(DRAFTING) Publix at Piedmont: Merging the Downtown, Midtown, and Old Fourth Ward Communities of Atlanta

When I was first hired, my department manager told me, “I’ve worked for Publix for [X] years and this is the most interesting store I’ve ever worked at. We have to deal with things that most stores will never encounter.” Unlike Joseph, I would have nothing to compare my store experiences to.

One of the main reasons why I chose to attend school in Atlanta was because of the vast diversity of the city. While I do see the diversity of population at Georgia State and other public places in Atlanta, self-segregation is blatant in most observations. Segregation was legal in the city a little over 50 years ago, and even though the spearhead of the Civil Rights Movement took place in Atlanta, the strife of racial bias continues to linger.

Should “He & She” Still Exist?

“Identity is no longer clearly defined as female or male, but by increasingly visible manifestations of sexuality or lack thereof.” This quote, among many in Suzanne Tick‘s article “His & Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society,” suggests that binary gender identification is currently being defied. In some cases, “traditional” gender roles (as we know it) have been manipulated and switched around. Tick argues that designers should consider the societal shift in their work to encourage the use of post-Modernistic styles, which will complement the progressive movement in identity.

Tick states male dominance is still heavily prominent in design, especially where the Modernistic form is still present. In other industries, such as in technology, male employment is statistically higher. Today, women are increasingly gaining access to leading positions and this change has been reflected in the architecture of buildings and selected materials used in the interiors. Since fashion trends change so often, they are first to undergo modification. A coat form Alexander Wang’s Fall 2015 clothing line had typical men’s style tailoring. Annemiek van der Beek debuted “a collection of make up for men“, though usually, make up is targeted to women.

In defying gender, Tick included an account of students not putting their gender, refusing to identify with male or female. At the end of that paragraph, she refers to her audience using “we”, referring to her fellow designers about the need to accept nontraditional gender roles. The last section of her article shifts to the topic of bathroom and those issues should be dealt with in the workplace. She sides with making accommodations in the design of restrooms (and other public space), so individuals don’t have to select a gender and they can be comfortable in the given environment.

Intimidate, Frustrate, and Accommodate: The Fight for Equal Rights to Public Restrooms

Under a New York Times Magazine collection of essays titled “First Words”, Emily Bazelon explores something most people in the United States would consider a simple right: the act of using a public restroom. In contrast to the aforementioned statement, reality reveals access to public restrooms is not as welcoming to a progressive population of individuals who identify as transgender. This struggle has since driven a call of action for “accommodations” to be made in favor of the implementation of gender neutral restrooms.

Bazelon opens the article with a general description of most public restroom entrances; a door (or the adjacent wall) adorned with an acrylic sign, labeled either for men or women. She addresses the reader in second person:

“They’re fundamentally fraught spaces, where we undress and obey the dictates of our bodies and therefore feel vulnerable. If people think you’ve confused male and female and walked through the wrong door, you risk discomfort, or even real trouble.”

The first instance of legislation discussed in the article was a proposed ordinance for the city of Houston, Texas. It would have defended individuals against discrimination in public spaces, which included restrooms. Groups in opposition of the ordinance created a grim campaign video (also inserted below) that focused on violence in bathrooms to sway voters not to pass the law. School districts are also handling transgender rights, on a case by case basis.

After defining the origin of “accommodate”, Bazelon provided examples of historical accommodations in the United States. Citizens have been granted permission to observe religious practices in the workplace, and more recently, the Americans With Disabilities Act broadened access to public spaces that were previously unavailable to the physically challenged. The separation of restrooms occurred much earlier as a way to accommodate women who left their homes during the day to work or enter places “previously dominated” by men. Over time, women have collectively designated the women’s restroom to be an estrogen-dominant territory.

Today, activists are fighting for gender inclusive (or “all-gender”) single-stalled restrooms for transgender people to have a form of privacy. Bazelon continues to describe the account of a preadolescent transgender girl who simply wants to fit in with her peers. The school allows her to use the same locker room as the rest of the girls.

The author later compared accommodations for disabled people to the start of making accommodations for transgender people. Bazelon claims making  changes in spaces, such as public restrooms and locker rooms, are all “about relatively small adjustments for the sake of coexistence.” In the last paragraph, she references a resource guide, developed by the Transgender Law Center, that provides information on how someone can protect themselves from a bathroom access issue. Bazelon also inserted quotes from the text which where examples of what could be done if someone was encountered in the restroom. She then ends the article, focusing on a specific word from the resource guide: “belong.” The human desire to fit in and belong is not inessential; it’s vital.

