Monday, November 30, 2009

Every college campus is a city of sorts in itself. As we looked at UNCG at the beginning of the semester, I looked at Greensboro College's campus to find out how they compared and what I could conclude from simply walking around on my own. I found that not having a tour guide left me with a few unanswered questions right then, but I turned to research to gain the knowledge on my own. This project was a challenge for me to show what I have learned, to go into an area we did not go into deep discussion about and figure out what that built environment had to tell me. This is what I heard as I walked along the brick walkways on the campus...
Pictured below I have the fronts, beats, centers, students, campus boundaries, and student centers. I will discuss these in my presentation on Thursday. I will go further in detail about the specifics of the populations and demographics of each school. I will talk about the physical buildings at Greensboro College and what they told me, along with what the lay out of the campus had to say. I will discuss the international students and programs along with the off campus things each academy has to offer.

The Greensboro Project

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Splendid Saturday- Coming Full Circle

This semester we, as a class, have walked all over the City of Greensboro. I have enjoyed getting to know the people in our class, our little trips, and all that I have learned about the way I observe my surroundings. I always considered myself a somewhat observant person, but this class has made me realize that there is a whole other level of observation I have been oblivious to most of my life. I noticed buildings and the could generally tell you the estimated income level of an area, but there are things I never even saw that would have told me in so much more detail the story of the environment. I was a very superficial and surface observer. I never thought of things past the value of the house, never getting around or taking the time to think about how that house got there and what kind of person lived there. I look forward to using the skills I have picked up in this class to understand my surroundings the rest of my life. I also look forward to sharing the techniques I have learned with others.
For my project I am thinking about literally bringing things full circle and coming back to UNCG. I want to look at the campus of UNCG after finishing the class and seeing it from my new perspective. With my new viewpoint of what the campus can tell me I want to compare the campus of Greensboro College. The main contrast will be the size of the student body and the campus itself. I am interested to see what information I find on my own!

Splendid Saturday- Open Spaces

Our last stop of the day was Battleground Park. Similar to our trip to the YMCA and the new public library downtown I have spotted memories in this park; a field trip in elementary school and maybe a bike ride with my dad. As I wandered around looking at the monuments they did not have a revolutionary feel to them. I wanted to think they were built and put up soon after the war ended but they are huge and do not look that old. This site reminded me of my trip to Verdun, France where I visited the bunkers from the first World War. The land was not flat from the bombs that went off displacing the dirt. The site of that battle is protected from development because the importance of those events needs to be remembered and memorialized. I believe the city of Greensboro was not founded on the battle site for this same reason. This battle was a turning point toward America's victory. I liked the presentation of the main statue with the horse, but the rest seemed a little to scattered for my taste. I liked the layout for a basic green space park for lounging around or reading a book, but I thought the statues and memorials needed to have more structure in having a specific path that took you from one monument to the next in a specific order. I also found it interesting that parts of the park were open fields, but other parts were paved paths through wooded areas. Is this because that is how the battle site was in 1781, or has some of the space been cleared for the memorial purposes? I remember as a child picturing the formal fighting happening in the open field and the Native American style fighting the settlers picked up being in the woods.

