Wells, Nancy, Dr. “Natural Environments and Human Health.” Outreach and Extension (2014): Human.cornell.edu. Cornell University College of Human Ecology, 2014. Web. 19 Feb. 2016. <http://www.human.cornell.edu/outreach/upload/CHE_DEA_NaturalEnvironments.pdf>.
Dr. Nancy Wells’ research led to her conclusion that a natural environment featuring wildlife and plants is beneficial to humans in more ways than one. Not only did she confirm the findings of the authors of “Recognizing Campuses as Learning Spaces,” but she also went more in-depth into the actual benefits of an open landscape. Her article states that a natural living space promotes exercise, offers a sense of community, and opens up new forms of recreation to the public. Her studies also show that citizens who live in such an environment are prone to living longer lives. In built-environments, where the land is not as pedestrian-friendly, citizens have shown less recreational activity and higher rates of crime. There is one flaw in her experiment however, as her subjects were not selected randomly. Wells also tested children for data as well. Research shows that green environments foster social interaction and offer more social support while children of more built environments undergo more stressful experiences. I plan to use this article in my research to support my arguments about the built environments affects on humans through the facts she presented. The statistics and examples will help to make my writing more credible.
In “Making Bathrooms More Accommodating,” Emily Bazelon dives into the relatively new controversy our society is facing. Transgender citizens are fighting for the right to use the restroom of their choice: male or female. Or even for the inclusion of an all gender restroom. Any solution will do, as they feel as though they are not being accommodated for in this section of everyday life in America.
Recently, In Texas, what has been tagged as the “bathroom ordinance” was rejected and attacked with a vicious campaign that advocated for “No Men In Women’s Bathrooms.” Such feelings toward the proposal of the law were prompted by its vague nature and seemingly dangerous potential. Citizens were disgusted at the idea of legislation possibly opening up an opportunity for transgenders to be allowed in the same restroom as women, as they felt that they are not equal and crime would result from it. However in Illinois, action favoring the wishes of transgenders has already begun to take form.
A teenager that was born male but has underwent surgery and is identified as a female officially was denied the right to change in the girl’s locker room by the school board. However, the United States Department of Education stepped in and requested that the district allow her to change in the girl’s locker room behind a curtain. The purpose of the privacy curtain is to accommodate for the transgender girl so that no student feels uncomfortable.
With that being said, the author takes the time to dissect the actual meaning of the word accommodate and why is so problematic in an issue such as this one. At first glance, it does not seem as if their is anything wrong with the use of the word as its latin roots mean, “to make fitting.” However, Baezlon insists that “..it’s a word that involves moving over to make room for other people, whether you want to or not.” The author associates a negative connotation with the word “accommodate” which seemingly gives away her position on the particular issue. To prove she is not biased, she mentions others who feel the same as her and provides examples.
Activists usually dislike the word “accommodate” as well, as it implies that the group you are accommodating for is not normal. Many feel that if you truly belong somewhere then you shouldn’t have to be accommodated for. While there are some that disagree. Mara Keisling points out that it promotes compromise and leads to a more civil society. The demands of transgenders are new to us and we aren’t used to them but our values are, by the same token, old. Since the Victorian era, men and women’s place of privacy have been separate and transgenders believe that particular practice along with others in our society, oversimplifies their existence. They simply ask for a reconsideration of how accessible bathrooms are these days, just as we reconsidered the accessibility for handicapped citizens in the past.
All in all, Bazelon’s article addressed an increasingly relevant issue in today’s society. Are transgenders being marginalized in the most personal area of their lives? It will take several trials and fights to finally reach the answer but the first step is starting the conversation. Bazelon is not only starting the conversation in her article, but also refining it by going deeper into the true actions behind accommodation.
Bazelon, Emily. “The New York Times Magazine.” Editorial. Making Bathrooms More ‘Accommodating’ 17 Nov. 2015: n. pag. Nytimes.com. The New York Times, 17 Nov. 2015. Web. 19 Feb. 2016.
Kathleen G. Scholl and Gowri Betrabet Gulwadi discuss the often understated importance of college environments in their writing, “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces.” Firstly, they frame their message by outlining the scene of colleges in America today. The number of students in college in the U.S.A. is higher than ever before, and with high enrollment rates there are high expectations for the learning environment. The authors insist that we already have an image of what a college campus should look like in our mind. However, why does the ideal campus look the way it does? Is there any real purpose for having campuses in a seemingly secluded small town with only the college itself driving the local economy?
Due to the notion that learning is a process that never goes on summer break or takes the weekend off, an institute of higher learning should promote learning in areas outside of the classroom. Especially since most of the students’ time is spent outside of class anyway. Today’s generation of youth is defined by a culture of multitasking and the quick spread of information. While society demands a large amount of attention, college demands even more, creating a very dynamic lifestyle for the college student of the 2010’s. That reality is one of the main reasons why a calm, relaxed college setting is imperative. The school environment is most effective in helping the student succeed when it provides a refuge from the normal level of attention that usually is required from the student. According to studies, campuses that are more natural and incorporate nature into the daily sights visible by students on a daily basis allow for students to avoid mental fatigue and focus better when it counts. This is apposed to being surrounded by the lights, noises, and hustle of a big city that command just as much attention if not more than a college professor. Environments that do not allow for one to take a mental break put students at a higher risk of mental exhaustion.
