Cool Atlanta Blog: Digital BED is hip, modern tour guide to one of the coolest cities in America, Atlanta.  Furthermore, just like the city itself, the blog could be perceived to be a number of other adjectives besides simply “cool”.  The blog meets you at the front with a huge grayscale photo of an ariel view of a section of the city with the words “HELLO ATLANTA” plastered on top of it in white bold font.

Once you enter the site you’ll notice abundantly more white space with the focus meant to be drawn to the center of the page where most of the information is displayed. From new restaurant reviews to profiles of some interesting people of the city, the middle area of the page contains most of the information the site has to offer.  The posts scroll down in chronological order, which sets an organized precedent for the rest of your experience.  There is a horizontal main menu bar at the top of the page that separates posts based on content, like “coffee shops”, “events”, and “music”.

The spacious set up of the website invites visitors to comment. The minimal nature of the site also makes it easier to identify what the creator of the site wants you to focus on throughout each page.  Under the events tab, there are graphic organizers complete with pictures and captions instead of the same block articles most blogs use.  Features like this make the website seem to flow more easily.  Clicking on any part of the graphic organizer links you to the corresponding website for more information on the event.Overall, the website is very easy to navigate and very informative.  The digital space implies that the site is for people who already are somewhat familiar with the city of Atlanta due to lack of maps.

All in all, coolatlantablog is a trendy site for anyone looking to try something new in Atlanta.  The built environment of the site itself promotes interaction on the site as well as in the city as they introduce people of the city and tell about their lives.  The site is more of a blank canvas that is added to frequently, which is parallel to how some would view the city of Atlanta itself.

“Better Online Living through Content Moderation”: Reading Summary

Melissa King’s “Better Online Living through Content Moderation” is an article that discusses the use of online censorship features and how they are viewed in our society.  She includes online usage of blocks, mutes, and red flags that protect users against undesirable content as censorship.  She explains that these measures are necessary for people who suffer from ailments like PTSD and have to tailor their online experience to prevent anxiety.  Her main argument and her reason for writing, is the condescending behavior displayed by other members of the community that may not feel as vulnerable to online content or attacks.

Blocking someone is usually frowned upon although it is a reasonable way to handle an online issue with another person.  King fears that the way cyber bullying victims are treated is careless and inconsiderate.  She claims that online discomfort is a real problem and should not be shrugged off the way it has been.  For instance, the commonly heard suggestion to people who suffer from online problems is to “get over it” or to be less sensitive, however, that way of thinking is ignorant according to King.  The assumptions that a person can simply prepare themselves to deal with such trauma better is an incorrect allusion to Exposure therapy. Exposure therapy is basically when someone is exposed to more of the things associated with the things that is causing him/her discomfort in an effort to desensitize themselves.  The reason this is comparison is neglectful is that internet bullying can actually cause PTSD itself, not the things associated with online attacks.

She also points out that the younger generation of Americans, or millenials, are actually less sensitive than previous more political correct generations.  With that being said, everyone’s tolerance is different and everyone is not willing to exposed to the same things.  The argument that many make is that when certain groups on the internet are blocklisted due to content, the internet experience is being tailored to fit the wishes of one person who may be offended.  Although that is a serious concern, one can not ignore how heinous online attacks can be.  Often times people’s families are threatened and even scared into silence.  King writes about clubs like Gamergate that pride themselves on wreaking havoc through online encounters.  Instead of looking to stop Gamergate, people are often more critical of the people who fear the dangerous group.  Another dimension that can not be ignored is how frequent such abuse occurs.  Women who are present in predominantly male industries like the video game world are chronically subject to abuse.  Many people are essentially expecting these women to spend more time dealing with abuse that they haven’t brought among themselves.

To conclude, an all inclusive blanket of rules for the internet is inconsiderate to a large number of users.  It subjects people to illegal activities, PTSD triggers, and bullying that can easily be prevented.  This issue highlights the need for a social and cultural shift in America and the way we use the internet.  If bullying can be blocked in real life, it should be blocked also on the internet.

“Color Walking”: Reading Summary

“Color Walking” by Phia Bennin and Brendan McMullan is an article about a unique style of physical and mental exercise the two authors have found to be quite satisfying.  They got the idea from William Burroughs, who used it mainly to inspire his students.  He called the activity “color walks.”  A color walk is when you walk outside and select a color that catches your eye and you follow that color wherever you see it as you walk.

As the authors attempted a color walk, they decided to be more flexible and switch between different colors as they are exposed to different objects along the walk.  They began their walk in Manhattan and with their eyes set on the color blue.  Their quest to find blue would then shift to pink, and then violet.  Along with the description of their day entailed in their article is a timeline included.  The authors snapped photos of the objects that caught their attention throughout the walk such as a scarf, and a set of basketball courts in the city.