A Sewage Water Wonder: Historic Fourth Ward Park

In this post, I will give an exterior built environment description on Historic Fourth Ward Park. All photos were taken from my cellphone.

Historic Fourth Ward Park (H4WP) is a multi-use outdoor green space that is accessible by people of all ages.


The space is located north on Ralph McGill Boulevard and south of North Avenue. The best way to enter the park via street is from North Ave. Since the park is directly behind Ponce City Market, visitors can use its flag tower or orange logotype as a marker. There is also a short trail that connects to park to the Eastside Beltline.

North Avenue entrance, facing Ponce City Market.

A lawn sign that promotes supporting the Park.

Unlike other city parks in Atlanta, H4WP lacks proper signage at the two most popular entrances. Guests who stroll the park wouldn’t know the name until seeing this lawn sign.

Parking is available to visitors, but it is very limited. The developers may have done this to encourage walking , cycling, or utilizing to the park. If it is necessary to drive, be mindful that cars are bound to a narrow street with parallel parking.





Lake at Historic Fourth Ward Park

The central characteristic of the park is the man-made lake. A winding trail encompasses the water and provides a closer view of the native plants, ducks, and two waterfalls. This loop can be accessed by a single ramp and a series of staircases.

Other features include an open recreational field, an amphitheater, and a playground with a splash pad. This versatility suggests a wide range possible use that may include: exercise groups, concerts (formal and informal), festivals, field trips, or simply, a day in the park. It would be best to use these features in warmer weather,  but the park is open all year long.


This portion of the park was adopted by Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta.

Historic Fourth Ward Park is built in two warped, concentric circles that allows individuals to take a stroll, exercise, or simply sit in a serene environment. Unique design features also add to the visual aesthetic of the park. Aside from beauty, these stone features were placed to guide rain water to the lake to prevent flooding.

After viewing H4WP on Google Maps, I realized it extends beyond what I viewed in person. The park appears to be split a multiple sections. Despite limited parking, the additional tracts of grass can accommodate a large number of people for a one day event. All areas of the park can be accessed via winding concrete sidewalks.


Exterior Built Environment- Annotated Bibliographies

In today’s post,  I will provide annotated bibliographies for sources related my study on an external built environment, Historic Fourth Ward Park.

A Greener Future

Burns, Rebecca. “A Greener Future.” Atlanta 55.2 (2015): 78. MasterFILE Elite. Web 5 Feb. 2016.

Rebecca Burns discusses the public parks of Atlanta in “A Greener Future”. Currently, Atlanta trails behind other cities in the United States when comparing land use designated to public parks. The creation of the Atlanta Belt Line has made the city more willing to address this concerns and make progress in transforming “brownfields” (vacant lots) into accessible parks for surrounding communities.

The transformation of Historic Fourth Ward Park.

Source: Historic Fourth Ward Park Conservancy The ten year transformation of Historic Fourth Ward Park.

Public parks have the ability to shape a community, with positive intentions. City planners claim parks, a man-made feature, induce a closer-knit feel and subtly encourage interactions within a population.

This one page spread is directly related to Historic Fourth Ward Park, as it was recently developed during the construction of the eastern Belt Line. During my research, this was the first magazine source that I had come across and it fits the selected exterior built environment. The site of the park also has a role in the history of Atlanta, that will be later explained in the bibliography of “Vale of Amusements”.

Even though the article focuses on the need for parks in Atlanta, Burns fails to mention the sprawling development around the new green spaces. “A Greener Future” was prepared for an audience that will be most likely to visit a park. Given the subject matter of the articles published in Atlanta, the target readers would fall into the mid-20s through mid-40s who have a median income above $30,000. This group has a higher chance of taking their children out to the park, visiting a restaurant along the Beltline, or exercising outside away from their home.

Pioneers of Gentrification: Transformation in Global Neighborhoods in Urban America in the Late Twentieth Century

Hwang, Jackelyn. “Pioneers Of Gentrification: Transformation In Global Neighborhoods In Urban America In The Late Twentieth Century.” Demography 53.1 (2016): 189-213. Business Source Complete. Web. 6 Feb. 2016.

