26 Matching Annotations
  1. Apr 2017
    1. In their article, “Built Environment and Depression in Low-Income African Americans and Whites” (2017), Peter James and others claim that people who live in neighborhoods with the highest walkability index had 6% higher odds of moderate or greater depression symptoms. This article is much different from the others found during my research because this deals with the mental health of an individual than it does the physical health of an individual. The article claims that urban environments are associated with a higher risk of adverse mental health outcomes, but it is unclear what specific components of the environment contribute to the mental health problems. In study conducted, data was collected in the years of 2002-2009 from 73,225 low earning, racially different people across the Southeastern United States. The relationship between a walkability index and depression was evaluated. The walkability was calculated based on the population density, street connectivity, and destination count in the 1,200-meter area around the participants’ homes, and depression was measured using the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale for depression symptomology and questionnaire responses. After the data was analyzed, it was reported that participants who lived in neighborhoods with the highest walkability index had 6% higher odds of moderate or greater depression symptoms compared to those in the lowest walkability index. Higher walkability was associated with the higher odds of depression symptoms in the most deprived neighborhoods only, and walkability was associated with lower odds of depression symptoms in the least deprived neighborhoods.

      The author does not make a claim but does state this research differs from previous research presented as it pertains to the mental health of individuals as opposed to just the physical health. The author states that the research makes the claim that there is an association between higher walkability and higher odds of depression symptoms in the most deprived neighborhoods of the Southeastern United States.

      Introductory claims and concluding thoughts that connect the the research claims to the authors main point could be implemented here.

    2. In their article, “The Role of Neighborhood Characteristics and the built environment in Understanding Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Childhood Obesity” (2016), Mona Sharfifi and others claim that neighborhood socioeconomic status and the built environment may be important drivers of childhood obesity disparities. In this study, the impact to which racial/ethical disparities in elevated child body mass are explained by neighborhood socioeconomic status(SES) and built environment is what is being examined. Researchers in this study collects and analyzed the race, BMI, and geocoded address from the electronic health records of 44,810 children from the ages of 4 to 18 years of age seen at 14 different Massachusetts pediatric practices between the years of 2011-2012. Among these 44,810 children, 13.3% were black, 5.7% were Hispanic, and 65.2% were white. Compared to the white children, the BMI z-scores were higher among Black and Hispanic children, and black but not Hispanic children had greater increases in their BMI z-scores over time. Neighborhood SES lessened BMI z-score differences between black children and Hispanic children. Researchers at the conclusion of this study found that neighborhood SES and the built environment do infant play an important role in childhood obesity disparities.

      There isn't a claim made by the author but the paragraph does contain a presentation of the claim made in a research article that neighborhood socioeconomic status and the built environment do play a role in childhood obesity disparities according to data extracted from electronic health records at Massachusetts Pediatric Practices.

      Could use a claim by the author to introduce the relevance of the research and some connective substance to tie argumentative point back to the main argument.

    3. In their article, “Inequality in the Built Environment Underlies Key Health Disparities in Physical Activity and Obesity” (2006), Penny Gordon- Larsen and others claim that lower-SES and high-minority block groups had reduced access to facilities, which in turn was associated with decreased PA and increased overweight. Researchers assessed the geographic and social distribution of physical activity facilities and how differences in access might contribute to population level physical activity and overweight patterns. The residential locations of adolescents in the years 1994-1995 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were geocoded, and an 8.05-km buffer was drawn around each residence. Physical activities facilities, measured by national databases and satellite data, were linked with Geographic Information Systems technology to each participant. Logistic-regression analyses tested the relationship of physical activity-related facilities with socioeconomic status (SES) and the subsequent association of facilities with overweight and physical activity. It was reported that higher socioeconomic groups had greater odds of having 1 or more facilities and low SES with high minority groups were less likely to have facilities. In conclusion, lower SES with high minority groups were reported to have reduced access to facilities, which was associated with the decreased physical activity and increased overweight.

