.
    In the article “City from Afar”, the author gives us aerial photos, along with the historical backgrounds of these neighborhoods and explains how the urbanization of New York is not only changing how the city looks from above but also how it effects those down below.He gives us 2 photos of “The Octopus” and “Trinity Church from Above”. In these photos he says that the octopus which was once a place for walkers, community members, or businessmen/women went to stroll, relax, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. In the other photo he shows a historical church that looks like a speck from the sky. His argument is that the urbanization and building of skyscrapers is ruining the views of the city along with its historical content. He says this is happening because buildings are built in a vertical manner and enveloping everything around them. For instance in the Octopus the sun doesn’t shine as it used to because the tall buildings are blocking it from the Octopus and the breeze/fresh air isn’t as crisp as it was before. Leaving this open space that was once occupied by people all the time, lifeless besides for a few passersby from time to time.
    In the second article “Urban Decay” the author gives us photos of ruined schools and other buildings in the city of Detroit. The authors argument here is that photos of ruined buildings and defaced interiors remind of us of what once was. A school with children that learned, abandoned and defaced was left for years on the side of the new school with no use other than to capture it in photograph.
    These articles are an amazing photographed diary and information is plentiful but it is sad to such beauty turned into to such chaos. It is true when the say “a picture is worth a thousand words”.

  29. So i found the “Urban decay” article very intresting and i found that in new bedford they are trying to take these urban building and make them useful again just like the wamsutta mill the before to a after of a beautiful loft building

    The city from afar: i found that some of the points in the article i can see is true about how the blocking of the sunlight can be bad for humans and i do agree with the statement made by @acrocker about how they became the source of cooperate greed and lead to the death of 146 from a fire that they all jumped out of windows. make you think how some things are happing for certain reason in todays societies

  30. Thomas Stubblefield, “The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus” in Journal of Urban History, Pamela Karimi (ed)

    The Octopus is an example of how photography can showcase what is new, changing, and happening. Because of this photography can either be a good or bad thing depending on how it is used. Photography has the ability to highlight possibility instead of despair. However, I think it is important to be aware of the fact that people interpret art in different ways. Not only that, but people can misinterpret the intended message of a piece. Photography can influence people, but there are many factors that can change why and how people react in the ways they do. I do think that photography can play a positive role in how people view situations and it can help to create change. Yet, photographers are going to have to be aware of, and understanding of, the community they are potentially influencing. Not every community is going to react the same way to the same stimulus.

    Sarah Arnold, “Urban Decay Photography and Film: Fetishism and the Apocalyptic Imagination” in Journal of Urban History, Pamela Karimi (ed)

    Photography has contributed to the image of Detroit as being a place of ruin and has confined it to that definition. But, Detroit is actually rebuilding; it is not stuck in the past. It seems like people are trying to make an example out of Detroit, but in doing so they are the ones hindering its growth in the present. If photography focused on the possibility of what could come from destruction, a new beginning, then it would probably help Detroit. I found it interesting how Arnold pointed out how human history can be erased in a photography. It’s like humans are separated from their creations, which doesn’t help the fact that viewers don’t really see places in photographs as real places. If people do not see a place as being real, can they ever feel compassion for that space and the people who occupy it?

    Photography that focuses on ruins will not help with renewal or new ways of thinking. Instead of focusing on the ruins, there could be a focus on the opportunities and possibilities. Even though there is potential harm, photography also has the potential to generate innovation, growth, change, and revival. Photographers should be aware of the impact they have on the well-being of communities.

  31. I chose to read, Urban Decay Photography and Film: Fetishism and the Apocalyptic Imagination by Sarah Arnold. What sparked my interest was how photography could take part in awareness over the decaying city of Detroit. What the author is trying to convey the importance in the emotion of the photographer to the image and what the image represents to the object/area being photographed. For instance, not until reading this did I realize how true it is that photos capture the souls of people and the way in which one chooses to express that photo can alter the viewers perception. By making a claim, bringing recognition or beauty as well as redefining the space of which the photo was taken. All these purposes can be done in an influential and everlasting fashion however, the author explains that certain images though lasting, do not depict the city of Detroit in the most beneficial way. I feel an artist must remember that life still breathes in the city and for some it is home, the decay is not beauty nor is it part of the past. The city once held history, activity and is currently falling in economic ruins. In order to respectfully represent/honor the city and its people, one must take great care in how they chose to angle, alter and express their photos. This paper, I feel, relates well to the ideas expressed within, The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus by Thomas Stubblefield. Stubblefield explains the importance and prominent foreshadowing of photographs taken during the 20th century. In concern with city life during this time, the author explains how Alvin Coburn photo, The Octopus which captures Madison Square Garden in 1912 from a top a skyscraper. This photo expresses innovation of the times with the height, while the shadow in the photo also depicts the near future. The way in which the lighting and angle of this photo was produced allows it to be conceptualized differently. For instance one might take the looming, single skyscraper as a warning of capitalistic ways and a future of unknown societal dynamics. Personally I enjoy the act of photography and at other points I relate and enjoy the image in which I am capturing. The intent of the image maker is something powerful, it can create movements, allow something to be forgotten or cause questioning.