Finally, the authors added some advice for any readers who would like to try a color walk themselves and reflect on their own activities.  They warn that after a color walk colors will ring bright and vivid in one’s eyes and in mind as did theirs.  According to them, the best way to color walk is to allot at least an hour of time to it, select an attention-grabbing color to follow, and do not stress if you find yourself to be lost; because that is the whole point of the walk.

Color walking is a seemingly fun activity, driven solely off of the spirit of being spontaneous.  To some people, such as the authors, it may become a time consuming hobby, while others who are less open-minded may find it to be boring.  In their article, they pretty much assume that every one lives near a place full of excitement such as New York.  For instance, some people may live on a farm where the amount of new faces and places you can discover are limited.  Of course these people could travel somewhere exciting to color walk but that would somewhat defeat the purpose of the activity.

Another potential issue the authors neglected was the reality that it is sometimes unsafe to essentially wander the streets of a major city, especially in the downtown area.  It is an innocent activity with good intentions but large amounts of people yearly are victims of crime in New York as a result of not walking with a purpose or being somewhere they are not supposed to be.  The authors insist not to worry about getting lost, however that is a very legitimate concern.  Although the point is to become enamored in the good vibes of the colors and your surroundings, it would be irresponsible to lose track of time and location.

In conclusion, “Color Walking” by Phia Bennin and Brendan McMullan, is a carefree and feel-good article that ignores danger and reality.  The actual act of color walking may be a very positive thing indeed, but the article the authors composed is misleading.

How Atlanta’s Built Environment Fuels the Nationwide Hip-Hop Culture

The city of Atlanta, and its surrounding metropolitan cities, are home to many creative, urban youths.  Natives of these communities have pioneered several popular dance crazes, fashion trends, and viral rap songs through the help of the internet.  In fact, it seems as if the majority, if not all of the newest fads are first spotted in Atlanta these days.  The argument can be made that it is not a coincidence but more of a consequence, if you will.  In fact, the city of Atlanta has an undeniably strong influence on the music industry these days, particularly the hip-hop and R&B genres.  The built environment of areas such as Edgewood Avenue, East Atlanta Village, and Little Five Points have a cause and effect relationship with the prominence of successful music artists that sprout from the city.  These areas have unique vibes all given off by the culture that grows from them.  Straight, long boulevards that are narrow and easy to cross without stoplights lead to clubs and bars made of all brick that are fully dressed in spray paint, and vibrations from the exclusive new music being performed by the next big rap star upstairs.

Edgewood Avenue, perched on the eastern side of downtown, is easily one of the most culturally influential streets in the whole southeastern United States.  The street, which stretches through several neighborhoods, features some of the most active hip-hop clubs and bars in the city.  Nowadays, Atlanta is recognized as the hip-hop capital of the world as 26% of the artists currently charted on the Billboard Hot 100 are either from Atlanta or began their musical careers in the city.  One place where independent musical artists can get their start is a club posted on Edgewood known as The Department Store.  Department Store does not look like a department store, nor does it look like a hip-hop club.  It’s skinny, tall brick build resembles more of a tower, or even a warehouse.  The venue is two stories, and features windows among the top floor where one can see the crowd packed in to see the show, or even the performer from the street level outside.  Having windows that open up to the Atlanta night skyline not only allow spectators inside to have a scenic view, but also makes for the music to be more coherent and enjoyable even from outside.  That specific feature enables young people who are under 21 and ineligible to enter the venue enjoy the music and receive inspiration from it as well.  This allows for performers to build a fanbase larger than the room itself, but grab the attention of those walking Edgewood Ave casually as well.  For example, rapper ILoveMakonnen, who is currently signed to Warner Bros. Records was discovered by an engineer for the company while performing inside Department Store and being heard by the near-by executives who were partying elsewhere on the strip.  The road itself on this particular part of Edgewood is very narrow which allows for party-goers to j-walk freely across the street that is not very busy with cars.

View from outside Department Store

View from outside Department Store

Another factor of Edgewood’s built environment that enables it to remain relevant on the national rap scene: its close neighboring to Georgia State University.  Georgia State’s campus shares Edgewood with the rest of the hip-hop world.  A campus dining hall sits one half mile from Department Store and Church Bar.  This physically close relationship is what enables the youth of the city who may be limited transportation wise to stay involved in the scene and share their music with the world.  In 2013, a dance titled “Nae Nae” swept the nation as even first lady Michelle Obama couldn’t help herself from busting out the dance move.  The highly popular dance was created by WeAreToonz, a musical group that doubled as Georgia State Students at the time of their breakthrough.

