Archive for February, 2012

February 29, 2012

High Modernism

February 28, 2012

Remediation Before Reinvention by Lissy D.

When I think about the Fall Kill Creek project, I think of two separate aspects to the plan:  community building and environmental remediation.  Although the handbook tries to bring these two parts of the project together, some of the described plans seem to focus on one of those things or the other.   Both of these parts of the plan, community building and environmental remediation, should ideally be equally pursued.  However, if only one of these efforts could be pursued at a time, I personally would be in favor of environmental work before community work, and here is why.

According to the research PDF given on the Fall Kill website (, the water quality of the creek is very poor.  It is a class C body of water, meaning that fecal coliform colonies are greater than or equal to 200 per 100 mL of water.  This deems the water in the Fall Kill creek as undrinkable and un-swimmable.  The brochure also describes the various contaminants and garbage that litter the waters of the Fall Kill.  These are just some of the environmental problems that the Fall Kill creek is suffering from.  I believe that before anyone decides to locate a community center near the creek, the project should seek to remediate these environmental issues.  If the community begins to use the lands by the creek before the creek’s ecology has been restored to a healthy state, human impact could further tarnish the creek’s waters.

There are ways for community building to go hand in hand with environmental remediation.  I think one of the most valuable ways the creek can be integrated into the community while also preserving the creek’s environment is by using it as an educational resource.  The plans that involved local youth education are great in many ways.  Students are being given a resource to learn from, creek workers are being given a research resource into the environment of the creek, and community is being built by connecting the youth of the town to the creek.  With hands on research, the youth coming in contact with the creek on a regular basis will potentially feel more responsibility to its health and will clearly see the impact of the community on the creek.

Basically, I believe that community revitalization should follow environmental remediation, and workers on this project should think of how they can first improve the health of the water source and then think about how they can connect community buildings to that remediation effort, and not the other way around.


February 27, 2012

Community Input / RRRP – Steven Reiman

As a follow up to Jannette’s presentation, I would like to ask what type of input the city of Poughkeepsie will have in regard to the design of the fall kills project?  The ultimate goal of the project is to create a series of public spaces along the creek.  These spaces will connect separated neighborhoods, improve safety, – and hopefully – will also allow for new business opportunities.  It is critical that the local residents have significant input in the final design – Jannette expressed that the local population has an extremely accurate understanding of the creek’s problems.  In order to bring the local population to the creek and achieve the project’s goals – the final design of the “creek walk”  must be accepted by the local residents.  A good way to get input from the local community is to work with local volunteers.


Attached below are pictures of the “Red Ribbon River Park.”  RRRP is located in Qinhuangdao, China and features art instalations alongside of the river.

February 27, 2012

Hudson Valley Urban Runoff — Levi Shaw-Faber

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation has released its top ten water quality issues that plague the state. The top ten issues are:

·  Urban Stormwater Runoff

·  Aging/Inadequate Wastewater Treatment Infrastructure

·  Nutrient Eutrophication

·  Atmospheric Deposition and Acid Rain

·  Legacy Pollutants in Sediments and Fish

·  Atmospheric Deposition of Mercury

·  Habitat/Hydrologic Modification

·  Nuisance Aquatic Weed Growth and Invasive Species

·  Pathogen Contamination of Shellfish

·  Inadequate Onsite Wastewater Treatment

            Regarding the Fall Kill Creek Project, urban storm water runoff is something we can directly prevent by planting green spaces around the creek that will help to soak up some of the runoff and keep pollutants out. This process needs to be extended throughout the Hudson Valley because the Fall Kill Creek travels hundreds of miles through New York State. The DEC listed “the Fall Kill as a creek with known impaired aquatic life as a result of urban runoff and suspected nutrients.” Because the Fall Kill Creek does not run though many large urban areas, one might think that storm runoff would not be an issue, but towns in the Hudson Valley were erected so that they are adjacent to the creek, providing mill power and other advantages, so urban storm water runoff is a real problem. Anne Winston Spirn writes, “floodwater storage and recreation are compatible in large urban parks.” The Fall Kill Creek Project needs to be able to provide recreation for its visitors and inhabitants and soak up and store some of the urban runoff. The more runoff is stored, the cleaner the water, and the more recreational activity will occur near creek.  

