Professors Montgomery and Leonard

Author: Connie Koo

Gowanus Reflection

Joseph Alexiou provided details on the historical development and environmental issues of the Gowanus Canal. He also expressed doubt that the Gowanus will ever be cleaned. Joseph mentioned in the article “In 1999, the city finally began to repair the Flushing Tunnel just as Carroll Gardens and Park Slope were coming truly desirable to big real estate and expensive places to live. It was the “if you build it, they will come,” mentality of cleaning up toxic waste sites.” This brings me to the question of what is the definition of clean? The definition of clean is to be free from dirt or pollution and free from contamination or disease as defined by Merriam-Webster. Repairing a flushing tunnel does not solve the issue of the contamination in the water. NYC rezoning practices are mainly concerned about money making rather than the health of individuals. Everyone deserves to live in a clean and safe place. Without clean air and water people are at a higher risk of becoming sick and unwell. The idea of cleaning up the Gowanus Canal has been as ongoing issue and I can say that not much has been done. What is going to happen 50 years down the road? Will the city be repeating the same old mistakes? Will the Gowanus ever be cleaned? I believe that before the city continues with the rezoning they need to seriously clean up the canal. People living by the water will pay lots of money to live in the area, not fully understanding the big issues of the Gowanus. They cannot continue down the same path, something needs to be done now.


A public space refers to an area or place that is open and accessible to all people regardless of anything. Public spaces are an important asset to our cities, neighborhoods and communities. They provide people many opportunities to come together and engage with the community and the people around them. Different groups of people come together and create a social space for everyone in the society to be a part of.

In the films My Brooklyn, Citizen Jane, and Human Scale and the lecture presentation Healing Spaces: Marching On! Blackness and the Spatial Politics of Performance, they all discuss public space and its importance to the community as a whole. These films allowed me to realize the importance of public space and how it can impact individuals. Jane Jacobs mentioned that “people make cities” and I agree with her on this because diversity makes a city unique.

Parks and areas by the water appeal to me. Being by the water is very relaxing and calming. The East River Park in Lower Manhattan is an example of park space by the water. On a sunny day, there are hundreds of people around the area either relaxing, exercising or simply enjoying the beautiful view.

I personally feel that the public space in NYC is wonderful. For a crowded city, there is a lot to explore and enjoy. Public spaces present health benefits both mentally and physically. People tend to feel better when they are surrounded by nice spaces.

Initial Reflection

How would you rate your level of experience doing research in college?
Conducting research has always been difficult for me. I would consider myself a beginner in doing research. Doing research seems challenging because there is too much information in the database and for me it is difficult to narrow down key words.

What is your expectation for this class supporting your classes in your major?
My expectation for this class is to improve my research skills and to conduct more accurate and more effective research.