Action for Action Research

29 Jan

Action Research, is a growing field and a commonly used word, but how deeply do we understand and question action research? What is the role of action research in academia? CoLab &  Larry Susskind helped a group of interested students uncover, define, and test the role of action research for urban planners. This collaborative learning process yielded great results, check out our preliminary diagrams:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thanks to everyone’s insights (especially Elizabeth Hoeker Moreno, Jenna Kay, and Miriam Solis) I was able to come up with this second version of my model:

Action Research Diagram_FSERANG_2Dversion

Action Research Diagram_FSERANG_3Dversion

Action Research is at the heart of what good work Urban Planers can do, and I’m glad I have a picture to go along with my advocacy for what I think is the most relevant research methodology out there. I think we need to understand and employ action research better and better. I’m looking forward to deepening the action research vernacular with my classmates as I set about thinking about my thesis. Ready or not, action research here we come! Who wants to join?


Just in Time for Snow

24 Jan

Leaving wasn’t easy, especially since I made it back to Cambridge just in time for record  snow and freezing tempreatures.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Anybody Home?

22 Jan

A look at Housing in New Orleans. Photos include Make it Right project & Musicians Village, two of many redevelopment housing projects occurring across New Orleans. Houses are getting ready, for some, but clearly not all who had to leave.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Best Laid Plans

21 Jan

It was a mighty fine final show as we all daringly sipped on gumbo miso and shared our raw documents for BCC.  Hope you enjoy these sneak peeks into our work as much as we did.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Be Nice or Leave

20 Jan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Dr.  Bob helped launch a New Orleans tagline Be Nice or Leave and as SK and I peered into his ByWater establishment, tucked behind the automative-like an un-ending garage, the snapping didn’t stop. I mean both verbally and photographically. In awe, we shadowed his presence as he peered into boxes, walked away, didn’t make eye contact, and made us feel A-W-K-W-A-R-D. Still, we followed, how could you not? It was like chasing a creature and we were five-years-old again. And then we left. Dr. Bob re-painted what Be Nice or Leave means in this colorful experience I know we’ll never forget.

If Books Could Talk…

17 Jan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

They might be called Richard Campanella. Equipped with a 30 year fascination of New Orleans that was sparked by a childhood book on Lincoln, Richard was all about the New Orleans deets. Our geographical guide showed us “what the rational designers” would say as well as the “cultural anthropologists”. Take the shotgun house, does it illustrate a well-planned design or reflect a communal focused culture that doesn’t see the value in privacy inducing hallways? Who knows. Even Richard is “two minds” about a-lot of things, but we saw was more than two-dimentional. One of the most striking takeaways for me was that even with the deep history of urban planning, innovative solutions to the same problems, such as, long-term environmental concerns colliding with communities short-term livability goals, always fall short. Building this levee, in front of a displaced community, is the best its going to get. Really?

Building Andres Duany esque surburbia in a city that reduces low-income housing from hundreds of units to 4, is the best that could have been done? What would cultural anthropologists today have to say about that (thesis idea #104)?All this landscape urbanism jargon makes my head hurt. Check out the movie Land of Opportunity to see a bit of what I mean about  Housing in New Orleans and the various people (including Andres Duany) involved in rebuilding New Orleans house-by-house, block-by-block, and design-by-design.

Lighting the Way

14 Jan

F & F Candle Shop, one of my favorite stops along N. Broad St.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.