Things have been busy since my last post.
On October 16th, I flew down to Miami for the AIA Florida Emerging Professional’s Conference. I actually helped organize this conference for the past two years. I’m still good friends with this year’s organizers and they invited me down to sit on a panel discussion. It was sorta the last gasp of my professional life before returning to school since I was not talking about any of my research but rather about marketing yourself and building a resume/CV for the career that you want. Originally I was supposed to be on a panel with Meg Brown, the national director of human resources for Perkins + Will. Unfortunately, Meg had to cancel at the last minute, so a good friend, Andy Hayes of Hayes Cumming Architects filled in. Andy and I have a pretty interesting history in that we first met through the AIA, then I was his client when I worked for the City of St. Petersburg, and then I worked for him as an independent contractor for about 9 months before coming back to school. We tried to emphasize the importance of building and maintaining relationships and the impact that those sustained relationships can have on your career path.
In addition, the conference featured keynote speaker David Montalba of Montalba Architects in Los Angeles. He’s doing some pretty cool work and seems like a really nice guy. It was also great to get to spend some time with some of my good friends that I left behind in Florida. (Hi Kim!)
I’ve also had a paper due in Anita Berrizbeitia’s landscape architecture theory class. I wrote on the work of West 8 and Adriaan Geuze. Specifically, I compared the ideas behind some of the earlier projects (Schouwburgplein, Borneo-Sporenburg, and others) with some more recent projects (Governor’s Island and Jubilee Gardens). My critique was that the earlier projects seem much more conceptually rigorous than the recent projects. I talked about my perceived shift from Geuze’s concept of the “void” as a primary concept to the idea of a “surreal” landscape. I posited that the “void” was inherently tied to Geuze’s dutchness and that the surreal was a trope used to internationalize his work.
Finally, I’ve decided on the topic that I’m going to explore in the second semester of my Urban Studies Proseminar. The end result of the research in this class will be an 8,000-10,000 word paper. Here’s a brief blurb from my proposal:
Between 1935 and 1950 a conglomerate of the automobile lobby consisting of General Motors, Standard Oil of California, Firestone Tires, and Phillips Petroleum set up a subsidiary corporation called National City Lines (NCL) through which they systematically dismantled the electric streetcar lines in 45 cities around the country. This research paper will examine the activities of NCL during this period as well as the ensuing conspiracy lawsuit United States v. National City Lines. In addition, I will examine the effect of the shift from streetcar based transit to bus based transit on transit ridership, car registration rates, and the physical structure of the city. The study will include an overview of the circumstances leading to and resulting from NCL’s takeover of transit systems as well as case studies of three cities.
That’s all for now. I’m starting to narrow down my class selections for next Spring, so I’ll post something soon about the classes that I’m thinking about taking.
One more thing...
Re-Imagining Cities: Urban Design After the Age of Oil starts here at Penn tomorrow. If you're in the Philadelphia area, be sure to check it out.