February 27, 2012


Here is the link of the Hudson Clear Water Sloop( the organization that is behind the Creek project ) ! I just thought that is would be interesting and important for us to know some back round  information before we started are work  . I volunteered for this organization for awhile and it was the best time of my life ! i was able to learn all about the environment , the rich history of the Hudson and why it’s so vital to NY and how each one of us could make a difference . And then i was able to teach everything that i learned to the communities around us! the link will show you everything!!! about their education program, the environmental issues the Hudson has faced over the years,and it even has a blog !!! CHECK IT OUT !! =)

February 27, 2012

Street Art-Julia Pelaez

I know that Clair already mentioned some of are ideas to get the town involved and interested in the Creek project but i feel like they are really cool and interesting and we would love all your input and opinions . Are first idea  was the incorporation of art in the local high school – We were thinking about  street art, tagging, clothing designs  and murals would be an awesome way to have the kids connect personally to the Creek . My high school had an event like this during my senior year to raise awareness and money for are music department and it was a great success. It’s a good bonding experience for the kids and it’s great publicity for the project. We would need the approval of the principal and a bunch of other leaders in the high school which might be a problem so if you guys have any ideas on how the project could be presented that would be amazing =)! Another idea we had was the involvement of local artist around the creek , maybe they could have a day of art through the eyes of environmental preservation and awareness  and the proceeds could go towards the creek . We were also thinking of different ways we could involve the local churches!!!!Now we know that these ideas are just rough drafts but if anyone has ideas or wanst to be apart of the brain storming process that would be sweet ! =)

February 27, 2012

Gentrification -Hayley

The discussion about the Fall Kill Creek plan reminded me of gentrification and the concept of “neighborhood” is questioned. So then that led me to a documentary (Flag Wars by Linda Goode Bryant and Laura Poitras) I watched awhile ago that kick-started my mind with different ideas about what a “community” actually is, and what exactly is needed to cement the bonds that make a strong city – questions and possible answers that Poughkeepsie is going to need before it’s able to go forward with the plan.
*link below

Flag Wars

February 27, 2012

Community Building — Claire

Janette Kim made it pretty clear in her lecture last week that Poughkeepsie, NY suffers from lack of communal identity. Such problems, however, are not unique to Poughkeepsie as plenty of Bard students would tell you. Bard’s lack of community is a hot issue this semester; administrators and students alike are struggling to figure out the best way to foster community and respect among Bard’s residents after the recent influx of vandalism around campus. While there are many ideas floating around, it is clear that there is not an exact, immediate solution for this problem; nor will we find an easy fix in Poughkeepsie. 

Perhaps the best solution is community engagement with the project. Julia and I were talking after the lecture about getting local artists and high school students involved. Julia suggested a public art installation which would encourage residents to interact with it either by coming together to create some sort of mural or to engage in a more individualized type of street art. By encouraging local students to become involved in the project can foster a sense of ownership of the creek especially if they are involved in improving the space. Julia and I want to attempt to make inroads at the local public high school. We hope we can find a teacher or two who is supportive of the project and willing to become more involved with the creek. 

February 27, 2012

Water in the Landscape – Antonia

In Granite Garden we get to see how important water was in city design. Cities were purposefully designed around water. The houses of the wealthy were built uphill to receive water first. Water then was an invaluable good and seen as the main priority when designing a city. Today water is not thought of. Cities are not designed around water sheds. Poughkeepsie is a great example of how water has been mistreated and not implemented into the design of the city. I think that looking back at ancient cities and how indigenous people worked the land with water is extremely important. Many solutions can be found by looking back at history and observing the landscape. We must not only look at water, but what plants we are planting, so that they inhibit erosion, and put plants that cleanse the water as well as the soil. Water in a landscape will lead to abundance and healthy plants. We have an incredible opportunity to heal and restore this landscape. Plants will play a huge role in this process. It will be a longterm project, we probably wont see much change in the landscape until a few years from now, but slowly new species will begin to come back and more biodiversity will appear. We have to create a new culture and awareness around water one that conserves and displays water. We must also work with the concrete of the city and find a better way to deal with runoff, perhaps permeable concrete or find a better way to absorb the water and conserve it. In this design we must think about the whole city and how we can redesign each part so that all the pieces are working together. I think that by leading community events such as building a rainwater catchement system or how to construct a compost bin will engage and excite the residents to participate and feel involved in the greater project. Poughkeepsie has the potential to become a transition town, the creek will help facilitate the inspiration, discussion and action. We should definitely use Permaculture principles when looking at the landscape and the best way to redesign the creek into the city.

