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Comments on Weeks 5&6 Readings-2017


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  1. Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago

    I’ve heard of Theaster Gates and his rebuild projects of abandon house in Dorchester, Chicago. I love how Gates is repurposing abounded house with recycling materials. He used wooden floorboard from an out of business Wrigley chewing gum factory, closed down bowling alley, and places that were distinct local history of the city. He would also use books as materials. I believe Gates project help solve decay abound house in Dorchester, Chicago then the Heidelberg Project. I don’t think that project solved the abandon house problem in Detroit, Michigan because some of the projects Tyree Guyton did looked like over time it could be problematic because of the stuffed animals he had hanging outside the houses. It can cause mold or safety hazards.

    The Craft of Research

    I found the Craft of Research very helpful if I have to write a research paper. There were some information and tips I already know but a lot I did know. I didn’t know it was ok to disagree with a source and that is one of the common thing researcher have problem with. I always knew when searching for data I always have to look for reliable sources that would test my hypothesis. I knew that because Back in my home city in middle school every student was assign to do a science homework. When It was that time of the year I didn’t like doing a science project because we had to write a research paper. Writing a research paper was the most difficult assignment to do. Reading the Craft of Research made me realize curtain step I was missing. Such as making a good argument on reasoning that would support my claim, reason and evidence using step by step storyboard, and hoping my research paper makes sense.

  2. Craft of Research

    I think a big difference in the way students work from high school to college has to do with critical thinking. In high school, we regurgitate information without really researching or questioning it. Now, as adults we are expected to be critical of our information. At this point in time information is so readily available all the time, and not all of it is correct. We learn to screen through this information every day, but sometimes we forget to do it when the information is presented as scholarly. Most people know by now that facebook articles are not credible sources, but what about peer reviewed articles or books in the library? Unfortunately, even these sources can be wrong or criticized. I think this is mainly because of how quickly information changes and also how different perspectives on a topic can change. What is important to remember is that opinions are never facts. We should base our opinions in fact, and back our reasoning with facts but that still will never make them 100% true.

  3. Wayne Booth, Gregory Colomb, and Joseph Williams, The Craft of Research

    The “making good arguments” section of the manual talks about how readers will question any part of your argument, so researchers have to acknowledge and respond to alternatives. Additionally, researchers have to imagine readers’ questions, alternatives, and objections. I think this idea of imagining readers’ thoughts and responses to a researchers’ work is important for the project involving the vacant lot. When designing what the lot will become, it is important to keep in mind how the community would react and respond. This can be done by taking into account the surrounding structures and buildings. For example, maybe locals don’t like seeing whales referenced everywhere or maybe they do. Perhaps, the community wouldn’t like a space that feels closed off, so maybe fencing the area in would not be the best choice. Every time there is an idea for the lot it should be countered with reasons for why it would not work or why the community may not like it, so the idea is developed enough to work with little to no negatives.

    Kathleen Reinhardt, “Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago” in Special issue of the Journal of Urban History. Pamela Karimi (ed)

    I had never heard of Theaster Gates or about his work before reading this article. However, after reading the article, I can say that I admire the work Theaster Gates is doing. I looked up Theaster Gates videos and one of the videos I found was a TED Talk of Gates explaining his work. At the end of the video he explains how others can apply what he does to their own homes/communities, but I found the whole video interesting.

    TED video:

    Two other videos I found useful:

    I like how Gates takes into consideration the needs of the community while incorporating history into the projects. The article also mentions the idea of “urban acupuncture”, which is a term referring to small interventions that revive cities. This idea of “urban acupuncture” relates to the class project involving the lot because we are taking one small section of the city and using it to help the community. From reading about Gates’s work, I think it will be important to keep in mind the needs of New Bedford when designing ideas for the lot.

  4. For this week readings I chose Reinhardt paper about Theaster Gates and the Dorchester Projects in Chicago. In brief I learned about what started as a search for a studio space became a community revival project. Gates first house, known as the Dorchester Project home is located near the university and has become a hub for collaboration and discussion. The home was made by Gates from repurposed wood, taken from abandoned homes in the area. Chicago has experienced economic decline in the postindustrial era and the original city plan, which was formed during a time of racial conflict, has now created a clean separation between the middle/underclass sections of the city to the upper class. Gates goal, which has been active since 2011, is to allow artistic expression into the rebuilding of the architecture within low-income areas. Partnering with other groups such as the Rebuild Foundation, the Dorchester Project has been able to rejuvenate 28 buildings and become, “…a model for artist-led change in under sourced areas.” What I found important was that Gates has not lost focus on his want to keep the culture/people of these neighborhoods present and intact; to avoid gentrification something that can occur when artists try to ‘upscale’ or ‘revive’ an area.
    The second reading; The Craft of Research by Booth, I skimmed through and in short I learned that to effectively display ideas in the form of a project is to know your audience. Not only does knowing the group in which your ideas will effect and ultimately be accepted or denied by important, for those reasons. The need to have a proper debate with this group while supporting your ideas with evidence/reason. It is always important to acknowledge your audience and allow for discussion but do not forget to affirm your position and be prepared to be questioned.

