Professors Montgomery and Leonard

Author: Xhulja Ponari

Gowanus Canal Article Reflection

We are living in unusual times, and in my opinion, this is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on the environment we are living in. I am relating the articles and the research site with the time we are living in because in the first article “The Gowanus Canal Will Never Be Clean.” Joseph Alexiou is mentioned that runoff has been known to contain numerous pathogens, including e. Coli, gonococcus, typhoid, and cholera, all exposed to the open air. This should be our main concern related to Gowanus. On the other hand, the situation of the Canal has been the same for years, since the 19th century to the video that was attached to the first article (2010). In the video, we can see clearly how grand and disgusting the problem is.

It is sad that the landowning industrialists and developers see dollar signs and up-zoning laws when it comes to areas such as Gowanus, instead of human lives and the right to live in a clean and safe place. Clean and safe is definitely not constructed buildings in a flood zone that’s also the site of major toxic waste deposits. It is time we stop those 250-350 million gallons of untreated raw sewage that are poured annually and people who have a hand in the decision-making process.

Reflection #2- Film Series and Special Lecture

The film series and the special lecture that we attended had the same main focus: the people. The effects that people have on public decisions/issues sometimes are loud and bold because of the human instinct to protect that is theirs.

I really enjoyed the film series, and I related them mostly with my major that I am currently studying: Architecture. The relationship between public space and the human figure has been developing in a disproportional way. While the population growth rate increases, public space is being used to build more and more, and to profit to investors or developers. Our society is becoming less civil and this is affecting people to ignore different social issues, be quiet and even lose faith sometimes.

On the other hand, there are heroes just like Jane Jacobs and people from the African-American community that choose to speak up and do not let anybody decide about their present or their future. I find their acts very encouraging and insightful.

The public space in New York has been treated in some cases as a very important part of the urban planning and design, but there are a lot of other cases too, where public space is nonexistent. We should be a really sensitive generation towards public space and protect it for a better common future.

Reflection 1

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

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

Doing research has been a good experience so far for me. Even though the research that I did was related with English Language and social issues topic (that are not my main interests), I enjoyed reading articles or visiting newspapers’ websites to find the information that made me reflect and sensitive to the particular topics.

At first I heard about this class from other Architecture students and then I was interested to be part of this class. Being that I am still relatively a new resident of New York City and an architecture student, I am really expecting that this class helps me with knowing/learning about new places in NY.  I also enjoy hand free sketching so I hope that will be part of our site visits.