February 27, 2012

Fall Kills Creek Meeting and Safety: Sam M.

What I found most interesting or insightful about the Fall Kills creek meeting was when Janette responded to the question about whether or not safety was an issue. This related directly to our discussion on control and vision because Janette mentioned that the increase vision and lit paths would keep the creek areas from becoming dangerous. However, she qualified that control is the worst way to go about safety. She said that it was more successful to build a community of people who do not choose to commit crimes than a community of people who are afraid to.

I believe what she said was very accurate but only applicable in a city like Poughkeepsie. In fact, it really varies from city to city. As I did in my last post, I will now compare the idea of safety in Poughkeepsie to that in Red Hook. Red Hook is a small community of middle-class Americans who very likely all know each other. The crime that does happy, though rare, is going to happen no matter what deterrents are set up because they are generally going to be premeditated with intent to harm a specific person. In Poughkeepsie on the other hand, a community of lower-class Americans, spur of the moment robberies and uncoordinated drug deals are much more likely to go down because there is an established sense of anonymity in such a loose community.

February 26, 2012

Stirn and Fall Kill Creek- Jean

The Final Master Plan document for the Fall Kill Plan provides many interesting ideas on how to approach the problems regarding Fall Kill Creek. The project seems to be in its early stages, and the sense that I get from reading the Master Plan is that the primary aim of the project is to gain support from the community for the project. The concept of the Plan is to create a Chain Reaction, one that starts from creating a network of public spaces along the creek. In contrast, the Spirn reading focus primarily on ecological concerns with water supply.

The concept behind the Final Master Plan of the Fall Kill Creek project is to create a network of public spaces along the creek. This would involve several small- scale projects designed to draw residents to the creek. An interesting idea that is brought up in the master plan is the desire to create walkways connecting neighborhoods. These walkways will be both recreational and commuter- oriented through the city. These walkways will connect to the main walkways in the city, such that the creek will act as a “bridge” between different communities and the central areas in Poughkeepsie.

I think the creation of these walkways is extremely vital to the ultimate aim of the Fall Kill Creek Plan. From the lecture given by Janette, I get the impression that the biggest problem faced is that the residents of Poughkeepsie do not feel attached to Fall Kill Creek or to Poughkeepsie. The disconnection between residents and their environment poses a problem, and I view the Fall Kill Creek Plan as a means to repair that relationship. By creating a mutual walkway, residents from different walks of life will be given the opportunity to interact. By promoting interaction, the Creek can help residents gain a clearer understanding of what it means to live in a community larger than that of their isolated areas. This in turn will foster a stronger sense of community, and hopefully instill a desire to develop a public good together, namely The Fall Kill Creek.

In contrast to the aim of the Fall Kill Creek Plan, the reading by Stirn focuses primarily on the ecological concerns with the water supply, and the actions that should be taken to address these concerns. In the article, she mentions Boston’s “Emerald Necklace” and the measures taken to make it what it is today. She also writes that while it has been praised as a “landmark in American park planning”, “public recreation was an incidental benefit”, and that the focus of the project was primarily on improving the sanitation of the river.

The approach taken in Boston’s “Emerald Necklace” is a more direct approach to raising the status of the river. In addressing an issue regarding sanitation, the team that worked on the Boston River provided residents in the area with a necessity, one that would allow residents to appreciate its river a lot more because of the immediate benefits felt.  I think that the decision to focus on sanitation was efficient and effective. That being said, I do not think that this contradiction should discount the efforts made by the team involved in Fall Kill Creek, due to the different circumstances of the two teams. The team that is running the Fall Kill project is dealing with the most pressing problem of uniting the city. While the creek is a liability, it is not Poughkeepsie’s main source of drinking water, but it is an eyesore.  Moreover, though the project has been given a decent amount of funding, the funding given is conditional, limiting the scope and aims of the project. The sense that I get from the Fall Kill Creek Project is that the “outsiders” from NYC have their hands tied, and can only do so much to save a landmark that is not theirs. At the end of the day, the decision to improve water quality and make the creek an active public good still lies in the hands of the residents.



