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Heaven Is a Place on Earth

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

“what about the possibility that the network might replace the building as dwelling place—that virtual space will replace real space?” “San Junipero” is the fourth episode of Black Mirror’s most recent season, depicting two young women, Yorkie and Kelly, finding one another and falling in love while both visiting the town of San Junipero. The pair initially meet in a …

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Cities for Dinosaurs

In A Sense of Place, 10. Placemaking by Sara

 “It is only in the last few decades that we have planned our cities from above, rather than the eye level perspective of walking man.” Jan Gehl was a modernist architect when he met his wife, a psychologist who challenged him and questioned why architects didn’t care about people in their designs. That idea stuck with him, prompting him to …

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Flushing: Quest for Culinary Authenticity

In A Sense of Place, 9. Placelessness by Sara

We’d been told that taking the train to Flushing was not that dissimilar from boarding a plane and flying across the world. We’d also heard that the best Chinese food in the city was hidden there, somewhere. Hoping to diversify the pretty routine Sunday experience we always seemed to have, we embraced plans for a radically different weekend adventure. When …

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Rejection of the Flat Roof

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

With the emergence of modern architecture came a certain affinity for boxlike, geometric structures that embrace primary forms and stark simplicity. These buildings were new, innovative, and often austerely beautiful, and their design reflected many of the ideals of the industrial age. They were often modeled for mass housing, constructed in a period of rapid urbanization and a need for …

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Right to Happiness

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

Smart growth is the almost universally agreed upon solution to the ailments of the sprawl that dominated our country’s development throughout the twentieth century. Though many of the technicalities of smart growth and the design of an ideal city are disputed amongst industry professionals, the consensus is that strong public transportation systems are key to the future of our civilization. …

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Healing Machine

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

If machines for healing were what hospitals were supposed to look like, Woodhull would be ideal.  Paul Goldberger Woodhull Hospital is a massive, brutalist structure on the skyline of (barely) South Williamsburg, just a few blocks from my apartment. Its silhouette is strict and unflinching.  Industrial and harsh, you’d imagine a manufacturing company, a factory, or anything devoid of human …

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Rebuilding Living Cities

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

“The Greek philosophy of the good life was built right into the heart of Athens. Surrounded by temples, monuments, law courts, and government meeting chambers, the agora was a truly public place where commercial goods and ideas were traded freely.” Robert Laddish in Happy City Jane Jacobs’ perspective on city design and urban planning is refreshing because it is truly …

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DeSalvio Playground

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

DeSalvio Playground is a New York City park and play area on the Southeast corner of Mulberry St and Spring St. Mainly a playground, for a long time I found it curious that it was always so heavily packed. The area is mostly concrete, with a plastic play structure in the center and painted lines on the pavement for games. …

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Doorway to Nowhere

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

RadioLab’s episode “Lost & Found,” details Sharon Roseman, a woman who suffers from a disorder that would rotate her perception of the world under certain circumstances. The first time this happened, she was a blindfolded five-year-old spinning in circles, and when she removed the blindfold the world around her had rotated in space. She didn’t recognize her own backyard or …

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The Lives of Buildings

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

“A building has at least two lives – the one imagined by its maker and the life it lives afterward – and they are never the same.”  –Rem Koolhaus The 8 House is a 61,000 square meter mixed-used building with 146 residential units and 10,000 square meters of commercial units. The project is the largest private development ever achieved in …