Posted on September 3, 2020
The Back Porch has seen better days. Up until this past week (think June when this started) it has been the safe house for many miscellaneous items from the Florida sun, rain, and heat. As the redesign of the backyard ramps up the design has extended into this poorly used space.
Project Porch was officially started earlier this week with a clean out. Bulky furniture, old toys, and gardening tools were pulled out of the space to make way for patch work. The Porch itself had suffered from a set of broken tiles (damaged by unknown source). These surrounding tiles in turn began to lift and became more susceptible to breaking as items were moved out of the porch. In all 12 tiles were cut out and replaced.
Thankfully we had an extra set of the correct tiles to patch together the hole in the floor. After a quick trip to Home Depot/Lowe’s to purchase grout and mortar, finally had everything necessary to fix the floor. My Mom and I spent the next two days, probably 3 hours a day, to sand, sweep, mix materials, and lay out the tiles. Thankfully the mortar and grout each had drying periods of 24 hours so once everything was set in we could work on other tasks.
Second task to occupy us while the tiles set were an old-to-new set of benches. There were two older backless benches in the porch which we decided to re-cover and keep. Several photographs of the porch and pool tiles and a quick trip to Joann’s and we had new blue fabric to complete the set. With fabric in hand and a note to check how much seating foam we had at home, we returned to the hard work of stripping down the seats. Surprisingly, despite all the other work, the task of removing staples from the benches to remove the original seating cover ripped up the skin on my finger. Honestly didn’t expect that task of all tasks to get me. Once the staples were all removed the benches needed to be sanded and prepped for staining.
Once the tiles were fully set and the benches ready we proceeded with our clean out. The porch was emptied of all furniture, potted plants, fishing cats, and other odds-n-ends. The walls were washed with a sprayer filled with a Jomax-bleach-water mix and then rewashed with a water rinse. The newly finished floor was swept, mopped, and shined. At least 6 wasp nests were removed and the very insistent occupants shooed away. Artwork was hung up on the walls.
The furniture and odds-n-ends that had be removed were now carefully sorted through. Furniture from the house was selected to update the indoor-outdoor look of the porch. Some of the original odds-n-ends were selected for resale and others were sent to the trash/recycling. A few pieces were salvaged to sand, paint, stain, refurbish and reintroduce to the porch.
The pieces selected for resale will help fund the redesign of the porch and backyard. There’s already a list of things to buy, including additional porch seating, planter boxes, gravel, good soil, cypress mulch, etc. Thankfully, thus far, each new part to the project has supported the rest of the project in surprising ways, from finding much needed resources to funding purchases.
A lot of time and some of the funding went into the search for chairs. Hunting for the style of chairs wanted, for the right price, and in the right time frame (August!!!) was different. From online sites like Wayfair and Amazon to local garage sales, thrift stores, Goodwills, and department stores it was a really interesting search with a lot of unique finds. Ultimately we purchased a set of wicker chairs and a center storage table. These beautiful pieces were purchased at a Goodwill for under $35 total! With a little, or a lot, of scrubbing, washing, sanding, refinishing, and completely new, homemade,pillows/cushions the porch has gained super comfy seating.
With seating down and storage solved, only a few small projects remain for this immediate area. A sandbag chain needs to be made and filled for flood prevention during storms. The floor drain between the pool deck and covered porch needs to be cleaned out and restored. The gutters just above need to be cleaned out, as they are annually, and a solution made to prevent them from clogging up. I am certain if this is solved then half the water concerns directly below will be taken care of. Once these are done there are sooo many more projects to take up in the back yard, pool deck, and inside!
I can’t wait to finish up these little projects and pull together at least one space for everyone to enjoy!
Posted on June 15, 2020
Penn UPDATES: https://coronavirus.upenn.edu/
Penn has been as straight forward as possible about the pandemic plan. The University became entirely remote halfway through the semester. Professors were as accomodating as possible in handling technical issues, time concerns for students who traveled or left Penn Campus Area, and the resource gap between students.
At the end of the semester the Universtity of Pennsylvania had a Covid-19 survey to better understand the remote semester and pandemic impact on students. This was a very long survey! I appreciate that there were a number of fill in the blank The results of this are supposed to assist the university in deciding how to move forward for the summer and fall semesters.
