View Post

Picture This

In A Sense of Place, 12. SOP 2.0 by Nina

With the advent of the smartphone came the age of picture taking and muploads. Almost ten years ago, when I was in middle school, having access to a camera was a big deal. That chunky, seemingly complicated piece of technology was only used on special occasions, like birthday parties and family trips. Now, everywhere I go, I see people taking …

View Post

The Tag of Placemaking

In A Sense of Place, 10. Placemaking by Nina

I have worked in Long Island City (LIC) off of the 7 train Court Street station for almost a year. When I began working in that area, I observed a relative abundance of artistic graffiti; as the 7 train comes above ground you quickly notice distinct enclaves of art on the abandoned trains and the sides of buildings. Also, when …

View Post

Stuck in the Monoculture

In A Sense of Place, 9. Placelessness by Nina

Fuzzy brown blankets stretch as far as the eye can see. I dart across the highway on my bike when there is a break in the stream of cars whizzing by. The paved, one-lane road that I am following wanders up a hill and into the unknown, but I know. There is just more brown. As I get closer to …

View Post

Locals Say Ojai at the Farmer’s Market

In A Sense of Place, 8. The Vernacular Landscape by Nina

Ojai, California is a small agricultural town of just under 8,000 people, lying in a valley within the Topatopa Mountain range. One main road, Ojai Avenue, stretches through the center of town, composing a classic promenade with kitschy shops, boutique restaurants, a park, and the towering peak of the post office. Beyond Ojai Avenue, there are several more shops that …

View Post

Regretting the Suburban Dream

In A Sense of Place, 7. Sprawl and New Urbanism by Nina

From an environmental perspective, suburbs pose a significant threat to our planet; the wasteful use of space, reliance on automobiles, extreme consumerist mentalities, and an array of environmental issues ranging from habitat fragmentation to desertification are all facets of suburban life. This is not to say that most Americans are necessarily aware of their detrimental impact on the planet. Due …

View Post

432 Park Avenue

In A Sense of Place, 6. Shock of the New by Nina

432 Park Avenue rises above New York City, casting ominous shadows on the seemingly miniature buildings that surround it. It is one of the tallest skyscrapers in NYC, second only to the One World Trade Center, standing at 1,396 feet; it even tops out the Empire State building by 150 feet. In one of the most coveted real estate lots …

View Post

میدان نقش جهان is for People

In A Sense of Place, 5. Visions of Utopia by Nina

In “Downtown is for People,” Jane Jacobs discusses how contrary to utopian urban renewal projects that aim to reshape cities into virtual monocultures, downtown areas must be built to mirror and complement the character of the city’s population. How can this be done in order to counter the impending wave of monolithic urban planning? Jacobs suggests that walking throughout established …

View Post

Views of Central Park

In A Sense of Place, 4. The Social Life of Places by Nina

When my family first moved to New York City, as I was starting high school, I had trouble coming to terms with the never ending rows of uniform artificial structures that characterize the island.  I went from living in a town with a population of 8,000 people, nestled in an agricultural valley in Southern California, to what seemed like a …

View Post

Navigating through the Discord

In A Sense of Place, 3. City Form and Orientation by Nina

For this post, instead of interviewing someone about their image of the city, I chose to more actively observe a friend of mine as he navigated his way through the intricate New York subway system and one of its nodes, Grand Central Station. Kris is from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. He grew up in suburbia and stayed in state for college. He …

View Post

Neon Pink Sign

In A Sense of Place, 2. The Spirit of Place by Nina

I’m on autopilot; music blasts into my ears, and although my head is nodding to the beat, I don’t hear it. My thoughts delve into the deepest, darkest nooks of my brain, making me loose all perception of the world around me. Walking from 84th to 97th street is habitual; somehow my body has timed this walk so well that when …

View Post

Hanging at the top

In A Sense of Place, 1. The Experience of Place by Nina

I had reached the top. Heart pounding with a mix of fear, excitement, and exhaustion, I slowly stood up on the rail-thin edge, reaching up as far as I could to clip the worn blue rope into the curving metal anchors that hung from the overhanging rock shelf with an air of the majesty of age. I yelled TAKE as …