February 26, 2012

Inhabitants, shapers of their city- Anna

Much of the thinking and talking that has been going on in class, through the readings, discussions in class or on the blog and with Janette, have been centered around the idea of the public space as being a place of union the city or town’s inhabitants, and on the sense of belonging of the people to their town or city. While colonial cities play on the notion of power in order to create social division and hierarchy, we have seen that on the contrary in a city of democracy those things are to be avoided. While with the Panopticon and the watch towers in NYC have been proven source of authority and fear, in the Fall kill Creek project we want to create a way of making people secure but also comfortable.
One of the major points that we can take from all these discussions and ideas is the central idea, to my sense at least, of dialogue with the inhabitants of Poughkeepsie. I think that on the one hand we should be able to position ourselves as “experts” in the field of urbanism and rehabilitation of spaces, and in this case of creeks and other urban water sources, in order to be able to give realistic and responsible propositions, create an environment that will best suit our goals, while creating a sustainable solution that will thrive in the long-term(i.e. the question of flooding and pollution). But on the other hand we should, as Antonia and Marina have pointed out, create a true discussion with the inhabitants of Poughkeepsie to hear what they envision.
Here are a few of the projects that I have been thinking of ever since the blog-post “Public art and the shared experience of beauty” written by Jack and then our conversations on the politics of building over the past weeks. I think that if we can discover people’s thoughts and dreams we could create something that springs from the wishes of Poughkeepsie residents.
On the little island of Burano, each house is painted by its owner, with the color of his choice, traditionally with the paint remaining from the boat’s finish.

This idea has been furthered by the Mayor of Tirana, Albania (Europe), Edi Rama, in a collaboration with his best friend and artist Anri Sala, who, as part of a large project of re-habilitation of the city, invited the owners of the buildings to choose as a community the color of their building. This project brings people together and gets them involved directly in the construction of their city. It is incredible to see how much faith Rama and Sala have in the power of color to create hope for a better city!
On the same note, the very well acclaimed WoZoCo project in Amsterdam by the MVRDV architecture studio, found a creative solution to maximize the space they were given, by creating large balcony-spaces, and, here again create “customized” spaces, that create a sense of individuality to the different units and apartment.

Last but not least, and maybe the most appropriate of projects vis-à-vis the Fall Creek project, is the incredible project by Urban-Think Tank, who had to create economically intelligent project for the barrios of Caracas, Venezuela to respond to the community’s need for transportation and ways to access to the city and its resources, but also the problems of density, and the barrios’s lack of center.

I find it really interesting to see how the team played with the social divisions on the different scales and managed to use the topography of the environment and its complexities in a creative way, for the purpose of their goals. An incredible field-work, which, as we can see, starts with the problems and needs of the community to find creative solutions based on what the people expressed as needs.

February 26, 2012

David Harvey — RSA animation

February 26, 2012

Fall Kill Creek Project: Building Community and Local Involvement – Marina

As Janette Kim pointed out in her lecture, the people living near the Fall Kill Creek do not identify with a specific neighborhood, in fact there aren’t established neighborhoods for people to identify with. I see this as a huge problem because without have a sense of belonging or community near the creek, people are unlikely to feel a real connection with it. I realize it is difficult to all of a sudden start making neighborhoods where there never where any, but if revamping the areas around the creek to make them feel more like neighborhoods, this could work. This discussion would deal more with the governmental side of the project, but it is a discussion I think could be had. In addition to building a stronger community within the Fall Kill Creek Area, promoting local involvement would be a great way to advertise the creek and get people interested in what the creek has to offer them. Along side the workers, there should be locals volunteering who are cleaning up the creek and beautifying it.  I think this would be a perfect way to get people more excited and incorporated into this project.