Summer schools and workshops still appear to be online. The plan for Fall is still up in the air. Rumor has it in the Design School that Architecture and Landscape students will be partially in person (studios with spaced desks) and partially online (all other classes). However nothing has officially been released yet.
I certainly wish the decision would be announced. Should classes be all online and states/cities return to massive shutdowns I would cancel my rent in Philadelphia. This would save me a ton of money! Living at home I have essentially free rent, electricity, water, rather terrible internet but functional, good food, and excellent company. Needless to say there’s good food and excellent company in Philadelphia but for a negative cost to my already sad student debt. Why duplicate costs?
Until then I will enjoy the summer lecture series the Design School is releasing.
Posted on June 10, 2020
So admist all the Covd-19 chaos there is still a little hope of learning. The Landscape Architecture department put together a light list of readings for quarantine. This was originally released during the extended spring break. I have posted it now as it is a relatively long list and perfect for summer!
- The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens – Wallace Stevens, Alfred A Knof, 1990
- “Frederick Law Olmstead and the Dialectic Landscape” excerpted from The Writing of Robert Smithson, 1979
- “Farmland Without Farmers” Wendell Berry, in The Atlantic 2015
- “Wicked Problems in Design Thinking” Richard Buchanon, in Design Issues Vol 8, 1992
- “Ground Truthing” Tempest Williams, in the Orion Magazine, 2004
- Seeing Trees: A History of Street Trees, Sonja Dumpelmann, 2019
- Landscape and Power: Space, Place, and Landscape 2nd edition, preface, W.J.T. Mitchell, 2002
- “Airport, Landscape, Environment” excerpted from Airport Landscape: Urban Ecologies in the Aerial Age, Sonja Dumpelmann, 2016
- Women, Modernity, and Landscape Architecture, 2015
- “Introduction”, Sonja Dumpelmann, John Beardsley
- “Creating New Landscapes for Old Europe: Herta Hammerbacher, Sylvia Crowe, Maria Teresa Parpagliolo” Sonja Dumpelmann
- What Is Landscape? (Introduction) 2015, John Stilgoe
- Environmentalism in Landscape Architecture, 2000
- “Ian McHarg. Environmentalism and Landscape Architecture. Ideas and Methods in Context.” Anne Whiston Spirn
- “Slow Landscape: A New Erotics of Sustainability” in Harvard Design Magazine vol 31, 2009/2010, Elizabeth Meyer
- “Sustaining Beauty. The Performance of Appearance. A Manifesto in 3 parts.” in Journal of Landscape Architecture, 2008, Elizabeth Meyer
- Invention of Rivers: Alexander’s Eye and Ganga’s Descent (Introduction: River Literacy), 2019, Dilip da Cunha
- Ecological Urbanism, 2010, M Mostafavi & G Doherty
- “The Sea and Monsoon Within: A Mmbai Manifesto” Anuradha Mathur & Dilip da Cunha
- Recovering Landscape, 1999, James Corner (Ed)
- “Neigher Wilderness Nor Home: The Indian Maidan” Anuradha Mathur
- Design with Nature Now, 2019
- “Traverse Before Transect” Anuradha Mathur
- “Design with Change” Rob Holmes
- “Operational Eidetics: Forging New Landscapes” in Harvad Design Magazine, 1998, James Corner
- Ecological Design and Planning, 1997
- “Ecology and Landscape as Agents of Creativity” James Corner
- The Landscape Imagination: Collected Essays of James Corner (preface) 1990-2010, James Corner
- Projective Ecologies, 2014, C Reed and NM Lister
- “Ecology and Design: Parallel Genealogies”
- “Curious Methods” in Places Journal, 2017, Karen Lutsky and Sean Burkholder
- “Methodolatry and the Art of Measure” in Places Journal, 2013, Shannon Mattern
- Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, 2010, Jane Bennett
- “Chaper 1: The Force of Things”
- “Chapter 2: The Agency of Assemblages”
- Autonomous Nature: Problems of Prediction and Control from Ancient Time to the Scientific Revolution, 2016
- “Vexing Nature: Francis Bacon and The Origin of Experimentation” Carolyne Merchant
- “Interacting with Simulations” in LA+SIMULATION Fall 2016, Eduardo Rico and Enriqueta Llabres Valls
- Unearthed: The Landscapes of Hargreaves Associates (introduction), 2013, Karen M’Closkey
- Landscape Architecture and Digital Technologies, 2016, Jillian Walliss and Heike Rahmann
- “Speaking of Geodesign” in GIS Science 1, 2012, Dana Tomlin
- “On the Escape of Tigers: An Ecologic Note” in American Journal of Public Health and the Nation’s Health, 1970 (?), William Haddon
- Urban Revisions: Current Projects for the Public Realm, 1994,
- “Cannibal City: Los Angeles and the Destruction of Nature” Mike Davis
- Letters to the Leader of China: Kongjian Yu and the Future of the Chinese City, 2018, Zhongjie Lin
- “When Green was the New Black: What Went Wrong with China’s Eco-city Movement?”
