Author Archives: Anne Leonard

Blogging for next week, and looking ahead to our first site visit on 2/14

Today we recorded our observations of the classroom and library, learned about blind contour drawing and one-point perspective, and sketched interior spaces in the City Tech library. We also reviewed the site report template. Become very familiar with it in advance of our first site visit, next Thursday, February 14. We will depart from our usual classroom promptly at 2:30 so please be on time. Bring your phone (charged and ready to take photos), a sketchbook or notebook and pens/pencils to document, take notes, and sketch.

For next Thursday, February 14, please read the essay Due North by Garnette Cadogan and post a 100-word reflection. Cadogan writes of his observations walking between two boroughs and his serendipitous encounters with others as a New York City pedestrian. The next time you walk from one place to another, even if it is simply between transit and your home consider these questions: What city walking experiences do you have in common with the writer? What in your experience is different from what he wrote about? What do you think of the power of serendipity to “expose our commonalities,” as he puts it?

Today’s discussion, and preparing for Thursday 2/7

Today we viewed the film The Human Scale and continued the discussion generated by these prompts:

  • Why are cities so critical at this moment across the world?
  • What are some the most important questions about how cities are designed?
  • What does human scale mean for cities?
  • How can we accommodate the many new residents moving into cities to look for jobs and opportunity without disrupting the existing residents?

On Thursday, come to class prepared to sketch, with a notebook or sketchbook and pencils and/or pens. We will be indoors. We will review the site report template and wrap up our conversation on the discussion prompts from the films. In the discussion and in blog posts, several people pointed out that the public’s ability to influence urban development is limited, even as the city constantly changes and grows. In class we briefly touched on the newly released draft of a rezoning proposal for the Gowanus neighborhood of Brooklyn. The first public hearing is tomorrow, Wednesday, February 6.

Looking ahead to next week, the college is closed for Lincoln’s Birthday on Tuesday, February 12. Our first site visit will take place on Thursday, February 14. We will meet in our classroom promptly at 2:30 and walk to the site together. More details on Thursday.

Blogging assignment for next Tuesday, February 5

Today we discussed My Brooklyn and viewed the film Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, considering the questions How did Jane Jacobs see the city differently than the trained architects and planners? and How would you assess Robert Moses’s projects? All good or all bad or a bit of both? On Tuesday, we will continue our discussion and view the film The Human Scale.
We reviewed how to blog on the OpenLab. For our next meeting, on Tuesday, February 5, please write one 100-word (minimum) blog post in response to this prompt:

Do people have a right to the city? Do longtime residents and businesses have a right to remain where they are?  If so, how should local governments, urban planners, and other decision-makers ensure these rights are maintained?*

Remember, blog posts are due by the start of class for which they are assigned.

*adapted from My Brooklyn Study Guide, 2015

Class on Thursday, January 31

Welcome to Learning Places! We introduced ourselves, discussed the course schedule, assignments, and expectations, and watched the documentary film My Brooklyn in class on Tuesday. On Thursday, we’ll discuss My Brooklyn and view the film Citizen Jane: Battle for the City.
For Thursday, please review the class schedule and syllabus carefully. Be sure you have joined the OpenLab course site!

Welcome to Learning Places!

Learning Places is an interdisciplinary course co-taught by Prof. Anne Leonard in the Library and Prof. Jason Montgomery in the department of Architectural Technology. Using methodologies from both professors’ disciplines, we conduct field research and archival research to study one site together in depth. This semester, our case study site is Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and adjacent developments known as Atlantic Yards, Pacific Park, and the Atlantic Center. The site is a short distance from campus, about one mile south on Flatbush Avenue.

We meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30-4:35 in L543 in the City Tech library. Please review the syllabus and weekly schedule before our next meeting.

There are no required textbooks in this course. Assigned readings will be posted here on the OpenLab site or distributed in class, and recommended books are on reserve in the City Tech library. You will need a notebook or sketchbook and soft pencils for sketching during our field research visits. We will use cameras to document our research trips. A smartphone camera is fine; it is also possible to borrow a camera from the instructors.