Jackelyn Hwang studied the “rise of immigration” in the United States from the years after 1965 in her peer-reviewed article, “Pioneers Of Gentrification: Transformation In Global Neighborhoods In Urban America In The Late Twentieth Century.”

The dilapidated and abandoned office of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, which is located in Sweet Auburn.

Source: Atlanta Time Machine The dilapidated and abandoned office of the Atlanta Life Insurance Company, which is located in Sweet Auburn.

The text displays several comparisons among race, primarily focusing only on white, black, Asian, and Hispanic populations. She used the classifications to determine if correlations between race and gentrification within a community was present. Hwang’s study revealed that low-income, minority neighborhoods are not likely to be affected by gentrification.

Old Fourth Ward falls east of downtown Atlanta and has a large black population. While some areas of the neighborhood has gentrified, other sites equate to the research. These sections contain buildings or lots that have been vacant for years.

Since Atlanta is an international destination for people around the world, it is essential to document the settling of the city. Anyone studying how immigrant population affect a society would find this source useful. I used this source because the demographics of Atlanta is complex and shifting, and gentrification would play a role in shaping  Old Fourth Ward.

Vale of Amusements: Modernity, Technology, and Atlanta’s Ponce de Leon Park, 1870–1920

Toton, Sarah. “Vale of Amusements: Modernity, Technology, and Atlanta’s Ponce De Leon Park, 1870–1920.” Southern Spaces. Robert W. Woodruff Library, 15 Jan. 2008. Web. 05 Feb. 2016.

In “Vale of Amusements: Modernity, Technology, and Atlanta’s Ponce De Leon Park, 1870–1920”, Sarah Toton provides a historical analysis of the rise and fall Ponce de Leon Park. The article features elements of classism and racism that supports relations among people in Atlanta, and in the South as a whole. As it was modeled after parks in larger cities, such as New York’s Coney Island, Ponce de Leon Park was originally exclusive to the elite and prohibited people of color, unless they were servants. The park was the epitome of a built environment since it was a heavily regulated space.

Source: Southern Spaces A postcard of Ponce de Leon Park.

Source: Southern Spaces
A postcard of Ponce de Leon Park.

This source gives detailed accounts of the land that is now Historic Fourth Ward Park (my exterior environment), and the surrounding areas: Midtown Place and Ponce City Market. The currently mixed-used properties has a adverse history that is now unrecognizable.

With this source, I could study the change of the land use for the area and examine the needs of the people in the are over decades of time.


Women and Architecture

Written by Aliyah Davis & Shakira Daniel

Source: The Huffington Post "Ghost in the Machine. Elenberg Fraser, Premier Tower, Melbourne, Australia. Beyoncé, Ghost music video."

Source: The Huffington Post
“Ghost in the Machine. Elenberg Fraser, Premier Tower, Melbourne, Australia. Beyoncé, Ghost music video.”

In ‘Sexism is Alive and Well in Architecture”, Lance Hosey, Chief Sustainability Officer at Perkins Eastman, described the biased nature of  the architectural industry, which is highly discriminatory against women.  Throughout the article, he uses historical accounts, statistical information, recorded interviews, and possibly his own experience to support his argument. Hosey’s purpose is to highlight the history of sexism in architecture and to call for a change in the industry. The piece can apply to a wide audience, but could draw the attention of Hosey’s colleagues and peers in the architecture industry.

Hosey, Lance. “Sexism Is Alive and Well in Architecture.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, Inc,  7 July 2015. Web. 28 January 2016.



Cut Off & Shut Out: A Summary of Schindler’s Article

In Sarah Schindler’s article, “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment”, she deconstructs the various gambits communities and governments (local, state, and federal) use to target and deter a specific group of people from having the opportunity to experience a public good. Schindler chose to divide her article in five parts with each section focusing on a different aspect of “architectural exclusion”. The organized sections develop a logical argument that exposes the detrimental structural components that stall movement and integration within the borders of a certain area.

After the detailed table of contents, Schindler opens the article with short representations examples of oppression. All of the descriptions are cases that occurred in the United States; every one taking place in the past 100 years. The first two main sections of the piece discuss the theory and practice of architectural exclusion (1935).