Splendid Saturday- Residential

We visited two specific residential neighborhoods, White Oak Village and Irving Park. First we visited the White Oak Village, the housing provided by the Cone Mills for the workers. The houses are small, simple, and modest with a decent amount of yard space. The village has a road grid of its own. In the picture to the left you can see the street in front of us was 12th St. The roads in town were not like that, just the ones within the "Village" which did comprise a small town within itself. As we walked down one of the streets we noticed there were no sidewalks; what does this tell us? I am not sure. I would think it means that community and friendship was not a strong value the mill wanted to promote, but the good sized yards kind of contradict that. Maybe the workers from the mill worked so hard during the day that sidewalks were not seen necessary because residents would just be resting, but sidewalks are not just for exercise.
The second residential neighborhood we visited was Irving Park for lunch. Honestly, as we were driving in I was focused on getting to eat lunch and may not have been the most observant student. Although I may not have been on my A game, I do not think there was anything to catch my attention until we pulled up to Edward Lowentstein's work. The houses were average middle class homes similar to my neighborhood in Boone. The Levy family invited us over to their house, an Edward Lowenstein original, for lunch. We pulled up and the artwork in their yard immediately caught my eye. We walked around to the front of the house, down the driveway, past the garage and pool, up to the front door where we were welcomed to their outgoing dog and warm smiles. The house does not feel or look like a huge house, but as we walked around the inside it just kept going. All of the beautiful bedrooms and bathrooms and storage space was enchanting. In the living room the slanted wall were most evident, and the open windows looked out at the artwork in the yard. The huge pearl necklace, and the airplane parts sculpture caught your attention first, but as you keep looking you notice more. Irving Park is a wealthier neighborhood, but not an overly showy neighborhood.

Splendid Saturday- Roadways

One of our other focuses on our weekend adventure was roadways in Greensboro that we experienced as we traveled from one site to the next. The bigger roads we traversed were Wendover and Interstate 40. Pictured to the left is a section of Wendover and a few of the many car dealerships that line the road. That is what stood out to me the most about this road was just how many car dealerships there are. We also passed a few nicer, newer looking shopping centers along with some gas stations and chain restaurants. The biggest difference between Wendover and Elm St. is the fact that Elm St is meant to be walked. That fact is a result or indication of many differences, like the size of the roads, the stores present along the roads, and the purposes of the roadways.
Battleground feels more like a small interstate highway. The road has exits instead of intersections. There are big billboards as advertisements for different businesses in the area that are basically the only things around the road other than trees. The traffic going in different directions is separated by a median.
The other roadway we observed was Interstate 40 between the mall and the Wendover exit. I believe the presence of the interstate contributes to Greensboro's title as the 'Gate City', providing another connection to many other cities and places. Many billboard advertisements are found along this road along with limited visuals of the businesses themselves when at the right point. As in, when you are driving along the interstate you can see some of the businesses because they have developed along the interstate for convenience to the customers, similarly to towns being formed around water sources because of the convenience there.

Splendid Saturday- Retail

Last Saturday the class decided to meet in order to knock out a few areas of town in one day. We started our weekend field trip at Friendly Shopping Center, an older strip mall off of Friendly Ave. This shopping center is comprised of many smaller stores focused toward middle class families. The anchor stores are Macy's and Belk with other stores like Limited, Justice, Accesories & More, Banana Republic, Gymboree, and Toys & Company. Some businesses we found that I did not expect to see and thought seemed out of place were the Mexican restaurant and bar, Len's Crafters, and Carolina Bank along with RBC Centura. The stores were situated in a rough square surrounding the main parking area. The parking lot in the middle seemed improportional to the shops because the opposite sides were so far apart. Maybe if the store fronts had been bigger or taller I would not have felt this way, but it just looks like a really long, simple outdoor shopping center. There is a walkway down the middle of the parking lot at two separate locations for pedestrians which are nice. Along the winding walkways are tables with umbrellas for people to rest under.
Another retail center we visited was the Four Seasons Town Center, or the Greensboro mall. The shops offered at this location seem to be higher end. The target market for these stores is all over the charts; there is a store for everyone. This location is much more easily located from the interstate and seems to be a place where individuals can waste time more than Friendly Center.