Pedestrians who want to escape the loud performances of Department Store skip across the street to a another club with unorthodox physical characteristics; Church.  Church is a bar titled misleadingly with signs that claim it is not a bar at all.  Once again, the all brick, block build is not quite synonymous with that of a bar, however there is nothing reminiscent about this venue at all.  From across the street, creative paintings of Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus are visible inside the bar.  Depictions of two figures of such, especially in Atlanta, Georgia are usually taboo unless it is with respect.  Although the creativity and rule bending of the Church bar is not meant to offend anyone, it often does.  However, the average Edgewooder welcomes anything that is out of the ordinary.  It is almost impossible to not come up with new ideas, dance moves, and slang when one is partying to rap music and drinking alcohol in “church.”  Creative and edgy places like Department Store and Church promote the harvesting of new ideas through their contradictory names and controversial nature.  Physically, the two popular spots are very close to one another which allows for party hopping and spreading of new trends quicker.

View from across the street of Church Bar, crosses on the door are visible

View from across the street of Church Bar, crosses on the door are visible

A short walk down the road is a small building commonly used for retail sales of independent clothing lines.  The inside of the building is no larger than a two car garage which only allows for a small amount of customers to enter at one time and only a small amount of product.  The small stature of the room is appropriate because it is easier for a group of people to collect their belongings and vacate the shop in time for the next person to be able to sell his/her clothes the next night.  Because the building is so small only start up brands by beginning fashion designers with only a few different styles for sale can set up there.  The inability for a big business to take up that shop on Edgewood inspires everyday people who want to sell clothes to begin designing due to the fact that they will have somewhere to begin to get exposure at.  The low accessibility and awkward location makes the shop undesirable to big clothing brands and passes down the usage to the young, urban creatives of Edgewood.  This is where new fashion trends are made before being posted on the internet and become nationwide phenomenons among the youth.  From that very building is where the brand “God is Dope” currently is stationed.  The young adults behind the brand began selling them on the campus of Clark Atlanta University before taking to Georgia State and Edgewood.  These days God is Dope can be seen worldwide from being worn on stage by rappers to making appearances on the wardrobes of stars of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta ; a national reality television show that spoon feeds the rest of the country even more of Atlanta’s hip hop subculture.  

God Is Dope Pop up shop window, Edgewood Ave NE

God Is Dope Pop up shop window, Edgewood Ave NE

Additionally, Little Five Points, a shopping area on the east side of the city, is a breeding ground to originality by design.  Moreland Avenue trails quietly into the area filled with colorful scenery to match the colorful people that inhabit the space.  Brick buildings with alleyways allow for creative photo and video shoots in front of the art plastered in the background.  The buildings themselves are home to unorthodox shops full of rare products that are almost impossible to find anywhere else.  The famous “Criminal Records” sign heads a shop full of record players and vintage records that are widely extinct at this point.  However the business survives as if it is not the last of a dying breed.  Why? The people that regularly shop there are influenced by the culture supported by the built environment.  Due to the large popularity of the area, many big time artists are spotted taking pictures with fans and doing promo runs.  As popular as the area is, it is mostly crowded with “hipsters” or people who are on to new music and trends before anyone else.  Which is why popular rappers can walk through the area without being swarmed as much as he/she would anywhere else.  The commonness of rap artists intermingling with the trendsetters of the city further deepens the culture as the hip hop industry continues to thrive in Atlanta.  People in Atlanta attend 25% more rap concerts than residents of any other city in the world.  That statistic can be traced back to the “homecrowd effect” as most rappers these days are from Atlanta which means performing here caters to the artist’s main fanbase, or it can be attributed to something else such as the amount of concerts held in the city.  More rap concerts are held in Atlanta than anywhere else, partially because of a 5-day long gathering of the hottest artists in the industry held in the center of downtown known as A3C.

Buildings built on Edgewood as this one allow for street art that photoshoots and music videos use for backdrops

Buildings built on Edgewood as this one allow for street art that photoshoots and music videos use for backdrops

Pole on Edgewood Ave covered in flyers for open mic nights and performances in Department Store and around the city

Pole on Edgewood Ave covered in flyers for open mic nights and performances in Department Store and around the city

A unique music shop, as per usual in L5P and Edgewood

A unique music shop, as per usual in L5P and Edgewood

As thoroughly connected as the culture is with Edgewood and little five points, it runs even deeper throughout the city than just that.  The A3C hip-hop music festival held in Atlanta is the most popular of its kind. Held annually, the festival is the intersection of the mainstream and independent music industries.  The built environment of Atlanta is significant in acting as a good host city for the conference as the city allows for a few different transportation options when it comes to navigating the conference.  Atlanta has recently built rails into the ground of a string of streets to operate the Atlanta Streetcar.  During the A3C festival, it is free to ride the Atlanta Streetcar to get around to the site of your choice.  This built factor of the city ties the hip hop community together by bringing mainstream music professionals such as artists, producers, and engineers who are from out of town and do not know their way around the city on the streetcar along with independent musicians who are trying to network and make a name for themselves.  The purpose of the A3C festival is for up and coming hip-hop artists and talents to be discovered and to promote those who are already popular.  Factors such as the roads built for Atlanta Streetcar ensure that the festival is successful in that mission.