  32. Urbanization of the Aerial View

    What stood out to me most was the most drastic juxtaposition of this urbanization that is being explored. Comparing the Grand Canyon to the heights of the New York skyscrapers really establishes this idea well. In a way shots of both are similar: aerial shots and large heights compel the viewer to feel the larger than life scale, but their subjects are still so different, yet feel similar. One is a natural formation and one is a human creation, yet they evoke the same feelings: wonder, awe, possible fear (of heights).

    What also stood out to me was the last photo in the article. It looks like a fully functional building until closer inspection; the windows are boarded up and broken, yet the rest of the building looks in relatively good shape.

    Fetishism and the Apocalyptic Imagination

    The article brings up many good points. Using places like Detroit to romanticize poverty and urban decay is dangerous as it can have the consequence of creating a harmful narrative. Detroit IS poverty and urban decay, despite Detroit being so much more. I think the first two photos in this piece, overlaying old pictures of healthy buildings on to newer decayed buildings, is a great example of how this sort of photography can open up discussion on urban decay without harming these areas further. Those photographers explore the history of these places, and what they once were, while also making note of what they have become. It’s hopeful, yet saddening, and in a way inspiring, inspiring in the way that these areas can be brought back to their former glory in a new updated way.

    However, I wonder what the extent of their critique really is. Do people really start feeling as though their cities are not able to be helped because of photographs that document their decay, or is it the fact that their cities have been left this way for so long. Would photographs not inspire residents to improve their city? As to not make those photographs their legacy. I think art can exist outside of reality’s narratives.

  33. The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus

    During the time, Alvin Coburn, The Octopus (1912) was described, “precociously Modern” by the Met Museum. It was know to envision new modes of designing, dwelling, and, to use Henri Lefebvre’s vocabulary, “producing” space. In my opinion, I believe that is not all true, it is just a project in the wide location that is meant for recreational purpose. The only reason why that space was very important at the time being was the powerful photography that was taken at a certain time and angle which made it looks really unique, thus coming up with the idea of “space and its purpose”.

    Urban Decay Photography and Film: Fetishism and the Apocalyptic Imagination

    When I learn about history, it is common that most of them comes from text and ideas that were written by great writers and historians. But to actually experience the past, and see the visual aspect of a certain place that once was, is a great way of learning and understanding how it had changed overtime. Taking photos of Cass Tech high school and restore the visual sense of what it used to be was a great example and a reminder.

  34. •For this assignment, I read “Public Interest Design” and “Five Reasons to adapt Environmentalism.” From my perspective, both articles were really motivating and positive. Personally, I liked the “Public Interest Design” article more. My interest mainly comes from the beginning pages where the author talked about what the motivation and objective of a project should be when it comes to designing in an area. The author mentioned that a design should not be random or simply appealing but that it should also speak to the psychological and social needs of that area. I really enjoyed hearing her perspective! She urges individuals to understand the area first before making any final decisions concerning the respective project. I really enjoyed reading this because I believe that this mindset can positively affect cities that are in need of tourism and more social interactions. I believe that if more designers and engineers were to apply that method, cities would have a more positive impact on the lives of individuals. Additionally, I believe that the most impactful designs do not necessarily mean the most expensive.; it could sometimes be the least. I also liked “Five Reasons to adapt Environmentalism”. Its ideas reminded me of why it is important to put an emphasis on sustainability in the final project of the class. Both articles were amazing to read.