- The Latin American Urban Landscape: A Mosaic of Enhanced Influences, 2019, David Gouverneur
- Responsive Urbanism in Informal Areas, 2014, David Gouverneur
- “The Informal Armature Approach”
- Landscape Ecological Urbanism Landscape and Urban Planning, 2011, Frederick Steiner
- “Landscape, Public Imagination, and the Green New Deal” in the Landscape Architecture Magazine, 2019, Nicholas Pevzner
- “Design and the Green New Deal” in Places Journal, 2019, B. Fleming
- “Professional-Managerial Chasm”, 2019, G. Winant
- Planning Theory, 2006, Ananya Roy
- “Praxis in the Age of Empire”
- “The Case for Reparations” in The Atlantic, 2014, Ta-Nehisi Coates
- ANY: Architecture New York, 1998, Stan Allen
- “Diagrams Matter”
- Speculative Everything, 2014, Anthony Dunn and Fiona Raby
- “Zone: The Spatial Softwares of Extrastatecraft” in Places Journal, 2012, Keller Easterling
- “Junkspace”, 2002, Rem Koolhaas
- New Geographies, 2019, Christopher Marcinkoski
- “Fallow or Failure? Urbanization in the Age of Speculation”
- “Stewardship Now? Reflections on Landscape Architecture’s Raison d’etre in the 21st century” in Landscape Journal, 2015, Richard Weller
- “Landscaper Genres: Towards a Taxonomy of Contemporary Landscape Architecture” Landscape Architecture Frontier, 2019, RJ Weller
- Human Destiny in the Antrhopocene and the Global Environmental Crisis: Rethinking Modernity in a New Epoch, 2015, Clive Hamilton
- After Nature – A Politics of the Anthropocene, 2015, Jebediah Purdy
- “Imagining the Anthropocene”
- “Making Kin” Environmental Humanities vol 6, 2015, Donna Haraway
- “We are Designing the Planet Whether You Like it or Not” in The Dirt, 2019, Richard Weller
- LA+: https://laplusjournal.com
- Scenario Journal: https://scenariojournal.com
- “Several Short Sentences About Writing” in Ecotone vol. 7 number 2, 2012, Verlyn Klinkenborg
Should you read one a day, and only the referenced excerpts, this is roughly two months of reading. Should you delve into the texts a bit more you might find yourself well occupied for several more months. I hope you enjoy this list! If anything is unclear or you need help finding something let me know in the comments and I will do my best to help out. Enjoy!
Posted on June 9, 2020
I have finally decided to learn Japanese, again. My first attempt was a few years ago and had been going quite well. I failed when I stopped keeping a consistent schedule and began to forget words and structures. I had been working out of a Genki workbook and making flash cards to learn.
This summer I intend to restart my learning process. I have spent the last week or so researching, looking for resources, reviewing the basics, and seeing what I remember.
Here are the resources I have settled on (and some I haven’t but will share in the event they work for you):
- Tofugu: This website is a treasure trove of tips and learning tools! (Check out this particular link: https://www.tofugu.com/series/japanese-learning-resources/) I am not a big fan of the podcast. It’s quite long and a bit rambly, chatty for my taste. The lessons are important though so if you can get a feel for the skip ratio and cut through to just the bits that matter maybe then. I have simply settled on a different podcast for my lessons.
- Manga Sensei: This podcast is amazing! It’s very short, clear, to the point. I love the examples and the clarity. It’s very easy to learn in chunks. I also appreciate that if I am a little confused it’s short enough to just listen to again. The only downside is that the website is janky. The links don’t always work (I may just be using very old portions as I am starting for the very first podcast post). This is where going to Tofugu’s website for support content is useful.
