After our first week out in "the field" we have an assignent to go along with the reading we have been doing outside of class. We have now completed, from beginning to end, 'Close-Up: How to Read an American City' by Grady Clay. The assignment is to take a map of the campus and label topics discussed in the text, including fix, epitome, front, strips, beats, stacks, sinks, turf, and vantage. Above is the product of this assignment. Located to the left of the map is the key; labeled are a few examples on campus.
I began with a fix, the Elliot University Center. This building is an example because it is a focus point on campus. Centrally located, with much to offer, the facility is a textbook example of a fix.
The next term I focused on was epitome, which is a place where history is resembled in a symbolic way. My example of this on campus was the Manerva Statue. She represents the past and the pride of our university.
After epitome, I searched for a front on campus. A front is comparable to a frontier. Since there is no longer a western frontier, we now look to the city boundaries with the country, and situations of those sorts. I chose the front of Foust Hall as my front on campus. As discussed last week, Foust is a long building in front to give a strong appearance as you look into campus from Spring Garden St.
Tate St. is the location I used to show a strip. Not really the whole street even, just the portion near the Brown Building where Adam's University Bookstore, Subway, Sisters, and Jimmy Johns are located. The presence of those stores is what makes that part of Tate St. a strip.
A beat is a place frequented by the population. Many beats can be found on campus, but the one I chose to discuss is College Ave, specifically at the back entrance to the Caf, in front of the Jackson Library, and behind the Elliot University Center. These are centrally located amongst buildings and areas students and staff must visit to successfully live on campus.
After beats, I looked for stacks. A stack is a place where things get piled up, and are not pleasing to the eye, but no one really notices them anymore. I chose the multiple construction sites at school right now. Clay references bulldozers sniffing around which led me to this conclusion. Another place that could be considered a stack is the water tower, if you interpret the definition differently.
I had a more difficult time finding a place to represent a sink. A sink is a place where unwanted things or people are put; where would that be on campus? After some discussion and assistance in class, the group discovered the railroad tracks along Oakland St which provide a noisy place no one would want to spend an extended amount of time. This is where the smokestack, water tower, radio tower, and above ground power lines are located, all things that can be considered eye sores.
The term turf is used by Clay the same way I have used the word all my life; set areas where people are somewhat territorial. The best example of this I could find that was definite were the dorms and residence halls. To enter these buildings you must have a fob along with the key. The residence inside the building all recognize each other, and if you are not a visitor with someone specifically, you are not wanted. That is a territory.
Finally, I came to the word vantage. A vantage is another word found in everyday language, generally used in the same context. This is a point from which you can look out and see everything. These kinds of places are found on campus in parking decks and at the ends of College Ave. The parking decks have elevated columns with big windows, where you can see a lot of campus. When you are standing at either end of College Ave you can see all the way to the other end. Even though you may not be able to see all the buildings along College Ave at once, you know they are there, and that as you move along the walkway you can see them.
This assignment brought all the reading I have done in the last week and a half for this class fully come together. I found it very helpful to apply Grady Clay's concepts in our own little community on the grounds of UNCG.