Urban nature and the Schuylkill River Trail
Schuylkill River Trail
For my next excursion I took a bike ride along the Schuylkill river trail north towards Manayunk area. The trail is nicely developed and planned so that there is adequate space for bicyclists and walkers to enjoy the trail. There is also a surplus of green space along this river trail that is obviously unnatural but was created to seem natural. This idea of Urban Nature is seen in almost every large city. We watched a short film about how urban nature is implemented within a lot of cities like New York City for example. Is it really natural to create nature? Although this area is beautiful and I personally enjoyed exploring it I couldn’t help but think of the idea of urban nature.
Coincidently, as I was taking notes on urban nature and the built landscape that surrounded me. A very brave squirrel sat on the bench I was sitting in and stared at me for a solid thirty seconds. I found this to be an interesting point on how nature in an urban setting can so easily turn into something that is in fact unnatural. Although it urban nature does work in many places such as central park where it has developed its own ecosystem after its manmade creation, would a squirrel that is now desensitized to human beings be a success in the attempt at developing urban nature? Nature is constantly adapting to human life and it does that on its own so in theory wouldn’t it be natural for nature to adapt whether it’s being placed in an urban setting or on someone’s apple orchard?
Thats me with my bike and thats a man that came to say hi while I was playing guitar. haha
For this excursion I decided to take a walk through the “gayborhood” which is according to Google Maps is located between 6th- broad street and between Walnut and South streets. This area is yet another boundary produced by the city to draw in a certain demographic. Perhaps this is in hopes to keep them in within this boundary much like the red light district of Amsterdam. In my own observations I have found through conversation that Philadelphia has a rather large homosexual scene. I have gone to many of the “gay” bars within this neighborhood and can definitely see how it is tailored to a specific demographic.
I have observed the area and I have walked through it on numerous occasions. I really enjoy walking through this neighborhood mainly because it has a different feeling than the rest of the city. The structures and buildings are well kept and there is still municipal street cleaning within this neighborhood, which you do not find in areas such as North Philadelphia and parts of South Philadelphia as well. The area is also not hyper sexualized in a way that one might think a neighborhood with the colloquial term of “gayborhood” would entail. There are some gay bars but they are not exclusively gay and also cater to heterosexual as well as transsexuals. I am slightly on the fence about the reasoning behind developing a nook of the city where LGBT is completely acceptable only because it feels like there are restrictions. Although at least in Philadelphia’s situation the LGBT community is given a very nice area of Philadelphia to manipulate and develop themselves unlike many other cities where minority groups are pushed to the outward boundaries of the cities. Dolores Hayden’s piece about A non sexist city suits this idea rather well. Although it is not necessarily about sexism, the thought of the LGBT community having to settle into a specific role in society is disheartening. What would the city look like if there were no boundaries on the basis of sex, race, or class?
This past week I moved from Third and South Street to Second and Oxford. Skipping from Society Hill to Old Kensington/ Fishtown area has opened my eyes to a many different things. Primarily I would like to discuss the planning and design of the up and coming neighborhood of Fishtown in comparison to the Old City and Society Hill area. Fishtown and Northern Liberties have grown exponentially with the creation of hip bars and thriving social scene. Various different condominium like and loft style housing has been opening up within just the past two years making the neighborhood a great spot for young professionals and students as well. With the development of Frankford Avenue and the Eastern parts of Spring Garden and Girard it also makes the area an attractive location to socialize with neighbors and friends.
In Society Hill it is mainly residential old style row homes with historical significance. Because of the desire for conservation of history in this area there is little new development being done in this area. Although Olde City just a few blocks from Society Hill is has an exceptional bar and restaurant scene not there really is not much business development within the small boundaries of Society Hill. This thought makes me think of Jane Jacobs and her idea of a city with a community feel. For the past two years I have lived in the same apartment on South Street and have had accidental encounters with familiar faces countless times which can be expected in a neighborhood like area. Although I will not find that community like feeling in Fishtowns neighborhood itself, many of the apartments being developed are complexes with neighbors door to door. So there is still a sense of community but on a more personal level.
I love my house.
Me to Mikey: STOP DRAGGING YOUR FEET ON THE RUG AHHHH AHHH AHHH AHHHHH
Mikey: Sounded like you just had an orgasm?! Katie…is that good for you?
I just heard from the hall,
Sam; MIKEY we ARE not BARBARIANS!!!!!!!!!!