- Look for the podcast in the Apple Podcast app or any other podcast app. The podcast is much, much better than the website.
- News in Slow Japanese: This is another podcast that is excellent for listening. The podcast is released as a set with one slow read version and one native read version. The articles are labeled by language level (beginner, intermediate, and advanced). I have enjoyed trying to keep up with this podcast. It really shows just how much I have to learn, especially when in an entire monkey (saru) onsen article the only words I could hear were monkey (saru) and onsen, ahaha!
- Her Confidence Her Way: This podcast is currently way out of my league. However I hope to achieve a level of understanding that one day I can enjoy a cup of tea while listening to this podcast. Per the description it is about working women, particularly Japanese women, and their lives. It’s a bilingual podcast so some interviews and discussions are in English and some are in Japanese. I am aiming to be able to understand the Japanese interviews featured here.
- OJAD: Online Japanese Accent Dictionary. This website essentially helps you learn words accents, pronunciation, and spelling. There is a limitation to the amount of words but for now it will be more than enough for me!
- TakoAki Japanese: This is a youtube channel hosted by a native Japanese speaker. He has videos helping to teach the language. I have only seen a few videos and will likely have to rewatch. I think it will be helpful in picking up a correct accent and understanding basic day to day language.
- Dr. Lingua: This is a drag and drop, matching alphabet(s) game which will help challenge my visual learning.
- RealKana: This is another alphabet(s) learning game but more like a visual type in quiz.
- Tae Kim’s Guide to Japanese:This is a very neat website. There are some videos. I am considering this as another support material to learn from.
- Abroad in Japan: This is a combination of video-podcast-website content. I enjoy the conversational format and love the Fax Machine read outs and replies. There is a small langauge learning portion which I wish had a page on the website. Otherwise it is a geniune insight of foreigners in Japan from a living and traveling perspective. Lovely to listen to!
- Deep Dive from the Japan Times: This is a news podcast which is mainly in English. It is a good way to hear about what is going on in Japan currently and learn a bit about the culture.
- Samurai Archives: This is a Japanese history podcast. I have yet to listen to it so not sure on the style. However I look forward to learning more of the history and culture of Japan through this podcast. Certainly the references and interviews should be good begining research points.
I will continue to grow my resource list as I learn more. I am excited to not only learn the language but also about Japan, the place.
I am still debating on a network that will put me in contact with a native speaker to practice speaking, listening, and writing. I have found a few but am not certain of their safety and engagement levels. I will keep searching and certainly post when I find a good one!
Maybe you aren’t particularly interested in Japanese. Maybe you have another language in mind? If so here are some language learning tips I have found helpful as I try and learn.
- Look for multiple kinds of teaching kits. Books, websites, podcasts, videos, flash cards, etc. Essentially try to get these kits so you are simultaneously learning the language by seeing, writing, speaking, and hearing.
- Look for things you are interested in that aren’t necesarily teaching tools. A TV Show in the language you are learning. Music. Magazines. Books.
- Keep 2 notebooks or some version of this. Essentially you take all the crazy notes on one and then rewrite cleanly what you have learned in the notebook.
- Highlight. I assign a single color to a certain thing and then highlight accordingly through my notes. This helps connect related topics so I can study across my notes. A quick example for language would be conjucation rules and the words they apply to.
- Use a little bit everyday. The more you practice it and use it day to day the more you will remember and improve.
- Find a practice partner! At least for languages, which are used to communicate, it is important to be able to use it. If you can, travel and put your studies to the test. This bit might be easier in say Europe than the US.
So with all this in mind, Good Luck! Let’s practice and study lots! Hopefully I will be able to write a short blog in Japanese by the end of July!
Posted on June 9, 2020
If you are missing school already, or just curious to get a particular professors insight, PennDesign has set out a series of lectures for the summer. There are lectures in every department on almost every day of the week.
I am particularly interested to see how these lectures progress as the topics are undetermined or at least unannounced in advance. The closest you or I will get to knowing the possible topic is by knowing the person set to speak. Even then I look forward to the suprises in lecture!
Below are links to the lectures and posters of the various lecture series produced by the school. Hope you enjoy!
