May 12, 2008

Final Trip to A.C.E.S. @ Cityview

As with my first trip this year to A.C.E.S., because of a long layoff, I got a little lost on the bus transfers. Luckily, I made it there with a few minutes to spare. I was the only general volunteer to make it in today, probably because it is finals week. I teamed up with Chad because he was covering for a leader who couldn't make it today, and he needed someone to watch the kids if he had to step out. Our group worked on decorating paper grocery bags for an organization that delivers groceries to people with HIV/AIDS, MS, or other debilitating diseases that would make it difficult to go get groceries. The group was a relatively orderly group of about 12 4th graders, so it didn't get too out of control while they were decorating their bags whenever Chad was not around.
Buttt, some of the kids learned a "fun" class distractor that I also learned at that age: poppers. To make a "popper", you fold a piece of paper twice, pull out the inside fold slightly, then whip your arm down and the "popper" should make a loud pop. First it was just 1 or 2 kids who were popping them in the corners, but when they started to run around, the poppers spread throughout the class. When it started to get a little out of hand and I was the only "adult" in the room, I took it upon myself to whip up a popper of my own in order to get the class's attention. When the did pop it (the loudest pop of the day, I might add) though, besides their amazement that their awkward white "teacher" could make a popper, I became an impromptu teacher of how to make a popper. Rather than actually teach them, I only showed them the basics, so as to not ruin the next rest of the year for the 4th grade teachers at Cityview. By the time Chad came back from making his rounds, all the kids had finished their bags and were pretty much under control. After clean up, Chad gathered all the groups into the pod to present student of the month awards as well as the presentation of the writing contest winners. Once all of the kids had received their awards, we made a short trip to the gym to run around before the kids headed home. Afterwhich, I thanked Chad for a good year, and made my final trip back on the 22. I really enjoyed my time at A.C.E.S. this year and I hope to help again in the future.

May 7, 2008

Blog Prompt 9: Ensure Environment Sustainability Presentation

Target 1:
Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources

Progress Indicators:
1. Proportion of land area covered by forest
2. Ratio of area protected to maintain biological diversity to surface area
3. Energy use (kg oil equivalent) per $1 GDP
4. Carbon dioxide emissions per capita and consumption of ozone-depleting CFCs
5. Proportion of population using solid fuels

Target 9:
Cut in half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015

Progress Indicators:
6. Proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source, urban and rural
7. Proportion of population with access to improved sanitation, urban and rural

Target 3:
Have achieved by 2020 a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers

Progress Indicators:
8. Proportion of households with access to secure tenure

Region of Response: India
7th largest country in area, 2nd in population at over 2 billion
urban sprawl is eliminating environment around cities
rainforests are being cut down to expand farms and make money for the farmers
electronics recycling is polluting the surrounding environment with toxins from the circuit boards

Realm of Response: Architecture

Charles Correa is building homes for free in India that give families a home on a fair sized plot of land with a courtyard, water tap, doorstep, and a nearby community center.

Also, this group felt that mass transit should be built leading to unsettled areas to make the routes more efficient.

Overall, this goal has so far covered 3/4ths of the indicators.

Blog Prompt 8: Eradicate Extreme Poverty and Hunger Presentation

Target 1.
Cut the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day in 1990 in half by 2015.

Progress Indicators for Target 1:
1. Proportion of population below $1 per day
2. Poverty gap ratio [incidence x depth of poverty]
3. Share of poorest quintile in national consumption

Target 2:
Cut the proportion of people who suffer from hunger in 1990 in half by 2015.

Progress Indicators for Target 2:
4. Prevalence of underweight children under five years of age
5. Proportion of population below minimum level of dietary energy consumption

Region of Response: Ethiopia
23% of Ethiopia's population lives on less than $1 a day.
47.2% of children under 5 in Ethiopia are underweight

Realm of Response: Organization

SEDA: They work to improve irrigation to increase crop yields, help Ethiopian dairy farmers connect to urban markets, and to create household income projects that would help improve the economy of Ethiopia.