The first part analyzes the writings of other scholars who discuss the limitations of design in any given “built environment” (1940-41). Continuing in the same path, the second part provides more detailed accounts of architectural exclusion. Throughout the entire, Schindler claims architectural exclusion is a common form of social injustice that tends to victimize individuals who are “poor” and “of color”. She argues that this population is more likely to deal with obstacles of urban development that hinder their ability to be more dynamic.

Throughout the piece, Schindler draws from actual instances of exclusion to prove the theory of architectural exclusion is real.

“A paradigmatic example of architectural exclusion through physical barriers is Robert Moses’s Long Island bridges that were mentioned in the Introduction to this Article. Moses set forth specifications for bridge overpasses on Long Island, which were designed to hang low so that the twelve-foot tall buses in use at the time could not fit under them”(1935).

She creates a strong argument by insisting built environments not only influence the appearance, but that it also affects those who occupy the environment itself.

Commentary of Schindler’s “Architectural Exclusion”

In this post, I will comment on several quotes below from Sarah Schindler’s “Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment”, an article that was published in The Yale Law Journal.

In 2013, The Metro transit agency of St. Louis, Missouri implemented dividers on bus stop shelters.

In 2013, The Metro transit agency of St. Louis, Missouri implemented dividers on bus stop shelters. (Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

“…one might think it a simple aesthetic design decision to create a park bench that is divided into three individual seats with arm-rests separating those seats. Yet the bench may have been created this way to prevent people— often homeless people— from lying down and taking naps” (1942).

In recent years, city planners, domestic and abroad, have made decisions to deter people from sleeping on public benches. These actions displace homeless people, who find sleeping on a bench more comfortable than resting on the ground. For the subtle changes in bench design, are often overlooked by individuals who don’t utilize the seating. As these forms of modifications are finished, the affected population are often pushed out from areas where they are not wanted.

“Another common version of this phenomenon is one of the most obvious forms of architectural exclusion: the walls, gates, and guardhouses of gated communities” (1958).

The idea of “gated communities” were  based on the desire for security. Its design intentionally creates a physical barrier between the residents and the outside world. Along with safekeeping their communities, the dwellers disconnect themselves from ever forming relationships with bordering neighborhoods.

An aerial vew of the destruction of the Overtown community, a predominately black neighborhood of Miami, Florida. The images of the construction of I-95 and 395 were taken on August 23, 1967.

An aerial view of the destruction of the Overtown community, a predominately black neighborhood of Miami, Florida. The images of the construction of I-95 and 395 were taken on August 23, 1967. (Source: The Miami Herald )


“The placement of highways so as to intentionally displace poor black neighborhoods is even more familiar. Policymakers ‘purposefully’ decided to route highways through the center of cities, often with the intent ‘to destroy low-income and especially black neighborhoods in an effort to reshape the physical and racial landscapes of the postwar American city'” (1966).

In 1956, the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, set to expand the interstate highway system to link all cities together. The Act adversely disturbed communities across the country for monumental road projects. During this time, cities used the construction of major roads and highways in their favor to stall the integration of public schools. Moreover, officials would cut through disadvantaged areas because the citizens lacked political influence and didn’t have a voice.

How to Edit a Link in Your WordPress Site Menu

For those of you in Mrs. Arrington’s English 1102 class, the link for the submission form under the “Projects” drop-down menu is for Dr. Wharton’s class.

Here are the steps to resolve this issue below (WITH PICTURES [click to enlarge]):

  1. View your “Dashboard”,  find and hover the  “Appearance” tab, and click the “Menu” link.Step 1
  2. Locate the “Submission Form” box.Step 2
  3. Click the arrow next t the “Custom Link” text. Highlight and delete the text in the URL field.Step 3
  4. Copy the link to Mrs. Arrington’s Google Doc (https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1RHVV12T2xfJ-eWwN35IYaGCd0rcfXdoI4syDgMtka7o/viewform?embedded=true)Step 4
  5. After pasting the link into the URL field box, save the menu.Step 5

Image Gallery

Decatur Street from the bridge between the Urban Life Building and Sports Arena.

Decatur Street from the bridge between the Urban Life Building and Sports Arena.

Decatur Street is a bustling external environment during the day. Along with the comings and goings of cars, the strip has its fair share of foot traffic as students briefly congregate and head to class.