  5. Theaster Gate’s Dorchester Projects

    The Theaster Gates idea was to remake buildings with materials of other buildings to create a new sense of community. I love how the project uses the history of the area and incorporates generations of locals into one building. I also find it interesting how he has the old outdated archives from the library and offer them to the public instead of allowing them to be destroyed, abandoned, or thrown into a landfill. I appreciate his vision and like that he also incorporates different appealing aspects into the build such as a library, archive, artist studio space and food to really give the place a sense of “home” in a shattered community. It is small steps like this that will help all economically damaged cities and towns start to heal and grow again. It also provides an outlet for creative youth to make there own projects that they might not be able to at home (small apartment or can’t have loud noise etc.)

  6. The Craft of Research, as I skimmed it, was a great reminder to me about how to write a research paper. It’s been quite some time, so I think this will be a valuable resource in moving forward. I particularly liked some of the advice about collecting more data than you will need as supporting evidence- if you don’t have too much- you don’t have enough! I also liked the tips about disagreeing woth a source. This is a new notion to me, and I look forward to seeing, and possibly using it in the future.

    i read about the Dorchester Projects in Chicago- and found them fascinating! I had no idea this sort of revitalization was talking place by inhabitants of the city. And they’re artists that are making the difference. I am so inspired by this- I can’t even begin to explain my desire to be part of this movement.
    I loved the TED talk, which I found before reading this article. the fact that he is a potter, and was able to translate those skills into such a positive project. I loved how he claims he is not a “community do-gooder” but a “good neighbor.’ We should all strive to be good neighbors.

  7. Reinhardt’s article discusses Theaster Gates’ Dorchester projects in Chicago. Not only does the Dorchester houses help those in the neighborhood, I like how he uses his art work to show the racial history of the US and then uses the money from these sculptures to fund the restorations of the buildings. I have not previously heard of Gates work but his use of old materials and reusing is very interesting. But also connects the industrial history of Detroit but using the materials from old factories. With the creation of the Rebuild foundation he was able to renovate the two Dorchester houses and purchase the Stony Island State Savings Bank and convert it to the Arts banks. While all these renovations are improvements the neighborhoods there could be a down side to the gentrification. There is a benefit to this but there could lead to redlining in these neighborhoods. I found that the using sources section from a craft of research to be most relatable to me in my writing style. When writing I tend to lend heavily on the sources. Even though I am usually an unbiased in my writing that requires it, my sources could be interrupted as my bias and not those of the writer of that source. Along with if the source is bias, depending on the type of writing it shouldn’t be used.

  8. The Craft of Research

    A lot of the points brought up in these readings are important to remember when thinking about our project. The first one I browsed mentioned that you should “have a tentative but clear understanding of your question and why it might matter to your readers.” In terms of our project the readers are our audience and they too must address the the importance and the purpose and why it is it should matter to them. Like in the last chapter the three uses for sources are in the problem, argument and evidence, these should be thoroughly researched so that way there is meaning and depth to our actions and decisions.

    Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago

    An important component to Gate’s Dorchester Projects is the way he interplays history with sustainable ideas. By using salvaged materials with a history he creates an aesthetic for the sophisticated urban living today. This is great idea and beneficial in many ways. I love how he is creating these “hub” or gathering sites for people to come together and celebrate their similarities and differences. It is a great way to bring a community together and is something more deteriorating cities should be considering. Through the use of imagination, beauty and art (and no money) they were able to revive a city.

  9. It seems to me as though artist Theaster Gates had the perfect idea in his quest for some new studio space. Rather than renting studio space in some hip new office building or building a brand new custom art studio, he decided to buy an old abandoned house in the Dorchester neighborhood of Chicago. Not only did he renovate this space but he renovated it with reclaimed materials, materials that had a story to them such as word flooring from an old chewing gum factory in Chicago. Using pieces of local history adds character, rather than taking it away. Not only that but he started a movement around this house. His hosting dinners in addition to renovating other houses in the neighborhood helps not only to make a difference in the short term, but in the long term as well. These dinners stimulate interest, and without other people helping eventually Gates would just burn out, stop working on the Dorchester project, and let the houses fall back to their previous state. We need to be careful in New Bedford of the same. If a solution requires long term maintenance and upkeep, there must be someone to help with that, whether it’s the neighborhood or the city, and without it the project will be for nothing.

