Professors Montgomery and Leonard

Author: Sergio Zapata

Gowanus Canal Articles Reflection

How could New York do things differently, what does “clean” even mean in 2020, and what right do New Yorkers have to a clean and safe place to live?

Reading the 3 assigned sources I tend to come to the same conclusion as Joseph Alexiou’s article. As he says, “Historically, the landowning industrialists and developers had a hand in the decision making throughout the process.“ The historical display he exposes through out the article indicated no clear progress over the years. Politicians and Developers are more interest in profit and budget cutbacks fo necessary plans engineers have created to allow progress. The very few progress that has been made in hindsight has really been when there is more interest from the people to creat a change. This mostly comes from locals of the area. There for New Yorkers should make allies with developers and push for a more beneficial zoning regulation of the area. They have the monetary power and the locals are the once that will be exposed to these changes.

The zoning change will creat a change in infrastructure and overall environment of Gowanus. According to the Department of City Planing the zoning proposal has been submitted. They say the next step is to have community input on the scope of work, and then an environmental review. It seems like at this point we are in a limbo period between the last community framework meeting last year in April and an environmental analysis to come? In reality the articles leave me with more questions than any concrete conclusion of what can be done to make this a better environment. There is no clear timeline of the next step to take. This just leaves the community to continue to push agencies and elected officials to move things forward. (197-a Plan, hmm?)

Maybe something will be done after sea level rise expose the rotten history of neglect from previous generations and things will start to move at a faster more urgent pace. The reality is that developers will continue to push for there economic gain and the community needs to step up to see this area get better. This needs to happen simultaneously because by the way things are going the canal will never be cleaned before development comes. Lastly, cleaning the canal seams imposible to clean 100 percent of the way given the CSO won’t be able to be contained unless massive container tanks are created to hold it all back. Unsustainable, according to Alexiou.

Film Reflection Assignment 2

When I think about these movies and the lecture presentation, the first thing that comes to mind regarding a discussion of public space and its role in the cities is that people (the public) should always be taken in consideration when it comes to shared public spaces. In every single one of these films and lecture we were able to see the consequence of missed use space and the effects of putting monetary value and agendas of powerful people as a priority and forgetting the every day people that live in neighborhoods. In “My Brooklyn” developers did not take in account the history and culture of the people living and working in the neighborhood they had planned to build in. This created gentrification and displacement for African American and Caribbean communities. In case of “Citizen Jane” Robert Moises in his attempt to transform and better the city (to his opinion), he was sacrificing the livelihood of many communities. He created a worst-case scenario by removing tenements in place for projects that later on brought crime and more poverty to communities. In “Human Scale” we start to see a repetitive eco of what Robert Moises had attempted to do with the NYC in the 50s but now in other cities in the world, like cities in China. The repetitive buildings that wouldn’t bring a dynamic safe space, excluding people from one another, depriving them from interactions and creating isolation. In terms of the lecture presentation we see a remanence of how architecture can influence human behavior for the better, how it has been reclaimed by the communities and, as it was displayed, how it has negatively influenced communities in the past through segregation.
The notion that appeals the most to me is the idea of bringing communities together to have a say on new developments just like Jane Jacobs did in her time. New York City over the years has made many positive improvements to public space, from waterfront parks being created, bike lanes being implemented and squares becoming more exclusive to pedestrians and the public thanks to communities coming together and becoming part of the discussion of public space.

Reflection 1

How would you rate your level of experience doing research in college?

My level of experience doing research in college in a scale from 1 to 10 would be an 8. I have been in school for a while and have had the opportunity to work in varies types of research. Research in architecture, buildings, and structures all the way to historical references and public figures. I also believe I have much more to learn and acquire better and faster ways to do research.

What is your expectation for this class supporting your classes in your major?

The expectation I have for this class for supporting other classes in my major would be to obtain better knowledge of NYC, learning more about its architecture and becoming more knowledgeable regarding research and sketching. This will complement my major, Architecture Tech.