Archive of ‘Reading Summaries’ category

Reading Summary #6

colorwalk_2Color Walking”

“Color Walking”, is an article written by Phia Bennin and Brendan Mcmullan on June 29, 2012. In the beginning of the article, they talk about a tool dreamed up by Williams Burroughs to inspire his students. It involved the process of just walking out of the door, picking a color that catches your eye and while you walk just notice the objects that you come across with that same color; red bicyclist’s shorts, woman’s sunburned shoulders, and the paint on a fire hydrant. See simple enough right.

They even decided to go a little further by using more than one color and letting your eyes bounce from object to object, color to color. They began their walk in WNYC, located in lower Manhattan. They started their walk out the revolving doors introducing their eyes to their first color, blue, which led them to a woman wearing a scarf, then a girl with chipped nail polish, which then almost led then on the subway but being distracted by the blues led them in another way, on the blue basketball courts. After being distracted by the blues and basketball, they started on their second color, somehow they set their eyes on purple and not long after pink, a purple shirt drew them in first, worn by someone with sparkly eyes, which led them to leopard legs and then leopard legs and “legalize gay”  at an outdoor café, a man in pink. This walk lasted them from 4:09p.m. to 4:23p.m.

They talk about how they walked away from the experiment not only seeing the colors of the world but being able to acknowledge the colors in all forms.

The article wraps up by them giving advice on how to perform a color walk on our own. Being sure to let us know to give ourselves an hour of uninterrupted time, no plans, disruptions commute or errands just strictly eye time. Then once we have time cut out to experiment, we should pick a color or maybe even let the color jump out to our eyes and choose us.  The final advice and key to this experiment was, if we get lost, to choose another color, and if we get really lost, we will know that we are on the right track.

I realized how useful and important it is to sometimes just turn our brains and cell phones off and just pay attention to the world. A lot of times if you walk downtown or are just outside, if you pay attention, you will see that many people who are in passing seem to do so while on their phones, sometimes keeping their heads down the entire time, blocking out their surroundings.

As I read the comments, as  I usually do, I noticed someone stated that children do this all the time through a game called I-spy. I am sure many of us are familiar with this game, in which a child fixes their eyes on an color and object and says “I spy with my little eye…”. Even though children will think nothing of it, that game is teaching them to be alert, to pay attention to detail and allowing them to see the world for all that it is. And as an adult, I actually love the idea of a color walk because it is something simple and easy to do, but brings a lot of perspective about the world we live in. after all, color is perceptive, which is also know to bring forth emotions. We have to start “seeing” the world in color, through a new perspective than the one were used to , before we can enjoy the world and all the differences and emotions these colors bring forth.

Reading Summary #5

“Better Online Living through Content Moderation” Melissa King

“Better Online Living Through Content Moderation”, is an article written by Melissa Kings. In this article she discusses the uses of block and ignore functions, content/trigger warnings, block lists and privacy options that help to improve one’s computer experience by dismissing content that one chooses not to see. She goes into further detail as to what kind of people who would benefit from these content managers, such as those who suffer from PTSD who are avoiding triggers or topics that could cause anxiety, those with limited patience and anyone who wants to improve their online experience. After all, no one should have to view any content that they would prefer not to.

In this article she mentions that those who prefer to use these content moderators are criticized as being too “weak” or “sensitive”, which then creates the stigma for people to expose themselves to things that they cannot handle or is too much, whether it be violence, graphic content or even cyber-attacks due to an disagreement or in some cases intentional provoking of attacks or violence.

She then began to discuss the arguments against content control. One being that people tend to blow abuse and harassment received out of proportion and therefore should be less sensitive in terms of coping. This has been the greatest argument of them all. The term she associated with that argument is exposure therapy. Kings discussed this term by saying through gradual exposure you will be able to overcome these triggers. In other words, the more you are exposed to something, the less you will be effected. Which is not necessarily true especially for PTSD victims because overexposure can magnify the trauma instead of heal it.

She goes on to say that this is only one aspect as to how open our younger generations are to complex and emotional content and how they now suffer from a great pushback against sensitivity and political correctness in the western culture. She then discusses how ignorance is depicted through media and myth about the truths of PTSD and it not being something that only veterans suffer from, but can also stem from cyber-attacks. She also included a statement from Caleb Lack, who is a psychologist specializing in anxiety disorders who spoke out on the truth of disorders and the effects of cyber bullying on mental health.

She then goes on to discuss the uses of block lists towards hate groups, how to opt into them and the compelling arguments against them that come from those who haven’t done the harassing.

The article ends with the discussion of how vicious these online attacks can be and the dangers that they can cause even going as far as harassing and calling family, and posting personal information.  Which is why having these content blockers, and block lists are useful for those who want and desire to use them at their own whim for the purpose and security of themselves and to protect their mental health from the unpleasant and anxiety-triggering trolling and cyber bullying.