    The Craft of Research articles should help with writing about the project and relating it to the history of New Bedford and will be an invaluable resource in the coming weeks.

  10. Wayne Booth, Gregory Colomb, and Joseph Williams The Craft of Research

    I skimmed through all of the short readings and it reminded me of another book I’ve read for an ENL course here at campus. It refreshed my mind on how to approach certain circumstances and any road blocks I may come to when research for a paper. I took notes on specific parts of the readings that seemed like they could be useful for the research I’ll be doing for our class project. Most of the notes consisted of templates and examples I could possibly use. I look forward to implementing these into my research.

    Immigrant Island Cities in Industrial Detroit by Saima Akhtar

    Akhtar argues that immigrant groups drew into dense immigrant-oriented neighborhoods, where each community had their own means of propagating identity through national and religious forms, constructing and reusing buildings through a range of architectural references, and reinventing local and traditional building forms” (175). He shapes the paper by three discrete moments in the immigrant planning of Detroit, as he puts it (176). Akhar also explains that the decline of the city was never rooted in the current moment but the moments of neoliberal planning in crisis have a particular history in Detroit from the early- to mid-twentieth century (176). I think the fact that the two islands that lie side by side, imbedded in the northeast section of the city of Detroit: Hamtramck and Highland Park were cities created to be solely factory towns, that populated more than 85 percent of the city’s population is absurd. When Ford moved their business elsewhere, this left a redundant amount of industrial spaces in and around Detroit. This affected not only immigrants but also everyone who helped keep these industries thrive. After reading tirelessly through the entire article, I came to the conclusion that Detroit and her people (especially all immigrants) were mistreated. The conclusion, Making Detroit “Global” was interesting but I’m not to fond of the project including “Welcome Mat” for newly arriving immigrants. I think this was long overdue but can possibly be something positive for the Detroit community. I believe Detroit has many obstacles to overcome to become the city it promises or shows it will be.

  11. Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago

    It is incredible to see something brought back to life. To see once run down houses or empty lots of land turned into lively places, is like seeing a burned down forest turn green again. This I would have to say is sustainable living, bringing houses back to life and making them useful and actually using them. That is a way a community could be rebuilt. It would be interesting to see if he manages to do entire neighborhoods at a time instead of single houses. Either case, it seems it has already made a difference, and that it will continue to grow and succeed.

    Disagreeing with sources

    This is a useful tool, to correctly make a statement on how to make an appealing disagreement with your sources. It is weird to see it simplified down to basic science. Essentially just giving outline on how to disagree, it makes it vague.

  12. The Craft of Research

    I skimmed over the readings of the craft of research section and found the respective documents interesting. They covered mostly how to write research papers and how to format them to attract readers and keep them interested into reading more. I enjoyed the reading on ” How to make arguments” since it covered how to respond to any claims made. Overall, I think this section will really be useful for our project since it provides instructions on how to efficiently format all the specific parts of a project starting from introduction to the end. It will most likely be used a lot by our group as reference while completing the project for the lot.

    Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago

    Just like Melinda, I did not know that such projects were taking place in Chicago, but I absolutely loved reading about it. I found it interesting that these projects were sustainable since they used recycled items. Also the fact these Theaster Gates tried to make an impact in communities that needed help made me remember of the first couple pages of the ” Public Interest Design” since those projects directly met the social and psychological needs of the area. I really appreciated reading about the projects and am glad that he chose to follow his passion. Hopefully, more people could follow his footsteps.

  13. The Craft of Research:

    These articles bring up many points in how research should be approached, as well as modified, in a way that makes it most clear for the reader. My understanding is that introductions and conclusions are the most vital parts of research papers; an introduction alone can either pull the reader in, or completely turn them away, uninterested; the conclusions simply reflect on the most important topics, but regardless of how simple one might think an introduction or conclusion may be, they can be the difference between a successful or not-so-successful research paper.