From the Rooftops (Landscape Architecture): https://www.design.upenn.edu/landscape-architecture/events/rooftops-larp-summer-lecture-series
Mind the Gap (Landscape Architecture): https://www.design.upenn.edu/landscape-architecture/events/mind-gap-conversations-about-life-and-landscape-architecture
The Architecture Department has joined in the Surface Magazine to host the Surface Summer School. The aim is to study and design public testing centers for the Covid-19 Pandemic. The lectures are free and open to the public.
Surface Summer School (Architecture): https://www.surfacemag.com/articles/surface-summer-school-lineup/
I’ll continue to add to this post as I learn of more lecture series. In the meantime, enjoy this added audio content! Happy listening!
Please note all posters are made by the departments and publicly shared on instagram and the university school webpage. This is merely posted as a reference to help guide my audience to the lectures.
Posted on June 9, 2020
For a quick pool side read to a thrilling page turner that keeps me up at night I am always looking for good literature. Here I have compiled a bit a of a split list, partly scholarly educational and partly ad hoc suggestions from those close to me.
Reading List 1: This list was compiled by the landscape architecture department, all the faculty and staff, as suggestions for the mid semester Covid-19 spring break extension. Whether for spring break or summer this list will certainly entertain for a good while. See my prior post for the full list (https://carolinaschultz.com/2020/06/10/the-penn-landscape-architecture-reader-2020/).
There is also this list from the University titled Penn Studies in Landscape Architecture, https://www.upenn.edu/pennpress/series/PSLA.html
Reading List 2: This list, titled Race, Architecture, Social Equity, was compiled by Daniel Barber and the Architecture Department. https://www.are.na/daniel-barber-pnrk4l56cdq/race-architecture-social-equity
Reading List 3: Despite internships closing up I did ask for reccomendations for readings. It’s nice to know what others consider go to materials that can help build you towards your goal.
- Site Engineering for Landscape Architects – Strom, Woland
- Site Planning – Lynch, Hack
- The Living Landscape – Steiner
- Design With Nature – McHarg
- Time-Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture – Charles Harris, Nicholas Dines
- Landscape Architect’s Portable Handbook – Nicholas T. Dines, Kyle D. Brown
- Landscape Architectural Graphic Standards – Leonard J. Hopper
Reading List 4: To help learn Japanese I have been looking into reading/writing resources. Honestly Tofugu has been a really helpful blog with tons of useful learning materials. This post in particular pinpointed beginner reading materials that are easily accessible: https://www.tofugu.com/japanese/japanese-reading-practice-for-beginners/
I’ll be making a separate post about my Japanese language studies and the resources I have been using to learn.
Reading List 5: This list is a series of random recomendations (from classmates, friends, family, and strangers) that I have yet to read. Perhaps I will get to a few this summer. Fingers Crossed!
- Sum – David Eagleman (I have acutally read this one! and reread it! Lovely)
- Encyclopedia of World’s Zoos – Catharine E. Bell
- Wellness for Elephants – Megan Morris (Editor)
- Forensic Architecture – Eyal Weizman
- On-ramps, On Time – Timothy A. Schuler
- Race and Cultural Landscapes: A Conversation With Kofi Boone
- The Black Rose Federal Anarchist Reader: https://blackrosefed.org/re-introducing-the-black-anarchism-reader/?fbclid=IwAR05tyNxIn6wVEAv4dOmUI1VNfn2grdkDB-ZOK7JCiDaSre5xCXibi95vuw
- A General Collection of Minority Political Readings: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1aYPe21Rve3YPpozxZJE4C3WfWCvkvo_pyXkdzOARxho/preview?pru=AAABcppDS9E%2AiEsUa17OVixUkiPSA67aYA&fbclid=IwAR0aX_73V374Iu3bNIB3AjVouzfEtBY_tP3rQw4z-l-ICaZUPphEGFLAgTQ
- Organizing Resources: https://docs.google.com/document/d/17uu7q7I6tAgHSwp66MCUdMwlkI2rz-LJIX0Igvl2Ws0/edit
- Black Socialist Resources: https://blacksocialists.us/resource-guide
- Vulture – Anti-Racist Reading List: vulture.com/2020/06/anti-racist-reading-lists-what-are-they-for.html
- Space/Race Reading List: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p2GvScemyghCaQVkA3fDTsjqtprk7CPOryZv5-YUTkk/preview?pru=AAABcpoljJo*YKOPKWIyPl69hTY1UBpWKA
- Semiosis – Sue Burke
- Investigations of a Dog – Franz Kafka
- My Dog Tulip – J.R. Ackerley
