Archive for March 25th, 2012

March 25, 2012

Dyson Foundation & Fallkill Creek

The most recent edition of the Northern Dutchess County News includes an article about the elevator that will be installed in Poughkeepsie, connecting the Walkway Over the Hudson to a waterfront park that the Dyson Foundation has proposed to build. The article focuses on the foundation’s purchase of the land and their  intentions to spend $1 million to “preserve and improve the historic waterfront property that is considered to be significant to the future development of the city’s northern waterfront”. During our trip to Poughkeepsie, Matthew and Ryan mentioned that included in Dyson’s purchase were the historic Hoffman House and Reynolds House, and that they hoped the organization would allow Clearwater to use the buildings for office space.  Other than that, I don’t recall any mention of the relationship between Dyson and Clearwater, and whether there was much communication regarding each organization’s plans for this creek-side space. The Dyson plans don’t seem as if they would interfere with the goals of the Creek project, so I wonder if the two organizations are willing to work together in some ways. However, some issues may arise regarding the action Clearwater is permitted to take, as the project is being funded by the Poughkeepsie government, whereas Dyson is a private organization. Hypothetically, how would this federal versus private funding prevent Dyson and Clearwater from, or help them work together?

March 25, 2012

Why a Bard Farm? -Jean

As we get closer to achieving our goal of getting a Bard farm, I think a question we need to ask ourselves is: Why? Why is a Bard farm the best way of reaching our objectives? Asking ourselves why is going to help us gain more support, both from the Bard community as well as the communities around us. The project has a lot of ambitious objectives, and I understand that we needed to be ambitious to get support. The recent success of the Farm fest demonstrates that people want to get involved. We have support, but now it important to show supporters solid groundwork beyond ideals. Narrowing down the objectives of the Bard Farm project will give the project more direction, and a mission statement might even add to the clarity of the project. The project has potential, but it is a big leap from raising money to the actual creation of a farm, and the Bard Farm project is only barely over the first hump. In a nutshell, I think it is important for us to ask ourselves what the main goal of this project is, and build off of that. 

March 25, 2012

Women and Public Transportation – Sorrel

In keeping with the theme of urban planning for women and relating to the readings we did for Gender and Space, I found two articles online about how women are far more likely to use public transportation than men.  The first article has a chart showing the likeliness of people of different demographics to use public transportation. In every case, women are more likely than men. The second article goes a bit more in depth about why that might be– women have to perform multiple stops on their ways to and from work, to drop children off or pick them up, or to shop for household necessities.

Despite apparent higher use from women, however, I also found an article called “Is Public Transportation Scary for Women?” with an interview with woman named Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, who is the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Urban Planning Professor at the UCLA School of Public Affairs. She discussed the reasons why many women are afraid to travel with public transportation– not necessarily, as one might expect, for fear or harassment on a bus or train, but rather the space and time outside of the enclosed transportation space is frightening. Not the bus ride, but the wait standing in a dark, sparsely populated street is scary, for example. Parking a car and then walking across a poorly lit parking long to get to the train platform is also an undesirable experience, she reported. She also reported than while women had certainly no objections to security cameras at bus stops (etc), they “felt that if anything happened to them the camera would only help after the event, not during.”

Perhaps an interesting point to note is that along with my intended google search results, a lot of article and video how-to’s popped up for men how to pick up a woman on public transportation. While I don’t think these harmless loser-techniques would count as dangerous harassment, I think it’s important to note exactly what these articles note: women are often alone on public transportation, they are best and most easily approached while waiting for a bus or train, etc. This ties in with what Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris said in the interview about designing waiting areas to be better lit and not so void. Another part of the solution to women’s harassment in public transport could be the institution of women-only trains in Japan.