Monday, November 2, 2009

On the Other Side of the Tracks

This week the class ventured back to the downtown area where we looked at the lots on South Elm Street. We were supplied with documents showing the properties and business names along this street from 1925, 1975, and 2000 and we were then asked to go out and collected the same information for today. As I reflect on the data the first, most obvious thing I see is all the vacant or unlisted lots on the 400 block. In 1925 almost all of the lots were occupied by a businesses, but as time has progressed the listing for the lots have dropped off the directories. Today these lots are parking lots or roads. I assume this is because of the increasing need for parking as the decades have passed. I noticed while recording the types of stores over the years that there were at one point many hardware stores. I would think this is because all the services provided by specialists today were not around, leaving residents with the responsibility of doing all repairs to their property themselves. Multiple antique, consignment, and thrift stores are located in this area today and for a few years. This is just a characteristic of this part of town, known for the artsy feel of things. Some residential spaces were listed, but by no means is this or was this area mostly used for living. I like this part of the city, and enjoyed looking back through time for this assignment.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Galyon Depot

The Gate City is an accurate title for Greensboro on many levels. Greensboro is connected to the entire world practically. Growing up I always drove through Greensboro on any trip anywhere it seems like. We would get on 421, take it to 40 and then go to Virginia, or the beach, or a volleyball tournament in the eastern side of the state. Last year I was planning my senior trip with my two best friends and we discussed taking a train from Greensboro to New York, and then a flight back here. The only time I have flown over seas I flew out of Charlotte, but since I was with a school group I thought we might have been leaving from Greensboro. I had some trouble finding all the statistics I was looking for, but there are 59 flights out of the Piedmont Triad International Airport, and many incoming and outgoing international.
Evidence of non- Western European culture is all around us. On Tate St alone there are many culturally diverse restaurants. On a deeper level of diversity, there is a Buddhist society in Greensboro. More information can be gathered about this society at You can also buy some Indian groceries at Kashish Food Mart on Battleground ( Other cultures can be found in the Greensboro Cultural Center; learn more by looking at The people of Guilford County can enjoy African Art at the African American Atelier ( There is an Asian market on Colesium Dr (
I chose this picture because it shows travel from the perspective of buying tickets at the ticket booth, waiting in the waiting area, and also the journey that lies ahead when you travel through the perspective the picture was taken.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Downtown Institutions

I lived in Greensboro from 1993-1999. I started school at David D. Jones Elementary School, a Spanish Immersion school near the downtown area. My family lived near the airport, which led to a long bus ride to and from school. The long ride took me through many areas of the city allowing me to say "my bus goes this way" on many occasions, leading to a running joke in my family. I was reminded of this during our walk this past Thursday through the downtown institutions.
I do not remember the route the bus took, or all that I saw everyday, but sometimes I have snap shot memories of certain areas; a cemetery, the railroad tracks near the random field of green grass, or the billboard with all the sequins. One of these specific memories is of the YWCA downtown. I remembered two students getting off the bus at a YMCA with a fence that was right next to the road, and guess what we walked around? that very YWCA.
Another memory drudged up during this stroll downtown was one of me participating in the book walk from before the new library was opened. I thought it was so cool that the community was able to be involved in the move. The whole situation was a win-win because we, the book carriers, got to participate in a part of history, and we were helping the librarians get the book from one location to another. I am sure that between those thoughts there were a few moments of 'Can I sit down? Are we there yet?' and other lines similar to that, but I do remember appreciating what I was a part of. The arches in the picture are what sparked this memory and is where I remember standing while holding the books.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Downtown Part I

Here is an example of a stack. Not only is it literally parking lots stacked on top of each other in a single structure, but parking is a pain that takes up valuable space. The area taken up by this parking deck could have been used for more shops or restaurants. No one acknowledges this fact because parking is so valuable, but if you take a step back and look they are ugly and take up space.

This is the window display at a nice jewelry store on Elm. On another window was a sign saying not to trespass during non store hours. The feeling I got from the sign was not one of welcoming arms; I did not want to be invading someone elses turf. In the same way the doors are locked for the dorms to those not wanted inside, the doors to the show room were also locked keeping us out.

The very center of the city of Greensboro is the intersection of Elm St. and Market St. I consider this to be a beat in town. The picture is not focused as I would like it to be on the actual traffic, both motorized and pedestrian, going through the intersection, but it will suffice as a representation. Similar to the intersection on College Ave, this is an important area.

