“Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces”

In the article “Recognizing Campus Landscapes as Learning Spaces” by Kathleen G. School and Gowri B. Gulwadi, the authors make a case calling for campuses to incorporate green spaces in their landscapes to help recharge students’ ability to pay attention. Because college asks for students to devote many hours a day of concentration and devotion students begin to lose the ability to seriously focus. With the inclusion of technology and smartphones in this generation, it also reduces the focus levels the students have. Historically, colleges and universities were stationed in predominately rural areas where they were surrounded by natural landscapes and green spaces.

This picture portrays Marist College in 1960, surrounded by nature and in a rural area which Scholl and Guwaldi claim claim helps regenerate student’s direct attention. Lane, John. Bird’s-Eye view of Marist College Campus. Early 1960’s. Photograph. Marist College Archives, New York.

With the introduction of federal grants and the rapid increase of student enrollment after World War II, open spaces were used to house new buildings which reduced the natural landscapes. In the article, Scholl and Gulwadi use a quote from Frederick Law Olmstead stating that “natural scenery employs the mind… and gives the effect of refreshing rest and reinvigorates the whole system” (Bratman, Hamilton, & Daily, p. 124). This backs up their statement that natural scenery helps students recharge their ability to pay attention and focus more on challenging subjects. The authors also bring up the concept of ART which stands for Attention Restoration Theory which states that “interaction with nature has specific recovery effects on the human attentional system” (Scholl & Gulwadi, 54), which serves as more proof of their main ideas. After prolonged focusing and mental attention being used, the authors state that students will struggle with demands of school and start to see a decline in success on assignments, and social changes which would make them more likely to be hostile and less friendly. Also presented in the article is the idea that a student’s over college experience is possibly affected by the ability to recharge their attention span through surrounding nature. The question of “what is considered nature?” is then proposed and the authors include a diagram of the different sources and forms of nature. In conclusion, Scholl and Gulwadi wrap up the piece by recalling that openand natural spaces are vital to providing regeneration of attention spans of students and providing a great college learning environment.


Mid-Term Reflection

Information presented to me by this class’ coursework has proven to enhance my style of writing. In the past I have learned that when writing summaries to include commentary and information attained from further research to build on what the author has said. In this class I have learned that summaries should include nothing but a shorter form of what was written, how it was written and what is trying to be portrayed through the words. What I have learned about research and writing for this class is how to properly write an annotated bibliography because in the past I did not cite things properly and summarize the information properly. Writing for the built environment has taught me a lot on reflecting on my environment, which helps build patience and awareness. Sitting and reflecting on what I observed through the course of the hour at the Atlanta beltline made me realize things I have never see before even though I frequently visit the trail. The rhetorical situation for the compositions I have written in this class are as follows: The subject of my compositions have been on built environment and what all it means and how it is represented in and around the city of Atlanta, as a writer I have to compose works which reflect on what I have learned, and the readers must be properly informed by what I have to say but not persuaded to feel any way by my works. The audience we are trying to appeal to are others interested in Atlanta’s built environment and other topics which include history and rhetoric of different places in the city of Atlanta. Writing and composition using a blog is different from past writings I have done because I have to think about how the aesthetic of everything I post and the blog and how it affect the reader and their willingness to even read the article in full or not. Including different types of media enhances the work and engages the reader in multiple ways. Including these media types has definitely opened me to different styles and encourages my use of new strategies to analyze and summarize the media used.

Some of my strengths as a writer during work from this class is definitely how in depth I go when analyzing things. I think learning about intriguing topics such as the city of Atlanta and all its quirks really engages me and makes me strive to be attentive to my work. An aspect of my writing I want to work on is not including my personal opinion on things when it is not asked for and appropriate e.g. my summaries. For extra points I have attended office hours/ study groups which I believe was substantially helpful because for the first few weeks I had no idea how to work anything on this website or how to even access the weekly overview. I am not satisfied with the effort I have put into the class thus far. I feel like online classes are too much for me to handle but there’s a little character trait called perseverance. My workload with other classes is overwhelming me and causing me to focus less and less on this class.

I will change my approach to the remaining reading summaries and more that are due in the future. Based on what I have learned from the previous assignments I need to set reminders that things are due at least 3-4 days in advance to let myself know that things are due so I can work on each assignment in increments instead of all at once. I also need to include more media to enhance the readers and the level of engagement. Extra point activities I will incorporate into my weekly workload are the extra credit materials and submitting more of my pictures and sounds. Adding in these activities will help me improve as a writer because it will reenforce what I have learned from the reading. Overall I believe this reflection was beneficial because it made me ponder on my strengths and weaknesses during this English 1102 course and now I can make changes to better my work.