To conclude, the built environment of particular sections of the city of Atlanta promote forward thinking in the youth in several ways.  Atlanta can almost be viewed as a dry erase board that every generation erases and starts fresh with.  This generation has filled the city with new undertones of culture that can be looked at as an effect of the built environment.  Atlanta has its hand over the hip-hop industry and culture: formally and informally. From the annual BET hip-hop awards, to the open mic nights on Edgewood, everyone is watching the city to see who or what is coming next.  There are young people in every city, there are rappers and every city, what makes Atlanta special and brings the two together is the built environment. In simplest terms, the built environment is the reason why Atlanta in 2016 is reminiscent of San Francisco in 1849.  The youth, however do not come here for gold, they come for hip-hop.

Works Cited

“2015 A3C Festival & Conference [MAP].” 2015 A3C Festival & Conference [MAP]. N.p., 15 Jan. 2016. Web. 29 Apr. 2016.

Nielson, Local. “Atlanta Statistics and Market Research.” Nielson Local, 7 Apr. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.

“Rap Music: Top Rap Songs Chart | Billboard.” Billboard. N.p., 20 Apr. 2016. Web. 26 Apr. 2016.

Majestic Diner Inside View

Version 3From this angle it is easier to see the narrow walkway through the restaurant.  It is not very wide and goes straight back unlike many other restaurants of this era.  Due to this particular built environment, not a lot of walking is promoted, but more sitting and talking.  For the most part, people only got up to leave and nothing else.

Majestic Diner Seats

Version 3A close up of the rounded stools with red cushions as mentioned in the built environment description.  There are red accents throughout the restaurant that gives off a very retro feel.  The silver compliments the red coloring for a visually appealing theme.  The stools are fairly close to one another which doesn’t make for a very private experience at all.

Majestic Diner Front Door

Version 3 The front door of the Majestic Diner displays the 24 hour operating time and is just as iconic as the large sign atop the building.  The clear glass windows enable you to be able to see all the way to the back of the restaurant from the outside.  This kind of dynamic is unique among restaurants in Atlanta nowadays.

Majestic Diner “FOOD TO TAKE HOME” sign

Majestic Diner "Food to Take Home" signThe historic “FOOD TO TAKE HOME” sign perched high on Ponce De Leon Avenue is visible from very far distances and is a welcoming sight to hungry Atlantans.  The multi-colored signs has no dead bulbs and shines bright 24/7 as the restaurant is never closed except on holidays.  It lights up the otherwise gloomy February night sky in this sector of the city.

The Majestic Diner: Interior Built Environment Description

Mark Lamar

March 4, 2016

Interior Built Environment Description

The Majestic Diner in Atlanta, Georgia is where I conducted my research for my interior built environment description.  Located on Ponce De Leon Avenue near a cluster of other historic sites, the restaurant stands out as a unique spot from first glance.  From the outside, one can already begin to smell the freshly scrambled eggs as soon as you begin to approach the elaborate neon sign that brands the landmark.

When you finally reach the translucent glass entrance of the restaurant, you are free to seat yourself anywhere in the diner and begin to search the menu.  Round, bright light bulbs draw your attention to the most popular menu choices displayed high on the wall above the kitchen.  The inside of the building is decorated with several presumably historic pieces of art, commemorating the state of Georgia, and the city of Atlanta itself.  Red accents on the seats, booths and counters of the diner create a consistent, simple aesthetic that is pleasing to the eye and makes the font of the menu easy to read.  The inside may feel a bit crowded or clustered to some as the way the dining area is constructed is reminiscent of that of a shotgun house.

The way the grills and deep fryers are positioned directly in front of the patrons gives off a very down-home southern vibe.  It feels as if you are resting at your grandma’s while she cooks a hot meal for you to eat before you get back on the road.  And honestly, I feel that is why the Majestic Diner is so historic: the family element.  The uniform joyful southern drawl of the employees reciting orders and the freedom to plop down on a stool next to a complete stranger make the narrowly built restaurant more than just a place to eat.  It’s a place to gather.  Inside the Majestic Diner no matter who you are, you feel unified.  No matter who you choose to sit next to, both of you have at least one thing in common; you are both in for a delicious, hot plate of food.


Majestic Diner Menu/Kitchen: Artifact 3

Version 4The menu items most frequently ordered are displayed in bright lights above the kitchen where the orders are prepared.  The Majestic Diner is most well known for the omelettes served fresh daily at any time.  The employees freely maneuver from in front of and behind the counter constantly to fulfill the needs of each guest.