A strip found in the downtown area is basically all of S Elm St is retail; a collection of shops. I would compare this to Tate St on campus. Found in this area are restaurants, clothing and accessories stores, along with jewelry stores, and little knick-knack stores. All of these kinds of stores can be found on our Tate St, although all is on a smaller scale.

The statue of Nathaniel Greene in the traffic circle downtown is an example of an epitome. This historical figure is important as you look back through time in the United States. The statue represents a great leader who rose from the bottom ranks of the military to George Washington's right hand man during the Revolutionary War. I compare this symbol to the Manervastatue on UNCG's campus.

The Linconl Financial Building is the front of downtown Greensboro. This is the building most prominently featured in the skyline. As the biggest building in the city, it represents the strong, prosperous area.

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Blandwood Mansion

All semester I have referred to this class as my 'field trip class' because of the unique nature of the course, and this week I really did feel as though I was back in middle school on a field trip to the Blandwood Mansion. I am not saying that in a derogatory manner; I enjoyed the trip very much and learned a lot I didn't even know I didn't know. I had never heard of the Moorehead family, outside of one of my classmates receiving the Moorehead Scholarship for UNC, and they play an interesting role in North Carolina's history.
The two remodels imply the values of aesthetics, and statement making held by the Moorehead family. The family had to uphold a reputation of knowledge and nicer things. Since Mr. Moorehead was governor, the family had to impress many people and present the image of a family able to support a great leader. The choice of the Italianate style is not for convenience or a specific functional purpose, it was simply different from anything else at that point in time.intricatee had intriquate detail in the areas designated for company, and simplicity in the decoration of the rest of the house. I think the people of the city thought the house was gaudy, maybe. They might have thought it was beautiful and similar to a castle of sorts. I could imagine children watching from the property line, gossiping about who they saw on the property and what big name was rumored to be coming next.

The first picture is of the ceiling in the front west parlor, the one used for fancier occasions.

The second is from the children's room, showing the contrast of simplicity.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

College Park- Residential

The College Park neighborhood obviously is a residential area. The homes in do not vary tremendously, although a few styles are seen as you walk the streets. Larger apartment complexes were found along with the average size we have been seeing in recent weeks. On the side streets in the core of the neighborhood we found craftsman style houses, and some more boring looking ones. I would guess they were built in the 1960's because of the boxy feel they have. Other styles were scattered around, but I do not know anything about them except that we have not discussed them yet. The houses along Spring Garden St. were situated very close to the road, where the houses farther in the neighborhood had bigger yards in some instances. We noticed more retaining walls in front of houses. I did not ever come to a conclusion to what that signifies exactly, but more houses were above the road. Maybe a value of housing is what is to be learned from the walls. Even though the land was not perfectly convenient for building, the need exceeded that inconvenience. We also noticed a creek that went under the road and did not come out on the other side, I would consider this another sign of the importance of housing for the same reason as the retention walls. In other areas of the neighborhood there are open lots though, so is there a difference in values within the neighborhood? Parking was available on the street and in driveways; there were no 2 hour parking signs or threats of being towed.

College Park- Residential

Big apartment complex University Village
Parking along the streets
Another style house with what I assume to be a retention wall

Open lot on southern side of neighborhood; not the only one
Other style houses
Box house I guessed was build in the 60's; big tree in the sidewalk
Craftsman style house deeper in neighborhood
Homes not facing Spring Garden St
House very close to Spring Garden St

Sunday, October 4, 2009

student trying to find a nice patch of grass to read on...