      The author does not make a claim here but presents research published in 2006 that analyzes data taken from geocoded residential locations of adolescents in the years 1994-1995 of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The conclusion is that lower socioeconomic status with high minority groups were reported to have reduced access to facilities which were associated with decreased physical activity and an increased likelihood of being overweight.

      The same issue arrises here with specificity. Socioeconomic groups that contain minority groups do not necessarily translate to race, so more commentary could be implemented to make that connection. Low socioeconomic groups could encompass several categories as well as high minority groups that are not just race. Just being a little more specific could fix that and strengthen your argument in relation to main point.

    4. In their article “Does Race or Sex Moderate the Perceived Built Environment/Physical Activity Relationship in College Students?” (2011), Kathryn Lightfoot and Chris Blanchard claim that race moderates the relationship between having many places within walking distance and physical activity. They conducted a study in which participants were recruited from two universities in the southern United States, representing students of both African American and Caucasian descent. Two studies were conducted: Participants in Study 1 were given a one-page questionnaire one week after their first baseline perceived built environment questionnaire in order to evaluate their physical activity during the previous week; Participants in Study 2 were given the same questionnaire but this time two weeks after completing the perceived built environment baseline. This two week timeline is believed to be more indicative of actual behavior. To determine if race or sex moderated the perceived built environment and physical activity relationship in the two studies, the unstandardized betas of each group were compared, according to Baron and Kenny’s procedure for a dichotomous moderator. This procedure involved an unstandardized beta between the independent and dependent variable which was the race and gender of the students who participated in the study, and comparing it to the standard errors to determine if there were significant differences. Race was the only moderator found, with African Americans showing higher levels of physical activity when their neighborhood had multiple places within walking distance as compared to Whites. In conclusion, Study 2 showed race moderated the relationship between having many place within walking distance and physical activity, affecting more African Americans than Whites.

      In this paragraph, the author doesn't necessarily make any claims, but discusses research that makes the claim that race moderates the relationship between walkability and physical activity and provides evidence to support the claim via research on two southern universities that tested students of both african american and caucasian descent.

      Again, it would help to address in the introductory paragraph what the target location is....Atlanta, Georgia, the South, United States etc... This study cites research on two southern universities, which might not be as effective in conveying your argument if it is applied to the entire US. Also, it might not be specific enough if your argument is relative to Atlanta since the south is comprised of several states with a vast amount of universities that comprise them.

    5. In their article, “Disparities in Quality of Park Play Spaces between Two Cities with Diverse income and Race/Ethnicity Composition: A Pilot Study” (2015), Gavin R Jenkins and others claim that children in affluent communities potentially have access to parks and recreation that are of higher quality than in a community with a lower socioeconomic status. The study sample was taken from two cities in the same county in the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama. City managers who are responsible for parks and recreations areas in these cities identified that there were six city-operated parks in one city (Mountain Brook), and five in the other (Irondale). Based on demographic data available from the US Census Bureau Survey, Mountain Brook was considered to be affluent (median annual household income of $131,281) and Irondale was not affluent (median annual household income of $50,157), almost half the median household income of Mountain Brook. A tool called “Playable Space Quality Assessment” (PSQAT) evaluates three aspects of environment features: Location, Play Value and Care and Maintenance of the park and open space. Result from the PSQAT showed an overall difference in quality of the three aspects of the environment features. There were significant differences in the Play Value in the parks between the two cities surveyed, which suggested that children and young people are likely to have different experiences of the play spaces in their locality and therefore these children may have different physical and physiological health experiences. This study further proves the challenges of being able to provides a suitable play and physical activity environment who live in low income neighborhoods, populated by minorities and immigrants.

      The author does not initially make a claim but presents claims made by researchers that state that there were demographic differences between two cities, one affluent and one not affluent within Birmingham, Alabama that signify differences in the "Play Value". The author then concludes stating that this study provides further evidence regarding the challenges of being able to provide suitable play and physical activity environments for low income neighborhoods with minorities and immigrants.