King, Melissa. “Better Online Living Through Content Moderation,” Model View Culture 28 (October 14, 2015). Web:

Reading Summary #4

His and Hers: Designing for a Post-Gender Society is an article published on Metropolis magazine which is written by Suzanne Tick in March of 2015. She is the creative director for Teknion Textiles and also the United States’ number one leading textiles designer.  In this article she argues for gender neutrality in the workplace.

The article opens up talking about how society’s roles of traditional females and males are changing. This is mostly due to the advancements of science and technology. She begans to address how designers should be on the lookout for advancement too, in order to accommodate these cultural changes in order to promote acceptance as society has.

We address how feminism is now making its way into this once male dominant society. For many years males have always been dominated in power, certain job fields and in top offices, with the example being that eighty-five percent of IT and web design being male.

Emma Watson’s “He for She” movement speech has went viral causing a lot of support for gender equality. Currently, gender roles have been altered in the workplace as women become more important. With all of this taking place, the actual designs of places have become a lot softer creating a gender neutral working environment with open windows, carpet and textiles.

She talks about how gender roles have been switched and that fashion and beauty were the first to embrace this change by some making products like makeup more appealing for men, and women’s coats getting a masculine, militia cut. She then goes on to discuss the confusion of gender roles in today’s society. Which I believe was inevitable.  Nothing is solely for women or for men these days. Especially given the fact that now we have children who oppose to being identified by either male or female at school, but rather just an individual.

We also discuss the recent changes in corporations in adopting gender-neutral atmospheres such us workplaces and not to mention bathrooms, which seems to be a great deal debate. The idea is to grow with society’s advancements allowing everyone to feel a sense of inclusion and acceptance all while feeling comfortable in their work environments or in any places open to the public.

She then speaks about how girls are dressed like boys and boys dressed like girls and how adrogony is truly taking place in today’s society. People have the opportunity to be whatever and play whatever roles they want to these days and how schools and fashion designers have become accepting of these things in ways of creating multistall restrooms and creating clothing designs that fits individuals and not just females or males.

Tick then discusses the trans CEO of United Therapeutics, who is the highest paid female executive in the United States, who was biologically born male. This goes to show how things has made a tremendous turn around and this is only the beginning.As we made advancements in our society,we must stay alert and ahead with our design to help implement change.

Reading Summary #3- Making Bathrooms More Accommodating

Making Bathrooms More Accommodating, is an article written by Emily Bazelon. This article was published by The New York Times Magazine in November 2015. With all the new changes in our society, given the LGBT community, the openness of transgender people and the transitioning phase, this article seems to have come right on time.

In the article. Bazelon talks about the up in the air discussion about the gender specific bathroom and shower/locker room laws which arises the three questions that transgenders would want to be addressed. Those questions range from the topic of signage(what do we about it/ do we get rid of female/male restrooms, architectural design-creating multistalls of said bathrooms and most importantly who gets access where (should a person who identifies as male enter into a female restroom or vice versa).

Going to the restroom in public is something that we all find ourselves having to do, but one thing we all have in common is the sense of feeling comfortable when entering into a bathroom and shower/locker room. Which is why this article brings up an important discussion as to how we plan on accommodating transgender people, whether we want to or not. See one thing about this is, as society changes, we tend to want to make everyone feel comfortable, welcomed and most importantly equal, but as we create new laws to form equality, there are other things that must be in line for that to take place. For example: we establish that any said transgender person should be acknowledged as the preferred gender of their choice, but if we acknowledge a male as a female, why would it not be okay for them to enter into a restroom designed for females and of course the same would be considered for a female wanting to be addressed as a male.

This article talks about the concerns of both transgenders and also those who oppose the “Bathroom Ordinance. In Houston, Texas those who opposed this law created television ads and shirts of harassment of women by males in restrooms, which is something that many of those opposers would be afraid of and a good reason for the unwillingness to conform to this new law of accommodation.

In this article, Bazelon speaks about a twelve year old male transitioning into a female, and how she requested to change alongside her peers in the locker room and the denial of that request, which led to a civil rights lawsuit that then resulted in “her” being able to change alongside her peers with a privacy curtain that even others can take privacy in as well.

The article then goes on to discuss how female and male bathroom separation came into existence and the comparison to the “water closets in the Victorian Era” that separated men and women. We talk about women and their desire for female privacy, and camaraderie that we break into when we head to the bathrooms for chatty talk time with other females and why it would be a disturbance to welcome male anatomy into our place of privacy and protection  while we relieve ourselves and socialize in peace.