  35. •For this assignment, I read three articles: “ Deindustrial Fragments”, “Urban Decay Photography and Film”, and “The City from Afar.” Overall, I think I definitely learned a lot from reading these articles and enjoyed certain passages. I really enjoyed seeing the photographs of Sarah Arnold in “Urban Decay Photography”. I appreciate the fact that she combined past and present photographs together. Even though I did not live in those areas, I still felt the nostalgia and sadness that these pictures carried. I then wondered how different of an impact would these photos have had if the present pictures were mixed in with futuristic and “what ifs scenario-like” pictures. I feel that it would (possibly) motivate mayors and people of authorities to potentially invest in these buildings or area. Concerning “Deindustrial Fragments”, I thought that it was cool that the author decided to publish interviews with ex-factory workers who used to employed by mills that closed . I learned a lot from those interviews. I appreciate the fact that I got to see how these individuals felt about the closing of their jobs.

  36. Cynthia’s response:
    The death camps and prisoner-of-war prison camps of Germany, the naval ships drowned in Pearl Harbor, the horrific scenes of 911 ground zero, tourist visits to the ruins of Italy and Greece, tombs and pyramids, and more contemporary personal and industrial ruins; what is the attraction? As children in rural areas, we are attracted to abandoned homes. They are a catalyst for our imaginations. Houses become haunted and challenges to be entered, then used as a hang-out away from adults.
    In his piece, Edensor describes the process of decay when a building has been abandoned. His description a scientific timeline. Both he and Sarah Arnold ponder the question of attraction to these sites. I don’t believe that all the images, of abandoned factories, are freakaziod fetishes bent on fantasizing about an apocalyptic world. As I scan the images in our readings, the most difficult distraction to overcome are the photos and news footage of those same smoke stakes, but my memories recall them spewing chemicals in the air and the concern for the pollution in the north east as a result. Acid rain was the biggest concern at that time. Cars would have cancer spots in the paint brought on by the acid caught in the clouds, then dump as rain in our area. The history we discuss in our class overlaps with the history I have lived.
    I found the same distraction while walking the streets of New Bedford. I’ve seen the changes in the use of the factories transformed into public housing. A down town that has gone through multiple transformations. People I interacted with in the 70’s, long gone and replaced by others in the 80’s, through present time like a cinematic production.
    Sarah Arnold’s describes it on page 329: “The ruin represents the process of history, as Ben has suggested. It might crumble, it might collapse, It changes shape, and it is sometimes restored or repurposed. Both ruin and decay are active processes.” I’ve seen the process repeated throughout my life time.
    While reading a piece of work, we are taught to wonder who the audience for which it was written. Arnold does this in her piece. There are many reasons to stop time with a photograph. Some pictures are shot as a reminder of an experience, to share with others, turning them into more of a woodchip than sawdust. In her book, WOODCHIPS AND SAWDUST, WHIMSYS OF WESTPORT, Lois H. Simon describes memories in this way. I paraphrase: experiences shared with other are like wood chips, and alone they are like sawdust that are more easily blown away by the winds of time.
    We freeze time and through these images share with others. Is it an attempt to create a stronger memory? Are we making a social statement, to start a movement and social change? Or, is it just a beautiful image captured at an opportune time.
    The decay continues long after the pictures are taken. This does not mean that the object is frozen in time. Detroit will one day transform itself into something more beautiful and the smokeless smoke stacks will one day just disappear.

  37. By JRosa:

    The City from Afar: Urbanization and the Aerial View in Alvin Coburn’s The Octopus

    By: Thomas Stubblefield

    While reading this article I found it interesting how a simple photograph and spark so many conversations such as where the photograph was taken, how it was taken and even what the photograph is displaying. What once was an impossible task to take aerial shots of a given area is now so easy with the technology that we have today. Technology has come a long way. We all witnessed it when Joel Cordero the drone specialist showed us his DJI Inspire drone and showed us how easy it is to get an aerial photograph or even a video of an area.

    Urban Decay Photography and Film: Fetishism and the Apocalyptic Imagination

    By: Sarah Arnold

    I enjoyed reading and looking at all the photographs in this article. The photographs showed abounded places with photoshopped images of what once occurred in these areas. This made me think of the mills in Fall River that were abandoned for the longest time but was once full of workers. These mills for the longest time were left alone and were decaying. The mills that once were full of interaction and movement were left alone until now when they decided to transform these old abounded mills into apartments. They didn’t decide to leave these mills to decay or even demolish them but they decided to keep them and make a new purpose for them. They kept the mills because it is part of the city’s history.

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