The first step is having a dialogue with the residents, which we will do, and finding out if people would be interested in helping. We could have some sort of email list that people sign up with and they will get messages with updates and more info on when and how they can help. All in all communication is key, and from there we can make progress.

February 26, 2012

Another Idea for Fallkill’s Functionality – Sorrel

In browsing the Fallkill User’s guide and Plan, I was intrigued by all the maps of Poughkeepsie showing the creek in different situations and in relation to different places of interest. It is easiest for me to see ideas than only to read about them, and examining these beautiful documents made me more and more excited about the project. A lot of what Anne Spirn wrote about in “Controlling and Restoring the Waters” about the role water plays and how it should be treated is incorporated into the Fallkill plan: community revitalization, water purification, habitat restoration and recreational paths are some tall goals.

But I also wondered if the water of the creek itself could serve yet another purpose. It is hard to tell from the pictures if this would even be possible, but I thought perhaps there could be small boats or rafts on the creek, at least during certain times of year. I lived in Frankfurt am Main in Germany last year and the Main river and surrounding area is the heart of city life. There are restaurants, cafes, museums, monuments, and nature paths along each side, many bridges, and great places to walk, bike, and sunbathe. There are also boating opportunities, mostly for tour boats but also for private, recreational purposes. Of course Frankfurt is much larger and more affluent than Poughkeepsie and the Main river is much larger than the Fallkill Creek, I couldn’t help but think boat commerce could increase the creek’s importance and centrality and help vitalize the city still further. It would add another aspect of a practicality and a whimsicality to the Fallkill process. (Check out this map of the Frankfurt boat tour and scroll down to see a more pictorial version of some of the landmark maps in the Plan)

Light boat traffic would mesh well with the Phasing section of the handbook, where there is a map with three points marked out on the course of the creek labeled “Eco Tour?”, “History Tour?”, and “Food Tour?”. Having installations, or “destinations” following the path of the creek seems like a prime way to attract people to it. What if the whole creek could be a destination, though, not just in terms of walking, jogging, and biking, but in terms of actually going on the water? It would be nice to be able to learn about and see so many aspects of the city and the creek in one trip and then to ‘come ashore’ at the end to a neighborhood full of good restaurants. Alternately, small boats could also be used as busses to transport people from one part of the city to another without their cars.

Disclaimer: These ideas are obviously extremely rough, especially because I still have not seen the creek, and I don’t know if any of this would even possible or at all compatible with revitalizing the riparian habitat. What do you all think?

February 26, 2012

Fallkill Creek:Interesting ideas that can be used and example of restoration at the Bronx River! -gowri

The Fallkill project is very exciting and one that has tremendous potential. The various ideas that could be used as shown in the guide or the handbook were the most interesting to me. Certain ideas are so new to me yet, they are so sensible and evident. I was also able to observe certain ideas that were similar to the ones presented in our readings by Anne Sprin.

One of the techniques, described in the first reading by Sprin, “Controlling and Restoring waters” was the planting of native species around the water, in Boston. It seems that there is a huge contradiction between what people find beautiful and in what context. When it comes to development, people wish to control and manage nature, exterminating what is considered a “ untidy or barbaric” and replacing it with pavements, neat and organized looking structures as discussed in our reading by Vilder. However, at the same time when people are visiting a specific place like a national park or a waterfall, something that is expected to be “natural” or “wild”, they don’t want to see too much human interference but more of something that looks wild and organic.  This is exactly what Olmstead had applied in his design, as explained by Sprin. By planting native species of shrubs and trees in a random order, he had reduced erosion of soil and turned this depressed looking area into a beautiful, natural looking ecosystem, which people enjoyed being around. As we can see, this can be used at the Fallkill as well and it is in fact, one of the plans shown in the handbook on page 10 called vertical gardens, bio-technical erosion control and so on. This idea of turning a place into a beautiful ecosystem with native species and less degradation of soil, water etc is a very attractive idea to me and I hope we can apply this is in some way.

Another method that I found extremely ingenious was the porous pavements, gravel or well drained soil used by Olmstead, for permitting more rainfall to soak through. As we see, in many places flooding has become a problem but where can the water seep through if we have covered every inch of ground with concrete, which is completely impermeable?