- Wild at Heart – Patricia Gaffney
- Geek Love – Katherine Dunn
- Nightwood – Djuna Barnes
- Creatures in an Alphabet – Djuna Barnes
- The Gods Themselves – Issac Assimov
- Gods Behaving Badly – Marie Phillips
- Fifteen Dogs: An Apologue – Andre Alexis
- Monkey Beach – Eden Robinson
- Bloodchid – Octavia Butler
- Every Thing Explained That Is Explainable – Denis Boyles
- We Have No Idea: A Guide to the Unknown Universe – Jorge Cham and Daniel Whiteson
- Algorithms To Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions – Brian Christian & Tom Griffiths
- Born on a Blue Day – Daniel Tammet
- The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat – Oliver Sachs
- The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate – Discoveries from A Secret World – Peter Wohleben
If you’re not particularly a self motivated reader type join a book club. I don’t know too many book clubs but try reaching out to local libraries thru email or phone to see if a librarian can put you in touch with one. Currently there is one open to all called the Politics & Design Summer Reading Group. This group started up by PennDesign students is open and looking to select a new book to kick off the summer reading and discussion season. More information to come as details of the group are revealed.
I have recently joined another simply titled Book Club. We look forward to starting off by reading Semiosis by Sue Burke. I can’t wait to pick up the novel from the library and get started!
Do you any favorite books, articles, forums or other reccomendations? If so please comment below, I’m always curious to read more. Let’s enjoy a good read in the sun!
Posted on June 9, 2020
Spring semester flew by and before I knew it I had woken up from a week long nap to Summer Break! This Summer Break is going to be unlike any other. As Covid-19 continues to wreak havoc, closing down society and jobs, and society protests the many injustices within it you may be left wondering what shall I, or you, do?
Summers are typically excellent opportunities to gain work experience. The workdays become explorations of my limitations. What else do I need to learn? What haven’t I done yet and need to do to get in on that project? Who else can I shadow? What am I succeeding at? However, with internships closing up to the fear of poor virtual experiences and Covid-19 the wonderful world of work experience is no more. Well maybe not quite. I haven’t secured an internship yet, however, I have begun planning how I can work on my skills for potential Fall openings.
In my case I have taken on the challenge of redesigning my parent’s backyard. I will also be tinkering about inside the house, porch, and maybe even the frontyard. With an ambigious budget, a diy attitude, and a few short months to complete it I am excited to see what I can achieve!
In addition to the at home design I am following up on my summer internship interests through research. I am looking into zoos and aquariums, gardens and parks, city design and human behavior, and crime and design. This started as googling to my hearts content but I think will work its way into a set of journals as notes and sketches to build from. Posts to come with all my new insights.
And, if that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, I have decided to take up skateboarding, continue running, and hopefully, finally, learn Japanese! Oh, and attend any and all lectures PennDesign releases.
I hope you all are well and safe! Here’s to many fun adventures while safely settled in home!
Posted on February 7, 2020
School pride costs little in spirit and a lot in its physical form! Those Penn shirts, sweaters, scarves are upwards of $30 a piece. That’s easily a weeks worth of groceries! So when there is a chance to get a little Penn branded stuff free I go for it.
Today from 10-11 am in the mezzanine of the Wietzman School lobby ( where the baroque pictures and fashion show dummies are usually placed) the school if giving out free t-shirts! These cuties are a nice little list of the schools skilled fields and a modest declaration of the name change.
Hurry over while there are still t-shirts! Happy school pride!
Posted on January 30, 2020
This evening was a wonderful example of how student voices matter. The Landscape Architecture department, in looking to the future of the curriculum, called a townhall to discuss how to better the program. At the townhall students heard from Chair Richard Weller about weaknesses in the past, current weaknesses, and unique opportunities to expand.