      The last claim in the paragraph could use some rephrasing if this is a statement/thought of the author. If not then disregard the next suggestion and make a connecting statement that relates the data to your questions presented in the introductory paragraph. Your introductory paragraph speaks to the correlation of race, the built environment, and health but the claim in the last sentence is that the research "further" proves a point regarding low income neighborhoods, minorities, or immigrants. These demographics can be comprised of many different races, which based off the content provided, both cities may or may not have the same proportion of race. So the point is vague in that regard. Specificity is key so the audience understands the connection between your listed demographics and the effects on race that you are exploring.

    6. Race is a group of persons related by common descent or heredity; An environment is the social and cultural forces that shape the life of a person or a population. What do these two things have in common? The impact it has on people and how it shapes both people young and old into the people that they are. Race, The Built Environment, and Health is a subject that I have been researching for the past couple of weeks, and the research that I have found has brought up different reactions and emotions. The question I find myself asking is: “Why does the color of our skin influence how healthy we are as individuals?”. Yes, we as individuals control what goes in and out of our bodies, we control how frequently we are active, and we control other factors that pertain to our health, but do we really? Do we really have control over these different factors? Does where we live and the type of people we live around play a more significant role on our health than our own will? All these questions that I have, I was able to gain a little more insight to through my research.

      This introductory paragraph raises questions pertaining to the correlating effects of the built environment, health, and race. It also questions the significance of environmental factors over our own control with regards to health. Is this in general to the world, US, Georgia, Atlanta? Specificity might help here.

      *Overall after reading your paragraphs, specificity in your research points would allow for stronger connections to your introductory paragraphs. Likewise, being more specific with your intended target in the introductory paragraph could allow your research to be more relative. Hope this helps!

  2. Feb 2017
    1. more than two-thirds of the Cornell University campus is open space; its ecosystem services are visualized along a spectrum of naturalness as greenways, quads and greens, streets and walks, etc. (Cornell University Campus Master Plan, 2014). Such holistic landscapes can impact student learning because they provide multiple everyday opportunities for multi-sensorial, student-nature encounters– an important precursor to activating the attention restoration cycle (Speake, Edmondson, & Nawaz, 2013; Ratcliffe et al. 2013).

      This would be fantastic if all universities could obtain these natural landscapes. The picture below was taken at Cornell University and is yet another example of why I question the authors ability to make a sound case for extraordinary natural landscape and visuals on campus space that are feasible for the majority of universities.

    2. A historic perspective shows that campuses are evolving in response to the prevailing philosophy of education – older campus plans emphasized disciplinary boundaries and newer campus designs are more amorphous and integrative.

      This is an interesting statement that is both correct and incorrect in certain ways depending on the context. For instance, the author argues that disciplinary boundaries are being replaced with more integrative designs on campuses. In a sense, this is true in regards to campuses like Georgia State University that integrate with their city and share space, but not so much for many private and liberal arts colleges that create built environments that isolate them from the rest of the city. However, if you are applying this argument contextually to the landscape inside of the university campus, then it would be safe to say that universities have evolved to become more integrative.

    3. Early American colleges and universities were self-sufficient and often built in rural locations with dormitories, dining halls and recreation facilities (Bowman, 2011; Eckert, 2012). Many university founders desired to create an ideal community that was a place apart, secluded from city distraction but still open to the larger community, enabling their students and faculty to devote unlimited time and attention for classical or divinity learning, personal growth, and free intellectual inquiry (Eckert, 2012; Gumprecht, 2007; Turner, 1984).

      This passage offers insight into the origin of Gulwadi and Scholl's perspectives as it emphasizes how the importance of location can be traced back to early American universities and their founders. It also states that these universities tended to be in rural, isolated areas and were self-sufficient, which are similar characteristics that the authors emulate.

      It is important to understand that early American colleges and universities were primarily attended and designed by people that had higher socioeconomic statuses and more access to wealth, and because of this, their campus designs will tend to reflect that in some capacity, such as exclusionary building. Therefore, it is not surprising that the authors emphasize the importance of landscape and seclusion in their campus design because their perceptions are likewise focusing on universities that have comparatively more money to facilitate these accommodations.