The article then begins to discuss the oversimplification of transgenders and their biological chromosomal makeup. Here we discuss their desires for inclusion the same way we provide ways for those with disabilities and what would help them feel just as included.

In this article it gave me great insight of how they may feel, especially in the ending of the article where it discusses the twelve year old who states she feels a sense of normality when she’s around other girls in the locker rooms, instead of feeling overexcited as if she is anything different. What sums it up to me is that it’s not them that feel uncomfortable in their bodies but it is us.

The article wraps up by giving two possible accommodations: invisibility-not looking at or speaking to anyone and gender proof- showing physical characteristics that show that you belong there. (pretty genius)

Reading Summary: Architectural Exclusion

Architectural Exclusion: Discrimination and Segregation Through Physical Design of the Built Environment by Sarah Schindler opens up discussing how some of the man-made features such as bridges created difficulty for certain individuals, typically the poor and the people of color, buses could not pass through these low built bridges which were designed to keep those individuals from accessing the beach. The separation from the wealthy and the poor were created through highways that help prevent integration, walls and fences.

In the opening we discuss Atlanta’s MARTA train and the opposing views on expanding into the suburban areas which would restrict people of color from accessing jobs in those areas. This article discusses the many subtle but clear ways that the environment has constructed the division between the wealthy and poor population through physical design. This contributes to separation of economic status, inequality and exclusion of and for the poor people.

In part one we discuss architectural exclusion and how we never tend to give a second thought at why buildings or park seats are created the way that they are. We think of them as social norms but in actuality there were masterminds at work giving meaning to every detail that we bypass without a blink, constraining our behavior through design. We discuss how architecture is never really thought of as regulation. We go deep into detail about the powerful and meaning role that architectural design plays in our society and creating barriers for access and integration. We also discuss the importance of not understating the significance behind space, place and mobility and how easy it is to get away lawfully with these architectural designs because of the less visibility to lawmakers and courts. Because lawmakers sometimes turn their cheeks to this form of regulation, architectural design can be very powerful with nothing or no one to oppose it.

We also discuss how physical barriers were created to exclude the population from access of certain areas. Of course we cannot create a law that states were poor or colored people can and cannot go but with architectural designs we can make it physically difficult without anyone questioning the architect’s intentions. We also discuss the genius idea of sidewalk design, which I always imagined was strictly for the safety of the pedestrians, but as I find out today sidewalks or the lack of sidewalks in some neighborhoods was not a mistake or some sort of unfinished design but actually an intentional and premeditated attempt to prevent people from crossing streets or walking through the neighborhoods.

Local governments also create exclusionary designs through the community. Some of these barriers are intended to create privacy and protection as well. We talked about the traffic diverter in Ohio which was named the “Berlin Wall for black people” by people in Cleveland.

We discussed the placement of transit stops, highway routes, bridge exits, roads infrastructure as well as dead ends, confusing signage and residential parking permits. In closing we discuss how difficult and unsafe some of the architectural designs make it for those less fortunate to be able to enjoy the community life that they are purposely barred and excluded from.

Reading Summary #2: Tapestry of Space

In the article Tapestry of Space: Domestic Architecture and Underground Communities in Margaret Morton ’ s Photography of a Forgotten New York, Morton opens up describing underground and above ground homes that the homeless build from fragments, scraps and all sorts of materials. She discusses how essential shelter is and how ones identity is derived from it. She also states how no home is permanent leaving people with a fragile sense of identity. She breaks it down to discuss what it really means to be homeless and how many of us are homeless in different aspects we would have never considered. She discusses how stability isn’t guaranteed for the homeless or the housed due to closed off tunnels and home demolition.  This goes to show that being homeless and being housed is not a binary. It seems as if it is no longer about the foundation of where you lay your head but more so about the stability behind that foundation, because clearly we can all be homeless within a blink of an eye; one wrong decision, missed payment or even a natural disaster.

It truly makes me think about the true meaning of homeless, we all have a depiction of what it means and looks like to be homeless, but reading this article lets me know that there is so much more to it than just being without a home. Because those without an actual mortgaged or rented home still find ways and means to have shelter for themselves and their families, by building a home of their own under bridges, tunnels and alley ways, building places of peace through artistic expression.

. Morton also talks about how her interviewees use space as a creative guide, building on space and not treating the environment as a commodity.. They build on space using found materials and personal items in ways that do not treat the environment as a commodity. tunnel life was described as being a functional way of living, more so described as living in a art museum, full of expression and not just a place for primal survival. Morton discusses the role of the urban photographer, as well as material production, New York photography, Situationist International’s and the goal to rid the division between art and life and to examine everyday life completely. The article also talks about tunnel life and those who society has frowned upon.Morton also discusses public space,city attractions, and domestic architecture