Some of the key notes were a need to focus more on planting vs grading, on theories role in other classes, and the role of modern case studies in informing students base knowledge. Overall the curriculum is structured to cover a span of project types, small to large scale, a variety of tools and structures of design, and to holistically cover the knowledge needed to be a landscape architect. The recap, the self analysis, the note that this curriculums core has been nearly the same for 60 odd years led right into the question. What do you, as students, think are areas in which we can improve? How can we revamp the curiculum again while holding to the good core of it?
This promptly led to all students present, I’d estimate about 60 people, with pizza slices in hand, spliting into groups of 15 to discuss the curriculum, classes, general structure of the school, and resources we should be using more.
In my groups discussion we covered each year 500 to 700 focusing on support classes for studio like Sally’s ecology-workshop class, media 4 and workshop 4 cross collaborating on some elements, replacing workshop 4 with a landscape detailing class currently an elective, the order of studio topics with the 600 year, the structured versus free set up of studios and their order, the need for more hands on project development, small assignments versus large projects in learning technical skills, and the need for more pre instruction or orientation for international/2 year students. There were certainly many, many more topics discussed with perspectives from students from current 500’s to 700 dual degrees in their 4th year.
At the end the community agreed having a townhall once a semester to continue to adjust the program would be beneficial. All group notes were collected by student representatives to be typed up and given to the Chair Richard Weller to consider before the next faculty meeting.
It is heartening to see a department so open to self reflection and to listen to student opinion. They department really cares to continue to do well through adjustments to the curriculum. It’s nice to know as well that this sort of feedback, given through student reps on a monthly basis is taken into consideration and handled so quickly! Some of the complaints of 700’s had already been addressed in the years below and discussions today were able to review the success of it and further refinement. The landscape department is clearly commited to success through a democratic process of critique and adjustment.
Not so much can be said of the architecture department. The few town halls I have heard of through rumor were not said to have been productive. Certainly I did not recieve a single email notice of them. Being a dual degree I believe my opinion matters in both fields and am a little annoyed that getting any news from architecture is harder than it needs to be. Maybe this year I will finally get notice of an architecture townhall, hopefully schedule to enable attendance.
For now, I am thankful for the caring department of Landscape Architecture and look forward to the adjustments and revised curriculum to come!
Posted on January 28, 2020
Penn Health: https://campushealth.wellness.upenn.edu/coronavirus/
Penn Global: https://global.upenn.edu/
No need to cue the Bee-Gee’s, unless your dancing days are keeping you fit and flu free. School is just getting under way and so is the sick season. It’s cold outside, stressful inside, sleep has been cut back to make way for homework and you don’t have time to get sick, forget be sick. To top it off the latest Coronavirus to make a scare has jumped from China to the US and nobody knows where or who next.
This may seem like something to stress about, as if you didn’t have enough, but it isn’t. Seriously, no matter the winter illness the procedure is the same and mostly preventative. Penn has certainly taken the preventative approach emailing all students resources, updated information on the spread of the virus, and tips to stay healthy during the cold season. Below is a small sick free check list for the cold season:
- Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Otherwise don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently.
- Use Germ-ex (or any hand sanitizer) to keep clean if a sink isn’t immediately available.
- Stay active. Even just 30 minutes of exercise, sweating out all the bad, will go a long way to keeping you healthy and happy. Walk on a treadmill, stretch, do some jumping jacks and planks, heck dance it out to “Stayin’ Alive”, just move your muscles and reap the rewards.
- Eat well. Three meals a day, as many fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, carbs, etc. as you can. I understand everyone has their own diet so adjust to your preference. Just make sure you are eating!
- Sleep. Seriously, no amount of late nights for homework are going to be as productive or appreciated by your professor or your body as if you had just slept and tried the next day.
Now let’s say you did all of the above and you still get sick. It happens. It sucks. Make sure to take the time to rest! Stay home, wrap yourself in some blankets, drink some tea with citrus and honey(Chamomile, Tilo, Boldo, or Peppermint are my go to’s), eat some soup or pasta, and sleep it off. If you’ve rested and worked your home remedy cure all routine and still aren’t feeling well go see a doctor!!! Really catching things in the early stages is best. You spend less time sick and more time enjoying life.
If you are worried specifically about the latest Coronavirus or any other health matters I have linked Penn Health and Penn Global’s homepages above. Here both organizations will be posting the latest information on the virus and Penn Campus health concerns/events. Wishing everyone a sick free start of semester!