    4. We suggest that successful meshing of the two notions can occur by adopting a whole-systems approach to campus design – one that requires communication and collaboration among academic, administrative and facilities planning stakeholders

      In order to successfully bridge these two notions, the authors suggest focusing on communication and collaboration among the comprising stakeholders within the university, which is a problematic approach as it only pertains to the collective reasoning of university stakeholders. The authors illustrate a narrow perspective of the campus environment by assuming that the land where a university is located will only be inhabited by that university, thus seeing no need to include the opinions of others who are not directly associated with the university.

      Georgia State University is a good of example of a college that conflicts with Gulwadi and Scholl’s stereotype of the built campus environment as it integrates with independent property owners in downtown Atlanta to create a campus that revolves around a shared space. The picture below of downtown Atlanta illustrates the level of congestion that property owners have within their community space. (photo credit: Brett Barnhill)

      Thus, Georgia State University must communicate and collaborate with stakeholders that exist outside of its own realm when approaching campus design.

    5. Campus master planning efforts are whole-systems approaches (Koester, Eflin, & Vann, 2006) that preserve open space and integrate sustainable features such as indigenous plants, rain gardens, green roofs, and buildings that function as living laboratories.

      Gulwadi and Scholl’s vision of an ideal campus landscape seem to reflect environments that are isolated from cities and have natural access to beautiful scenery. Below, are pictures from Wake Forest University, which is consistently ranked among the top 25 universities in the country and is an exemplary depiction of a holistic learning environment.

      (photo credit: Bryan Pollard) (photo credit: Bryan Pollard)

      The problem with these pictures is that the campus is located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and the scenery is relative to the geological/ecological make-up of that specific area. It would be impossible to come across this landscape naturally if your university was located in the arid desert of the southwest, which is one reason why universities face limitations within their access to natural landscape. Furthermore, when considering these limitations, it becomes apparent that Gulwadi and Scholl’s vision of an ideal campus is flawed and only representative of their linear perspective.

    6. The preservation of open space is vital to the maintenance and effective functioning of a quality university learning environment (Radloff, 1998). Recognizing college campus landscapes as vital learning spaces will harness the holistic potential of college campuses as attentional resources.

      The preservation and utilization of open space on a campus as an “attentional resource” are components that the authors describe as being essential in creating a holistic learning environment. Although these design plans are practical and relative to the scheme of creating a holistic learning environment, it is important to keep in mind that these concepts may not directly translate to all campus environments.

    7. The preservation of open space is vital to the maintenance and effective functioning of a quality university learning environment (Radloff, 1998).

      The preservation and utilization of open space on a campus as an “attentional resource” are components that the authors describe as being essential in creating a holistic learning environment. Although these design plans are practical and relative to the scheme of creating a holistic learning environment, it is important to keep in mind that these concepts may not directly translate to all campus environments.

    8. Student perception of the surrounding campus landscape and the opportunities it offers for intentional and unintentional learning or recreational engagement/activity might influence their overall campus experience.

      I concur with Gulwadi and Scholl’s assertion that a student’s perception of the campus landscape and environmental opportunities offered may influence their overall experience, however the task of interpreting how each student may perceive the landscape is complicated.

      There are many aspects to consider when attempting to interpret a student’s perception of campus landscape, such as the historical background of the location(as well as its surrounding neighbors). Also, universities contain subsets of schools that are distinct in their field of study, including schools of health, natural science, social science, law, business etc…which can collectively create conflict in perspective from students. But, these are just a small example of potential conflicts that may arise from environmental influences and do not include the laundry list of variables that are more specifically pertinent to the history of each student.

      Thus, it is important to include a multitude of variables that can potentially affect a student’s perception of the campus landscape when attempting campus design.

    9. Americans expect a university campus to look different than other places (Gumprecht, 2007) and that the campus “expresses something about the quality of academic life, as well as its role as a citizen of the community in which it is located” (Dober, 1996, p.47). Today’s university must be resilient spaces in which the learning environment encompasses more than technology upgrades, classroom additions, and its academic buildings – in fact, the entire campus, including its open spaces, must be perceived as a holistic learning space that provides a holistic learning experience (Gumprecht, 2003; Gutierrez, 2013; Kenny, Dumont, & Kenny, 2005).