(not exactly what is going on in this photo, but I did not have a picture to support this argument)
student housing on Lee St with industrial buildings in the background=convenient area for a Wal-Mart/grocery store

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Re-purpose: Re-use

I would replace the old industrial buildings that are no longer in use with a big park. This park would be aimed toward the college students but would not be excluding families or other friendly people in the community. Aside from the small playground area on the corner of Springdale Ct and Spring Garden St, there are no parks (that I have seen at least). The park would have green recreation fields that could be used for sun bathing, a leisure game of catch, or a somewhat organized game of kickball. A trail around the open area would be nice, and maybe some benches too. The park would be a space where students could go to read in the sun, instead of putting a blanket out next to College Ave and trying to read there as everyone passes.
I think there needs to be a Wal-Mart put in the old industrial area. Maybe I am spoiled and used to the small town life, but I only had to drive 5 minutes to get to Wal-Mart at home. I thought coming to a bigger city everything would be closer, but Wal- Mart is much farther away. In my adventures off campus I have not seen any big stores where you buy your basic needs. With UNCG, Greensboro College, NC A&T, and Bennett College all in the same area there are many people who would benefit from a closer Wal-Mart. If I need something and I cannot find it, or the right kind of it on campus I have to find a friend who has a car here who has the time and is willing to drive me fifteen minutes to get to the cheapest, most of the time easiest place to find any item, Wal-Mart. I assume I could ride a bus, but I have not figured out the GTA, and would not want to try to on my own.
Along the same lines as Wal-Mart, I think a big grocery store would be beneficial to the area. The same reasons apply here as with the Wal-Mart: lack of one close by, proximity to students, and convenience for community as a whole.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Side Streets & Back Alleys

A side street is defined on as a street leading away from a main street; an unimportant street or one carrying but little traffic. An alley is a a passage, as through a continuous row of houses, permitting access from the street to backyards, garages, etc.
Both of these items can be compared to a stack. When I think of an alley, I think of a dark scary place with criminals (outcasts of society, kind of) lurking in every shadow. This may not be an accurate conception, but an alley is a place for hiding things that no one wants to see or have seen. Alleys are home to secondary buildings used for storage, and used to be outhouses. As we walked along the alleys, we passed many trashcans and every spare inch of ground filled with gravel and used for parking. Along the alley ways we came upon sewer vents that are not found on side or main streets, which makes another point for the stack comparison. When you are walking along an alley, most of the time you feel somewhat confined because of the fences residents put up, creating a front between their land and the access way. The fences represent their turf as well.
Side streets can be thought of in the same negative light if in a certain context, but my first thoughts when I hear the words 'side street' are of suburbs and children playing in the streets of their neighborhoods. Side streets are connectors; they connect one street to another, and one family to another. Without side streets where would parents teach their children to learn how to ride a bike? and where would those kids then practice after taught? If you think about it, side streets can be an escape from the busy world. When someone is on a big road that only serves the purpose of transporting traffic from one side of town to the other all they are focused on is getting where they are going. When you turn off of that very street onto one of its side streets you are immediately absorbed into a slower pace and calmer atmosphere. The scenery changes from shrubbery and directional signs to houses and garages. Side streets can be considered beats, but I do not think of them as hectic interchanges.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

College Hill Mendenhall St.

This is the oldest building on the block. Located on the corner of W Market St and Mendenhall St. All the land in this area was farmland before filled in with colleges, universities, and houses. This is the original farm house.
On the other end of Mendenhall, we began to see houses with fences around the front yards. I would infere from this that the part of the neighborhood we were in was not the safest, or most neighborly place to be at one point. Maybe I am far off base, and many of the families had dogs who wanted to roam freely in their front yards.
This is one of the houses we looked at. The wrap around porch tells me the family values quality time and the outdoors.
One of the older buildings on the block, this one is in the process of being remodeled and is beautiful. The copper trim and roof make the structure stand out and shine. For the most part the building is symmetrical, showing the value of balance to the architect.
One of the apartment buildings in the neighborhood, all of which are brick. The building pictured above is one of a twin, the other across the street. Houses were torn down and replaced with apartments, showing the value of the location is more important than family homes.
A barn shape roof shingle style was popular in the northeast in the mid 1800s. The builder was from Connecticut and built the house in 1859.
Second oldest building in the neighborhood. This house is farther back off of the street, and was modeled from the Italian style in the pink farm house on the corner.
A bungalo in the middle of the neighborhood. One of the newer structures around, the materials used are mostly natural materials.