Historically, colleges have always been placed strategically in towns where students can focus solely on academics, dating back to Princeton University in the 1770s. With that being said, the typical college campus did go through some changes to become what we imagine today when we think of a major university. The Morrill Act of 1862 required new buildings and the end of World War 2 saw a rise in students. Then, Fredrick Law Olmstead’s research further solidified the point that certain physical landscapes can affect human behavior. From his studies he concluded that “Natural scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it; tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it; and thus through the influence of the mind over the body, gives the effect of refreshing rest and reinvigorating to the whole system” (Olmstead). Based off of Olmstead’s findings, several other scientists have worked to form the Attention Restoration Theory, which focuses on the idea that internal and external factors affect one’s cognitive ability.
The issues associated with the ART theory are relevent when attempting to define what exactly is nature, and what is considered to be direct attention. Nature, when being discussed in this context refers to physical features of the Earth from a non-human origin. Direct attention is when someone uses mental effort to remain focus on a particular task or thought. On the other hand there is also a such thing as involuntary attention, which is activated when anything that is intriguing to the mind is presented before someone. All of these terms come to life and connect through different landscapes. Different layouts of the land we live and work on are classified into different landscapes to make sense of what we are exposed to. Some examples are indoor, urban, fringe, and wilderness.
In conclusion, each landscape differs in appearance and feel to the human, and each can impact us in a different way. Most importantly, it has been found that an open, fringe landscape is very beneficial to student minds. It is crucial to pay attention to ways to help make learning environments less stressful and more conducive to progression, especially for young people. Through studies and writings such as these, you can expect the physical landscapes of college campuses to have more impact on students’ decision on where to enroll, which equates to more dollars for schools with better spaces.
February 15th, 2016
Through the first half of this semester of English 1102 my outlook on writing has opened up in several different ways. The class structure itself is completely new to me and has been a learning experience alone. However, more than just how the class is designed but the subject matter has surprised me. Writing about the world around me through more than just words has shown me how creative writing can really be. Most english classes are based off of writing from secondary research while this class is fueled by students going out to compose primary research themselves and writing about it. Through this method, a completely unique work is formed every time. This semester is the first time I have ever done an annotated bibliography or a built environment description. So far the first three projects have shown me the different formats for different types of writing and how they all come together. I believe my peers and others who see the work I have done in this class will use it as an example or a guide on how to conduct research and document it. Writing in a blog is different than anything I’ve ever done for a class and I believe that it has help me become more aware that my writing is open to world once it is on the internet. Usually in english class a paper is written and emailed directly to the instructor and never published. Multimodality has helped me bring more life and reality to my writing than ever before because of how organic the assignments are.
The aspect of my writing that I want to improve on is my formality. I would like to get better in recognizing the formats for different forms of writing and being able to write a bibliography with little to no errors. I haven’t attempted any extra points activities yet because I have been balancing other coursework although when I get the chance I do plan to schedule a meeting to talk about how I can better devote time to this class. So far I am pleased with my effort in this class. I think the Desire 2 Learn Quizzes will be helpful extra credit opportunities for me.
One thing I plan to change about my approach to this class will be the time I allocate to it. I plan on starting to work on my projects earlier to ensure I give myself enough time to produce the best work I am capable of. This way I will have an even more accurate measurement of where my writing stands compared to where it should be. I think working more with the Writers Help 2.0 book will help me be a better writer when it comes to expressing ideas in a way that the reader can understand exactly what I am trying to convey.
Built Environment Description 1
The site I am describing for my exterior built environment description is the State Capitol Complex of Georgia in Downtown Atlanta. This site is most widely known for the golden dome of the Capitol building that sits among the city skyline, however, there is much more to the area. The State Capitol building was built in 1889 and has been named a national landmark. The complex takes up an area of about 5 acres and is embellished with beautiful magnolias and geraniums among many other flowers and well-trimmed hedges. As you walk around the building the calming smell of the landscape leads you to several statues of legendary figures in the history of the state of Georgia. It is somewhat ironic that the statues of these men have become very polarizing recently as they rest outside of the site where most of the debates in the state take place.
Surrounding the main building are several similar looking buildings that all have very different functions in the state government. As shown in my 3rd artifact, the State Supreme Court building has the same appearance as the Health building shown in my 4th artifact, both hugged together along with the rest of the five buildings on a set of 4 closely knit streets that lead to one another. Quiet political workplaces are separated only by busy Atlanta streets and sidewalks filled with pedestrians of all walks of life. Visually, the site of the sun setting through the halfway-bare trees that seem to be the only wildlife affected by the winter as squirrels dash across the lawn and birds gleefully land on the historically built light poles outside of the Supreme Court building. All the buildings are uniformly colored in a marble gray color signaling the serious political tone of the site. Also security booths indicate that everyone is not allowed inside, only authorized individuals.
Overall being in such an atmosphere made me feel as if I was apart of something much bigger than myself. The area is an intersection of everything Georgia. Most people only think of Atlanta but the Capitol stands for all of this state where many call home. By simply looking you can see and feel the age of the artifacts and buildings themselves but the reliability and consistency of the Government felt is very comforting and quite welcoming whether you are an authorized elected official, local pedestrian, or foreign tourist new to Georgia.