      In this thought-provoking excerpt, the authors suggest that the American expectation of academic life on campus drives universities to offer a learning environment which encompasses the entire campus space, thus creating a perceived "holistic learning experience". This notion raises interesting questions, particularly with regard to the intended experience that universities aim for, in contrast to the reality of each student's perceived experience.

      For instance, Georgia State University's campus is located in the middle of downtown Atlanta where you have an array of businesses and organizations that share common ground with the university. One student may absorb this environment as a motivational showcase, as citizens from different walks of life are seen on a daily basis integrating and collectively contributing to society. Another student may focus their attention on the considerable amount of homeless people spread out amongst the downtown area and internalize the disparity between socioeconomic classes as people are seen disregarding homeless individuals everyday.

      As the train of thought dissents between these two examples, it is easy to see how difficult it can be for a university to create a campus learning environment that acts as a "holistic learning experience" and is also conducive to all students' perceptions.

    10. Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces

      "Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces", by Kathleen G Scholl and Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi, is a fitting title conceptually to counter the main viewpoint offered in the supplemental reading, "The College Amenities Arms Race", by Carla Newlon. In this article, Newlon states that in less selective universities the campus environment has evolved to cater towards an influx of students that have become accustomed to a “much higher standard of living". While selective schools like Harvard maintain academic precedence in their built environment, less selective schools like High Point University tend to focus on providing luxuries and amenities to appease students. The author ultimately suggests that these universities are making a "smarter business decision" by adopting this strategy, gauging from the expectations that students primarily seek in their campus environment.

      The emerging conflict between these two articles sheds light on a pattern that could be corrosive if not met with reason, and is indicative of the decisions universities face today when creating their campus environment. While both types of institutions generate high amounts of revenue, Scholl and Gulwadi would agree that weighing business decisions over academic decisions in the campus environment can be detrimental to the reputation and integrity of the school, as well as to its educational value for students. Thus, schools that aim to recognize campus landscapes as learning spaces, will have priorities that differ from those less selective universities described by Newlon, with regard to the needs and interests of the students that attend them. Students that value academia will be more inclined to attend schools that embody those values in its campus, while students that seek luxury and comfort may opt for the latter and obtain an education that is potentially inferior in educational quality.

      Newlon, Cara. "The College Amenities Arms Race." Frobes 31 July. 2014,  https://www.forbes.com/sites/caranewlon/2014/07/31/the-college-amenities-arms-race/#5c9b17e04883

    1. The study of vernacular architecture has been around long enough, however, to have achieved some stability, patterns, and conventions, and our interest here is to highlight some of these commonalities in a way that presents a fairly unified, declarative statement of what the field is all about

      These patterns and conventions that have been formulated in the study of vernacular architecture have surfaced from a long effort by people to record information through analysis. As technology continues to evolve, further progressions to discover patterns can be made potentially through assortment of data and the application of computer technology.

    2. The physical properties of the room, so constructed, ensure that these values are enforced and that those who use the room adhere to them as well.

      When applying this particular statement to Robert Steuteville's "The morbid and mortal toll of sprawl", it takes on a very dark and morbid approach. By replacing the physical properties of the room with the thoroughfares and adopting Steuteville's conjections, we are thereby enforced to travel these roads under dangerous conditions that have mounted significant evidence increases in death as a whole for those who travel them because of failed infrastructures.

    3. Determining history through buildings has its drawbacks, certainly. One has been mentioned already: the time it takes to do fieldwork. Another problem is the uneven rate of survival of buildings. Smaller houses tend not to endure, so the material record may be skewed in favor of the elites, just as the written record is.

      Misperceptions of analysis and manipulation of evidence problems that can arise when analyzing architecture, and similarly are issues that Robert Steuteville would agree with in his article, "The morbid and mortal toll of sprawl".

    4. culture’s aesthetic preferences by simply looking at the way construc­tion materials are treated.