Alchemy World: They are working to deliver a longterm solution to poverty in Ethiopia through their innovative education program. Their program educates talented youth, the youth start businesses, then the youth give back to the program, creating a never-ending cycle.

Design for the other 90%: They work to reduce poverty and hunger by designing products for the poor of the world.
New products include: straws that instantly filter water when you use them, a simple block press that can form bricks using much less cement than normal, and an water transport device dubbed the "Q drum".

Target 1: Those living under $1 a day has been cut by 8.3% since 1990

Target 2: Those living in hunger has been cut in half since 1990

April 21, 2008

Third Trip to A.C.E.S. @ Cityview

No long layoff this time due to cancelled days or a break, so I made it back to A.C.E.S. today right on schedule. Getting their by bus has gotten a lot easier (minus my hustling for getting extra hours on my bus transfer), so I got to Cityview pretty early. George, my group leader from my last visit, was not there, so I stayed with his kids as they merged into the group that I worked with my first week at A.C.E.S..
We started this combined group with some homework time. Seeing as it was a Monday, the kids did not have any homework to do. Without any homework to do and half the normal amount of group leaders, the kids started to get a little out of hand. But, they settled down when the presenters for the day, a green energy firm in St. Paul, began their presentation. They detailed new methods that they're using to create energy in a more sustainable fashion. They concluded their presentation with a game for the kids to test how much they had paid attention for the presentation. Thing started to get a little out of hand after they left as the kids were anxious to go play in the gym, but they eventually settled down and we left for the gym. At the gym I played one-on-one with a 4th grader I played against in my last time, and I lost in a hardfought game 9-11. Overall, it was another good trip to A.C.E.S. and I hope to avenge my loss the next time I come around.

April 7, 2008

Second Trip to A.C.E.S.

After a very long layoff from A.C.E.S. due to spring break, I made my second trip there today. The bus trip there went a lot smoother this time around, considering that I actually knew where I was going this time. The day started the same as the last time, only when we chose which groups that we were working with, I switched it up and joined George's group of six 4th graders. I chose the smaller group this time around to get a taste of how they would be run in comparison to my group of twenty during my last trip to A.C.E.S.
Our group learned about energy today and where energy comes from in the food that we eat. The kids learned the vocabulary words calorie, carbohydrate, lipid, and protein and it was my job to help the children out and keep them concentrated on the lesson. After our talk about energy, our group went on a much longer trip to the gym for freetime. Thankfully my shot has returned slightly, so now I only lose to 6th graders. Another great day at A.C.E.S. in the books.

April 1, 2008

Title Pages

In the creation of these three title pages, I chose to go at it from three different ways.

First was a straight forward approach in which the layout is basic and provides easily understood images and text:

Secondly, I went about the page in a way which the reader would understand what the problem was through text, as well as who was most affected through the image:

Thirdly, I decided to experiment with a more obscure, provacative image to see if anything came of it. I'm not sure that this would be acceptable as a final title page, but I think that it could lead to better things:

Overall I like the second image the most, but I'd have to work on creating a better title as well as finding a more suitable font.

March 11, 2008

Blog Prompt #6: Term Project Stylllzzzzz

My group's Millenium Goal is to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Because of the implications of this topic, I feel that our project layout should be subtle, clean, and not very "flashy". For example, the style of this page layout from Graphis could work because it is nicely organized through its use of placing a wide shot and the detail shots on seperate pages: clean.jpg

Also, for the pages in which we give details of our finding, this layout may work because it does a nice job in seperating the paragraph, photos, and photo captions:

And, this type of layout could work well with our project because it again seperates the main shots from detail shots as well as places the photo captions in a pleasant place, leaving plenty of white space: bag.jpg

March 4, 2008

Blog Prompt #5: Campus

The built environment on this campus has affected who I am and how I go about my daily life. For example, I live in Comstock and therefore I live right next to the union and within a relatively close walking distance to most campus building. Within this framework, I live near the Gopher Express and the M Deli at the union, so I buy many more things there than I do at C3 in Centennial (even though C3 has a better selection and somewhat lower prices).
M-Deli-150.bmp > C3-150.jpg