    Theaster Gate’s Dorchester Projects:

    One thing I’ve always loved about Theaster Gates is his use/reuse of materials which often reflect local history. An article I read recently that discusses the issue with current Urban Design is that those who are designing the cities are often not connected in any way with the local communities, creating a sort of “disconnect” between the environment and the community. Gates is involved with the community, and regardless of the success of his projects, I think the first step of reshaping cities, especially cities that have been abandoned/forgotten, starts with this sort of local push. The idea of revitalizing neighborhoods shouldn’t rely on budget, but the willingness of the community to come together in order to bring their neighborhoods back to life, and in many cases using recycled materials is quite a bit more cost effective, while also considering local history (when local materials are being reused).

  14. In Immigrant Island Cities in Industrial Detroit by Saima Akhtar I loved how so many different cultures have come together to keep their community thriving. They have come together to localize the economy.In 2014 the mayor of Detroit announced that “Detroit is going to be immigrant friendly and that message will go out”. I think that this message is something that needs to be shared now more than ever with the current state of our country. This country is founded on immigrants and involving them in the revutalization process can only be beneficial in making communities thrive once more.
    In Wayne Booths “the Craft of Research” he gives us many useful ideas on how to go about researching and exucuting ideas. This was helpful insight as to what goes behind the process of brining a project idea to life.

  15. Craft of Research

    After skimming the readings, it helped me refresh my memory on the key points of writing a research paper. As we get further in our projects we must consider our writing style and who is our audience. We need to make sure to get enough supporting evidence so we can support our claim to our readers. A key point in the readings was that we could never have too much supporting evidence. You want to make sure you have a good amount of supporting evidence so our readers and audience will clearly understand the question and why it should matter to them.

    Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago

    I found it very interesting how he uses salvaged materials in his ideas with also combining it with the history of the location. He can create a place that utilizes the surrounding environment and location. His project brings artists and communities together by the way he uses art in his designs and how we portray its beauty and meaning.

  16. The Craft Research

    Basically it points out that reading is the most efficient and helpful practice during research. Reading helps the audience to understand the intention of the author through tones and emotions of what they are saying. It is also important to know that within these readings, there can be a lot of bias approach from certain author to author, which then leads to arguments and evidences. Therefore, forming an endless cycle of conclusions which makes an entirely complex yet effective research.

    Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago

    It is interesting to see how this artist tries to transform raw materials around the urban neighborhoods and transforming them into public art. Especially, his ideas of stripping down dilapidated buildings and using the pieces of those components into creating a sculpture. By creating a sculpture that is made from the ruins of the building, it portrays the value of the neighborhood.

  17. Crafts of Research:

    After going threw them quickly i remembered the process of research again since its been some time since i did a research project in depth. where we get our sources is the most important this case and then how we use them to get the point across is the next on that list. and especially make sure your supplying enough info to the readers to clearly follow your work.

    Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago:

    Just like a few of us above i was amazing that a project like this was happening down there and i didn’t even know it was going on. it is a great way to us scrapes that is found and combined with history to make art of it. its a great way to spread the history and something like this should take place in new bedford because this area is rich in this kind of history that we can make art out it and give back to the city in that way .

  18. Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Projects in Chicago

    This idea is absolutely fascinating, and in practice works. The building looks fantastic. It looks new, yet old. Somewhere between past and future. However I wonder how niche this idea really is. Does it work as an isolated project? Would it work as a general concept?

    I think as its own thing, as its own piece of communal art, it works splendidly. However I do not think this idea is universally applicable, especially if we are talking large scale reworking of decrepit cities, especially if materials are being used from old buildings. At what point do new materials and building standards become more sustainable than reusing?

    Craft of Research

    Most of these readings are things that have been hammered into my head since middle school, although it was good to have a refresher. The most important reading was “planning your project,” as it just a general outline and review of basic steps. It is easy to get lost in the big picture and even the smaller minute details without combining both and making concrete steps to achieve them.

  19. Reinhardt’s article on Theaster Gates’ Dorchester Projects was interesting and eye opening. I love the idea behind Gates’ selling of aspects of his art, like marble tiles in the floors of the bank he purchased to coincide with the Dorchester Projects, because it encourages investments in public art and in the long run, the investment in positive renewal of urban spaces. The piece highlights the continuously growing importance of involving artists in these conversations and projects. I like that at the end of the reading Reinhardt compares Gates’ places to stages that we help build, shows that we help “go on”, audiences that we make up to support and help add meaning to what’s happening on that stage. It would be awesome to see someone come to New Bedford and look at the city with the same artistic hope/viewpoints. However, I do not know if there are many abandoned houses as there are just simply poor neighborhoods. One thing is for sure, to not necessarily gentrify but to add color and a true soul to the city, it would be awesome to see increased community art projects not only downtown but in the South End and less developed areas of neubeige. Maybe murals painted onto the sides of buildings or onto the streets, planting more trees and flowers among concrete jungles, etc. Could be really cool.

