During this semester, I have read many excerpts of readings that tell stories about the lives of many people. I myself am from the outskirts of New York City. Being down here a lot has truly given me a feel for both the urban and suburban lifestyle, however, this class has reassured me of my previous comparisons between the city and suburban lifestyle. One reading that really had a major impact on me was an excerpt from “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” by Jane Jacobs. In this excerpt, she addresses the purpose of sidewalks and the average citizen’s duty to the community. She talks of the importance of privacy and how many New Yorkers mind their own business when walking on the sidewalk, however, if someone witnesses children engaging in dangerous acts, it is their duty to step in and prevent anything bad from happening. I myself have experienced such a communal ritual both in New York City and my small unknown hamlet of Verplanck. Where I live, everyone is respective of each other’s privacy, however, when someone was in danger, neighbors would stick together to help that person out. For example, I used to play one of my neighbor’s children who was the same age as myself. One day, we decided to take his plastic red wagon out for a ride. I was considerably bigger and stronger than my friend who was maybe a year or two younger than me so I would pull him around in the wagon. One day, he decided that he wanted to pull the wagon with me in it, so I let him. He struggled to pull my weight up the hill on our street yet still persisted that he do it. He was in danger of hurting himself and letting the wagon go, sending me down the hill to possibly flip over the steep sidewalk curb. However, a random women from far down the street yelled at us and demanded that I get out and pull him instead. If she hadn’t done so, I probably would have been seriously injured but thanks her determination to follow through with her sidewalk duty, we were saved from a terrible fate.
Here is an excerpt from my writing about built environments:
“Everything changed the day that I met Omid. He was a short stubby man with a mug face. I was working on a project that I thought was amazing when he approached me in the studio too. He critiques me on my strengths and weaknesses and I considered not taking his advice because I didn’t know him well or what he ever did. It was until he opened up his own project that everything changed. His music sounded like something you would hear on mainstream radio. I’ve been isolated from the worlds talents for so long”
These sentences tell the story of the humbling of my characterization. Besides telling of my avid love for music, these sentences tell about how I was before and how I am now. Growing up, I always wanted to be the best I could be. Most of the time, I would isolate myself from teachers and try to show myself how to do something. While developing my musical skills, I reached the point where I was doing good for someone my age, or at least that’s how I thought of myself. I began to think that I knew everything about the creation of music. I worked in a studio that had expensive equipment and expected to be able to utilize my knowledge from this studio at every other studio I came into contact with. I was truly isolated from the rest of the world. These sentences show how I was awakened by the unlimited talent that the world had to offer. I was pulled into a world where there was an unlimited amount of things to learn. No matter how much knowledge you may apprehend, there will always be more to learn because everyone is different and will do things differently or know about those different things. On this “trail”, I will come into my current state of consciousness where I begin to humble myself. I cannot judge myself better than others because I am truly not. In fact, I only know that I am different from those. And if there is someone who is technically worst than me, I will not consider myself better because I may have things that I can learn from that person. If I come in contact with someone better than me at something, I will acknowledge and accept their ranking and attempt to learn from them to better myself. In the end, my path is to better myself and better others without any intrusion from an ego because at the end of the day, we’re all the same yet different at the same time.
This semester’s reading and writing has truly revealed to me some ideals of the greater world. Jane Jacobs’ writing regarding sidewalk duty has truly shown me the true duty of a sidewalk dweller. As a community, we must make the right judgements about when and how to get involved with other people in order to help them out. Without this communal connection between us all, there will be negative impacts on all of us as a whole. I truly was able to learn about the purpose of a community. What also brought light to my idea about the greater world was the reading, “McMansions 101”. I personally grew up in a decent size home but never got to understand what effect a spacious home has on family relationships. Altogether, I learned of the negative influence a spacious home has on a family due to the lack of contact between them. The reading, “Superman and Me” showed to me the internal conflicts that occur within the Native American population who was placed into reservation grounds. I never knew about the internal plight they faced regarding the conflict between the betterment of their minds and the urge to appear “stupid” in the eyes of white people. “Thermal Delight” introduced to me some architectural techniques utilized by architects building houses in different climates in order to provide comfort for the inhabitants. Living in New York, many of us have common amenities such as heating and air conditioning in order to beat the cold or heat depending on what season it is. However, many live in extreme climate conditions that don’t have AC or heat or may require passive temperature control. Many of these readings have opened my eyes to the things that people of the greater world face day by day and conclusively have helped me gain a better understanding of the world.