One clockwork that I live "at the mercy" of is the timing of my classes. At the beginning of the semester, I thought it would be smart to have Mondays and Fridays off and only 50min of class on Wednesday. Because of this creative scheduling job, I have really hectic Tuesdays and Thursdays. Also, because of my 4 day weekends, I usually get thrown out of my school rhythm and my classwork occaaaasionally suffers. But, this is the schedule that I picked and I now work my life around this clockwork.

The phenomena that I live in is simply "college life". I spend my own money to live in a small room in the middle of campus and I have to walk a solid 10 min to the superblock or the rec if I ever want to enjoy myself. My year here is divided into the two semesters and one of my purposes is to leave with a degree. While that all is tightly structured, over the course of this year I have definately changed as a person and have gone through many new experiences, such as all nighters involving x-acto knifes and paper.

The main opposition that I've found in my experience here 6 hours north of my hometown is that of the snow. The campus has fought against the snow through its constant maintainance of the walkways and streets. Also, the tunnel system has kept me out of the very worst of weather as I walk to work in Dinkytown or over to the Superblock, so GO TUNNELS! View image

This lies in the opposition of movement of people, and I feel that I works very well. Overall, the frameworks, clockworks, phenomena, and oppositions here at Minnesota have mostly changed me for the better as well as made the college experience more enjoyable.

March 3, 2008

First Trip to A.C.E.S. at Cityview

Heading into my first day with A.C.E.S., I didn't know what to expect. I almost never made it there though, because I almost missed my stop on the bus. Luckily I recognized someone from class and decided that it would be smart to follow them blindly. She led me right where I needed to be and I was off and running. After all of the volunteers met up in the main office we spread out to the cafeteria, where the kids joined their groups and the newbies chose which group to tag along with. I chose to join the group of 4th grade girls led because I had never really worked with young girls before and I wanted to jump in head first on my first day.
As a part of our group's sportscasting curriculum, Tampa Bay Rays public address announcer Rusty Kath spoke to us for the entire class period. Rusty told stories about his start while in college at the University of Minnesota-Morris and how he was able to move up in the ranks from college to the St. Paul Saints to the Rays. I enjoyed the talk, but I think that he was kind of talking over the children's heads. After his talk, a few kids in the group were encouraged to share their sportscasting project, which was to write a short game summary as if they were a tv sports anchor. They were shy in sharing them, but the projects were very good and probably better than what I could've done at their age. After our in-class time, the group went off to the gym for freetime to end the day. While there, I realized that my free throw shooting has regressed to the point where I am worse than 4th graders. Awesome. Overall, I had a very postive experience on my first day.

February 24, 2008

Blog Prompt #4: Holed up in the Appalachians

If I was completely released from architecture school and sent into the world as a "semi-skilled", "some college" kinda dude, I would hopefully go off to East Kentucky with my MIG welder and air compressor.

My first experience with East Kentucky and Appalachia was two summers ago when I went on an Appalachian Service Project with my church. There we worked in teams to rehab people's houses for free. It was a great experience and the environment was beautiful. But, I couldn't help but notice that most of the streams and roadsides were filled with random junk (bikes, appliances, car parts, etc.)

To help out those in Appalachia, I would clean up what I could in places and try to create art out of it. If I was actually able to sell this junk "art", I would donate some of the profit back into the community. I have minimal experience in doing this kind of thing, as creating "junk art" was my concentration in AP Studio Art last year. Just as an example, I'll show you into internet land the process of how I created my only decent project.

My concentration was to transform something into something similar at varying degrees. It ranged from my 1st project, turning a bike into a bike, to turning Sunkist Lemonade cans into Icarus flying too close to the sun. Here's my first project:
I found a bike somewhat like this one for $5 at the local Salvation Army:
bike before.jpg

Then, I spent a week chopped and welding it into something that was still a bike, but nothing close to a bike.