    As for the Craft of Research publication, I skimmed most articles but paid more specific attention to From Questions to Problems and on Planning your Project. I agree with my classmates when they mention that this book is an outstanding resource to help write a research project or complex paper. It asks questions that help you think critically and forms a structural outline to most research papers. In terms of our group paper, the evidence we have is pictures, videos and in-person experiences with our abandoned lot on South Street, and the questions we have to ask to come to the best conclusions can include “How can we best make use of this space for the city? What do residents of this particular area want to see happen with this space? What is there a true need for in this part of the city, and how can we cater to that need? Is this a space we want to make available to people from all parts of the city, or cater to the needs of those in this area?” and more. If and when we do run into problems with our project, I will definitely refer back to this text and its anecdotes for fixing those problems. I liked reading about Theaster Gates more, but understand and appreciate the Craft of Research texts all the same.

  20. Crafts of Research

    After reading some of the chapters, I found myself reinforcing ideas I had learned before through writing. One section I did find myself relating to was the chapter on evidence and reason. Sometimes in my writing I find myself confusing my logic with evidence. Though my reasoning may be true, “hard” evidence only works to strengthen my arguments.

    Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago

    I find Gates’s transformation of unused buildings into functional spaces to be an ideal model for revitalizing neighborhoods and cities. Who knows what an area needs better than someone who lives there? Locals with passion will always create something superior to outsiders. Gates’ vision and person relationship to his work is what all communities need to rebuild and become better than ever. Community spaces serve to bring locals together and the art aspect of his work breeds creativity.

  21. Crafts of Research
    I enjoyed reading the Craft of Research, because of their logical progression in expanding ways in which research when related to sources and our environment have a role in finding problems and questioning further problems for research . In introduction and conclusion setting up the introduction in a very clear distinct paths to explain our research similar to how one would start an abstract in the research but having more depth and stating claims within them, whereas the conclusion may raise another way to solve a problem or a different way to solve a problem.
    The examples were direct and makes the text accessible for all types of readers.

    Kathleen Reinhardt’s Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago
    Theaster Gates had the ability to transform homes in the artist studios and productions and dinners, and in creating these elaborate and versatile places the creation of these changes are able to attract artists and in revitalizing the neighborhood, and this introduced another level of understanding of how lack of sense of community in city neighborhoods allow progression of shrinking populations to progress without people caring and taking charge to change there ways to attract people back to the city, which is what Gates did.

  22. Cynthia Raposa
    “Immigrant Island Cities in Industrial Detroit,”
    “Theaster Gates’s Dorchester Projects in Chicago”

    At first glance these two articles appear to be very different. In many ways they are not. The article about Detroit is about the importation, assimilation, and migration of a labor force. The Chicago article is about one man’s efforts to rebuild a neighborhood, through the arts, education and intelligent marketing. The subjects in these writes, are the same as the subjects in our New Bedford project. People with common bonds, who work together to make their world a better place to live, to be a good neighbor, and to help those less fortunate than themselves.

    You don’t have to travel more than a 15-mile radius to the surrounding cities to see the remnants of industrial housing and immigrant island cities. Study the history of the area and it is a true melting pot of cultures. A common language is the first thing that draws people into an area. Working and living and socializing in a comfortable environment is innate. Habitually we humans gravitate to others like ourselves, culture, religion, food, customs, and every day interaction. I still go to the small Holy Ghost, Portuguese feasts, and love seeing the same people in the local café, every morning.

    The industrial nation provided education in language, assimilation to local ways, and helped their immigrants attain legal status, but segregated them in little island cities. As the plants moved further away, the immigrant islands were more able to adapt to the change. I’m sure Ford calculated how many cars they could sell to employees by moving the plant to a new larger location, ten and fifteen miles away was long distance, back in those days. Production would go up and the employees would be making their own automobiles. This helped further with assimilation.

    At the turn of the 20th century, the middle-class goal was to own a house, with a picket fence and have 2.5 children in the suburbs. The shrinking city in many ways helped the immigrant population to spread, and their common interests helped them to service the needs of their community. Religious buildings and common meeting places were started small, in buildings built for other purposes. As the population spread, so did the need for more buildings that better fit their religious and cultural needs.

    The words to a hymn pop into my head, “It only takes a spark to get a fire going.” It only takes one person as a catalyst for a thought or idea to take hold and change to happen to make our world a better place to live.

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