Hence, the idea of porous pavements for parking lots or playgrounds, shown in the Fallkill handbook is exactly what will help fresh water penetrate into the ground and unite with the creek, acting as a cleansing system, since this will improve water in the creek, which is right now stagnant and polluted. I feel it is important to clean the creek and enable people to have a close connection with it through swimming, canoeing or kayaking etc. Incidentally, few days ago, I was absorbed in a conversation about both these topics with an environmental lawyer, who was involved with the restoration project of theBronxRiver. He was informing me of how the Bronx River Alliance along with other experts used the same method of planting native spices, along the river bank to reduce erosion and also conducted a massive, intense clean up of the garbage and the pollutants in the river. The community, who never even went close to the water were excited to see a huge improvement in so many different levels and apparently said it made them feel happy and joyful while walking by the river. They even had canoeing events during the summer months, encouraging young members of the community who had never had such an intimate connection with nature or the river that had existed in their community for centuries, to come out and enjoy a fun day outdoors. These techniques seem to be very successful and the achievements in theBronxRiver, has given me high hopes for what can be accomplished at the Fallkill creek.

February 24, 2012

payphone libraries

How New York Pay Phones Became Guerrilla Libraries

February 23, 2012

Developing Poughkeepsie’s Identity – Hannah

One of the fundamental questions of the Fall Kill Creek project, which Janette addressed towards the end of the discussion, is “How do Poughkeepsie residents identify with their neighborhood?” Janette stated that Poughkeepsie lacked some central, community-friendly spaces that, in a way, “define” the city, make residents feel that they belong, and make outsiders feel welcome. After reviewing the Fallkill Creek User’s Guide, it is evident that there is a wealth of possibilities for turning the space beside the creek into a friendly, open space, thus making the city seem more like a more welcoming and positive environment. Establishing pocket parks, as proposed in the guide, seems like a great way of accomplishing this. As Jean mentioned before, it is essential that thorough research is conducted regarding the placement of each park based on its intended use. It is also key to consider the distance of a park designed for specific activity, or intended to attract a certain age group, from the neighborhood in which the majority of those in the targeted group live.

I also like the idea of establishing pilot sites along the creek; the name of the space itself indicates that it will serve as a central, community-gathering area. However, I am interested in how the establishment of the Crossroads pilot site will affect the Mansion Square neighborhood. As Janette mentioned, this particular pilot site will connect to institutions including the Family Partnership Center, into which all the social services have been crowded. I’m curious as to whether the formation of the Crossroads pilot site will draw more attention to the issue of the overcrowded Family Partnership Center, and thus motivate the city to figure out an alternative so that every social service can have enough space to be as effective as possible in its work.

February 23, 2012

eyes on the street – steven reiman

Safety precautions are often the most commonly overlooked features in urban design.  In response to last night’s presentation, I would like to ask specifically what design strategies Janette’s team will be incorporating into the Fallkill Creek Project.

Janette mentioned that “public visibility” will be among the projects most important focuses.  Increasing public visibility – or natural surveillance – will limit the opportunity for crime by increasing the perception that people can be seen.  Jane Jacobs referred to this as “eyes on the street.”  Removing areas that allow people to hide and lurk is key in improving public safety.  Area lighting is critical. Any architectural design that enhances the chance for potential offenders to be seen acts as a form of natural surveillance.  Whether or not the offender can actually be seen from the public eye is less important than whether the offender thinks they can bee seen.


February 23, 2012

Urban Renewal: The Cheonggyecheon Stream – Emma Robinson

The story of Cheonggyecheon’s renewal is a great example of how streams in cities can be transformed from a liability into a cultural center. After three years and over 300 million dollars, Seoul, South Korea completely restored this ancient waterway from its past roles as a sewage dumping cite and freeway. The following video explains the revitalization process more in depth, and features some beautiful, telling photos.

As we begin looking at the Fall Kill project, I feel that the aesthetic elements of design, especially the more artistic additions such as the sculpture used to mark the beginning of Seoul’s stream, accessible walk way, and “culture center” that helped make this project so successful are important to keep in mind.