Aaand here is the result, my only half-decent project, with my face convienently cropped out:

Overall, if I was to leave the architecture program and give something back to an environment, I would go hide out in the Appalachian Mountains and chop up junked washer/dryer combos and turn them into lawn art. Maybe.

February 18, 2008

Blog Prompt #3: Education

"Many public-school children seem to know only two dates--1492 and 4th of July; and as a rule they don't know what happened on either occasion." - Mark Twain

When I began my schooling, instead of going to my local suburban public school, my parents enrolled me in an inner city public school that focused on the arts, Elm Creative Arts.

It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Looking back, the hope that encompassed the school makes me appreciate my time there even more. But, right after I "graduated" 5th grade and moved back to my suburban middle school, Elm began feeling the heat from budget cuts. Amazing teachers had to be let go and programs had to be cancelled. My brother is 3 years younger than me and by the time he hit 5th grade, the school seemed on the brink of collapse. I went back 2 years ago and Elm happily is back on it's feet. Elm parents started the Elm Foundation and partnered with local arts organizations to help fund these programs.

Through my experience of attending a school that was both outstanding and had 48% of its students eligible for free lunch taught me that it IS possible for inner city schools to be great. The Twain quote above reflects my feeling as to how many public schools teach: kinda poorly. I believe that if more funding is concentrated on fixing public schools and raising teacher salaries, then the world would change dramatically for the better.

As far as a playlist is concerned, I'd go with the songs popular back in my grade school days that keep my good memories alive:
TLC- No Scrubs: soo many "dirty" versions that we made up to this song aren't exactly as bad as we thought they were.
Packerena: no clue who sung that one, only that the lyrics called for children to call Mark Chumura "sooo fine" (Chumura was later accused of rape in a hottub at a highschool party)
Graduation- Vitamin C: possibly the worst song of alltime, but my 5th grade class wrote new lyrics over the music and sang it at graduation.
Blackstreet- No Diggity: No Diggity you might ask? Why was that a popular song? It was in an NBA highlight video that I loved, and I got in trouble for singing it one day in class.

Goooo Childhood

February 12, 2008

Blog Prompt #2: Skyways

Through my exploration of Minneapolis this winter, I've found the Skyway system downtown very convient. But...

Continue reading "Blog Prompt #2: Skyways" »

February 4, 2008

Blog Prompt #1: Milwaukee

Inspired by Andy Goldsworthy and our discussions, document and investigate,
through text and image - this idea of energy, flow and transformation through the city.

When I think of a city going through a transformation, I can not help but think of my hometown, Milwaukee, WI. Milwaukee was once a brewing and manufacturing power, but when these jobs began to leave the city, the empty factories and warehouses stayed put. I believe that a lot of the energy of the city left with these jobs, sending Milwaukee downward into its long run as one of the ten most dangerous cities in America.

The prime example of an abandoned factory is the old Pabst Brewery, which was abandoned in 1997. It sits on the northern end of downtown right on I43, the main highway through Milwaukee. While many of the other abandoned factories and warehouses throughout the city have been converted to condos and lofts, the Pabst Brewery sat abandoned for over ten years. Recently, it was bought by a real estate developer and will at least be converted to "something" soon.

As part of an urban renewal project, Milwaukee seemingly attempted a "Bilbao Effect" by having Santiago Calatrava design a new art museum addition in his first American commission.
The new addition has revitalized the lakeshore, as many new high-rise apartment buildings and a few trendy shopping centers have been built. Also, many improvements have been made to the other existing museums and to the home of Milwaukee summer popular festivals, Henry Maier Festival Grounds. And, Milwaukee built a state-of-the-art baseball stadium, Miller Park, in 2001.
This breathed life into a once dormant franchise, and the Brewers are now on the cusp of the playoffs once again. Overall, Milwaukee has experienced a transformation and loss of energy from a manufacturing city to a shell of its former self. Thankfully though, Milwaukee has been turned around thanks to new developments and architecture.