Author Archives: chanhoiting

Blog #2 Due North (Hoiting)

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,

The walking experiences I usually have is traveling from Staten Island to Manhattan. In the article “Due North” by Garnette Cadogan. The writer has mentioned that “To walk the street from one to the other, as I often do, is to bear witness to a landscape of asymmetry”, which reminds me of what I have experienced between the two boroughs Staten Island and Manhattan. In the neighborhood that I’m living in Staten Island is very quiet and safe, the major people I will meet will be the people who walk dogs, but I still barely see them.

The writer mentions how he likes to walk a lot and he could have interaction with other people. I also like to walk a lot, especially in the summertime. I discovered that not only walking can interact with people but also on transportation. I always take a ferry and transfer subway to Manhattan or Brooklyn. Some people will think that taking the 30 mins ferry is wasting time, and I used to think the same. However, since I get used to the commute, I started to enjoy the time I have on the ferry. I enjoy to see the water around, I start to notice the people around me. I talked to strangers that were sitting next to me, I observe and absorb, and I understand like what the writer does while he is walking. I remember once an elder started to talk to me when I was waiting for the ferry to go home. We shared our experiences with each other. He told me about his stories and New York City. Our conversation ended in 30 mins, but I learned more about New York City and some other things that I didn’t know before.

Most of the people are so quiet and calm on the ferry, tourists will sit down and enjoy the ferry ride or stand in front of a window and wait for seeing the Statue of Liberty. Everyone is enjoying the time on the ferry. But when people see the dock of the White Hall Ferry terminal, they will get ready and stand on the front of the ferry, and then everyone starts to get off and rush to work or to school at the morning and rush to home after work. Manhattan is busy, crowded and noisy compared to Staten Island. However, no matter how different the two places are, on the ferry everyone is the same, the power of serendipity does expose our commonalities.

Blog 1 – Right to the city – Hoiting Chan

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?

People definitely have a right to the city that they are living in. A place where people grow up in, or have been living there for a long time, it calls home. People care about how their home looks like, what should be there, and who will be there. In the films “My Brooklyn”, talks about many people and local businesses owners are forced to move out their places because of the government and urban planners need to redevelop that area for luxury apartments and stores. Longtime residents and businesses have put so much time and effort in their community and their businesses. Even though the small businesses might not be big but they are so meaningful to those owners because they are the support for their businesses and their families. I can understand the new development for the area is good in long term, but I disagree with the way that the governments, urban planners and other decision-makers deal with the people who are original live in the area and those business owners. It is so unjustifiable that they are told to move out to their home without any help from the government for suddenly losing the profits of their business or even metal effects.
In another film “Citizen Jane: The Battle for the City”, talks about a similar issue which is how different programs and plans that created by the government and urban planners affect a community and people who live there, such as people from doing different activities on the street to change to stay home and only can look down the street from the window. Robert Moses thinks that his project will make people’s living easier and create a better community, but in fact, people are not happy with the area where they at. There is a saying I remember from the film, “Project built for them because they are poor”, which brought me feeling and upsets me. The governments and those urban planners should first think about what people really want in the community. I know that it is hard to satisfy both the government and the people who live in the community, but it will be better, like what Jane Jacobs does, if the government and the urban planners can first observe and listen to the community before they want to do any changes.