      This is interesting because there are vast differences amongst materials used for architecture from culture to culture from natural wooden floors to stucco walls and ceilings.

    5. Buildings and assemblages of buildings make excellent sources of informa­tion about everyday people and everyday life because they exist in great numbers and are complex enough to shed light on many aspects of human behavior, from attitudes toward the use of space to aesthetic tradi­tions and technological know-how.

      This makes me think about the gentrification that is occurring throughout Atlanta, and more specifically with the construction of condos and demolition of buildings. For instance, the destruction of "Thunderbox", a practice space for musicians in Atlanta had a story to it. That story has now vanished architecturally speaking, and has been replaced with a new wave replica of buildings that have no character, i.e. condos. However, the end of one buildings story can be the beginning of another buildings story, thus the condos story begins with the forced displacement of some of Atlanta's most prolific musical artists.

    6. people need things— objects, artifacts, however they are referred to— to live in the world, and we make those things, not randomly or by chance, but systematically and intentionally through our culture.

      While we have made objects and artifacts throughout time that most certainly were systematically or intentionally designed out of necessity which shed light on cultural aspects, conversely, I'd argue that there are also objects that were not intentionally designed and may have been created randomly. There are mistakes that have led to the creation of objects, unintentionally.

    7. Bernard Herman tell us at the beginning of their guide to architecture in the Mid- Atlantic region, “are the best teachers of ordinary architecture. Books, drawings, pho­tographs, and written documents are invaluable, but, inevitably, we learn the most about buildings by taking to the field— by looking, evaluating, measuring, questioning, and looking again.” Fieldwork the recording of buildings in situ with measured draw­ings and photographs— is one of the distinguishing features of vernacular architecture as a field of study (

      I appreciate the acknowledgement offered in this paragraph to the importance of physically examining buildings in person. I also feel that this suggestion, while referring to a different subject matter, can also be applied towards Robert Steuteville's article on the morbid sprawl of thoroughfares. The fact is that information can be perceived differently. Steuteville stated that people's perceptions to the statistical increase in traffic deaths revolved around a lack of attention due to smart phones or whatever devices that deter attention. This information could be seen through a different light and processed in a sense more conducive to Steuteville's if people would survey these areas in person and well as drive the routes themselves. Likewise, information about a building can potentially be perceived differently if only viewed from a source such as a photograph and never examined physically.

    8. Analyzing and explaining the cultural content of a building is not something you can justr/o,

      I strongly agree with this statement offered in the text because the ability to analyze a building and infer historical context that details the cultural environment as well is not something a person "can just do". It takes a lot of effort and understanding of the location of the building contextually with historical records as well material usage, not to mention potential layers of culture that can evolve into a single building overtime.

    9. In the article "The morbid and mortal toll of sprawl" Robert Steuteville suggests that the increase in traffic related deaths for 2016 can be attributed towards the dangerous infrastructure and design of our streets. Furthermore, he suggests that our modern design has contributed to the increasing traffic fatality statistics for over the past 50 years.

      Steuteville states that the reason these roads have become more dangerous to drivers, resulting in this increase of traffic deaths, is due to thoroughfares. Thoroughfares are roads that encompass other individual roads, such as main roads or highways. The increase in construction of these thoroughfares is due to an increase in population that travels by vehicle in the area. The author explains that these wide roads encourage drivers to mindlessly partake in traveling these dangerous routes filled with vehicles traveling at high speeds, which is the main cause for the statistical increase, not because driver's share a lack of attention while driving, which has been the main interpretation for these results.

      Steuteville, Robert. "The morbid and mortal toll of sprawl." Public Square: A CNU Journal, 26 Aug. 2016, https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2016/08/26/morbid-and-mortal-toll-sprawl.

  3. Jan 2017
    1. If culture determines behavior, and we can see such behavior in the things people make, it is logical that we can also move in the opposite direction, working back from the object in an attempt to explain the ideas, values, and beliefs— the culture— that caused that object to com e into being.1

      We tend to express ourselves through our creations and much can be understood about our culture by exploring them contextually.