The Atlanta Beltline as a Built Environment

For my exterior Built Environment study I took a trip to the Atlanta Beltline. The Atlanta Beltline trail I studied is the Eastside Trail. IT stretches from Irwin Street (a block from the Krog Street Market), and runs all the way to Piedmont Park at the intersection of 10th street and Monroe Drive. It lies in the Virginia-Highlands neighborhood of East-Atlanta and stretches from Downtown Atlanta to Midtown. The Eastside Trail was officially completed and opened on October 15th, 2012. Along the trail are many important artifacts such as sculptures, paintings, graffiti, and murals. These artifacts are scattered randomly along the Eastside trail but all within close enough distance to keep the average attention-span intrigued the whole way. The layout of the site is in a linear form as the trail does not loop around, although the city plans to connect the Eastside trail to the rest of the Beltline when it is completed when funding is complete. The Beltline is easy and open to navigate for people who get on through the Ponce City Market, Virginia- Highlands entrance or in Midtown. People who live in nearby apartments frequently complain about how bushes, landscape and gates prevent them form accessing the Beltline through the backdoors of their residencies. This makes me feel as if the brush is not kept trimmed to prevent people from lower-class neighborhoods from entering the Beltline.  This site is very appealing to many people of different ages and demographics. It can be used for multiple things such as leisure, exercise, shopping at the Ponce City Market, or even commuting to work. This sites uses are advertised through social media, signs along the Beltline and appealing attractions along the trail. When enjoying the Beltline many patrons stop to check out the local shops and eateries near on along the Beltline. The Atlanta Beltline serves as a safe environment for bikers, skateboarders, and people on foot to enjoy the city life while engaging with art and fellow Atlantans.

Atlanta Beltline: Digital Artifact 5

IMG_0267This picture is of two graffiti Gay Pride flags in the equal sign form and under it the markings read “Trans is Beautiful”. This is an accurate representation of Atlanta because it is known as the “gay capital of the south” and also hosts the third largest gay population in the United States. This is important that it is tagged at the Atlanta Beltline because the Beltline supports expressing oneself through art.

Atlanta Beltline: Digital Artifact 4

IMG_0307This picture of railroad tracks can be found at the Eastside Trail. It is important because the Atlanta Beltline is meant to cover the 27 miles of railroad tracks that are no longer in use. Currently only a few miles of the tracks have been covered in three different sections of the Beltline. The city of Atlanta plans on increasing the amount of trail when they secure more funding be it private, federal or local funding.

Atlanta Beltline: Digital Artifact 3


This sound file was recorded at the Historic Fourth Ward Skate Park. It is located off of the Eastside Trail and is frequented by skaters of all ages and offers something for everyone at each skill level. The park was partially funded by professional skateboarder Tony Hawk and opened in early 2011.

Atlanta Beltline: Digital Artifact 2


Depicted here is the Ponce City Market. Prior to being the Ponce City Market it stood as a Sears, Roebuck & Company and after that served as Atlanta’s City Hall. In 2012 it was purchased and leased out in increments to businesses and rented out to tenants. The building now hosts 20+ eateries, apartments, a parking garage, and will soon be the home to a few new offices.

Atlanta Beltline: Digital Artifact 1


The Atlanta Beltline’s Eastside Trail is used for many activities. This picture specifically showcases it as a haven for two friends to take a leisurely stroll and enjoy conversation and each others’ company.  Further ahead a man is walking his Chow Chow and proves the Beltline to be pet friendly as they encountered no problems on their trip.

“Mayor Reed Transfers 10 Property Deeds to APS”

Saporta, Maria. “Atlanta Mayor Kasim Agrees to Transfer 10 Property Deeds to APS.” Saporta Report. N.p., 04 Feb. 2016. Web. 05 Feb. 2016. <http://saportareport.com/53810-2/>.

The article “Atlanta Mayor Transfers Property Deeds to APS” by Maria Saporta is important to our studies of the rhetoric of built environment for many reasons.  Saporta  aims to inform the readers of Mayor Reed’s plans to make amends with the Atlanta Public Schools over their budget cuts taken to help fund the Atlanta Beltline. Because the schools took budget cuts to support the Beltline, the schools were promised repayments which would be generated form the Beltline’s tax revenues. Because rthe city had not sent these repayments as they had promised, “the Atlanta Board of Education filed a lawsuit against the City last spring to gain control of the deeds of four former APS schools”. The Atlanta Public School system planned to use the vacant schools to sell to private firms who would revamp the school or land it was on. This is important because the turnout of the vacant schools could prove to help the area or add on to the built environment. Positively it could allow for new economic growth in the generally low-income areas, or it could lead to more gentrification and marginalized citizens having no other option but to leave their homes.

“The Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail”


Pittam, Rod. The Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail. 2010. Atlanta. The Atlanta Business Chronicle. Web. 5 Feb. 2016. <http://www.bizjournals.com/atlanta/morning_call/2015/12/city-of-atlanta-and-aps-closer-on-beltline-tax.html>.

This image is a perfect depiction of the Atlanta Beltline as it showcases the Beltline being a mixed-use trail. The Atlanta Beltline in this picture shows local residents, biking, running, and walking and a very diverse age range of people utilizing it. Many people use it for commuting to work, going shopping, exercise, or even for leisure time. This picture is also important because it includes a view of the once up and running business in the background which usually stands today as apartments or businesses along the Beltline. The revamping of these abandoned warehouses has proven to only expand the success of the Beltline by bringing in tax revenue and also bringing in new residents to the area. The revamping of local warehouses to bring revenue into the Beltline is exampled by the renewal of the Sears, Roebuck & Co. building in Atlanta into the Ponce City Market.