Blog Post 5

Urban Design Project

Yerba Buena Gardens

One of my favorite small scale Urban Design Projects has to be Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco.  I have never utilized any of the commercial elements of Yerba Buena Gardens, but have frequented the versatile outdoor space for group meetings, on a date night, and killing time while I’m on my own- it is my favorite spot in the city.

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This garden sits on two blocks of public park with ample green space, outdoor activities, seating, and a water monument. Composed of many levels, the Yerba Buena Gardens sits as an oasis of open space of relaxation in the hustle and bustle of the city without disrupting the urban fabric. Professor Renee Chow described the urban fabric, now called urban fields as on of the many elements of urban design. Other key concepts Professor Chow defined were urban design making you feel like you are on the “inside” and being able to recognize where you are and where you move. There is nothing left over or wasted, which we see in the Yerba Buena configuration. When I am at this park I feel well enclosed by the city, yet there are no clear boundaries.

The impact of this project spreads beyond the block by providing a gathering place and recreation amongst the densely developed SF landscape. This project helps define the city without being overbearingly iconic or fragmented. Instead, you are surrounded by the diverse skyline of San Francisco and immersed in the sights and sounds. This concept of open space, public gathering, and showcasing of art transcends the borders of Yerba Buena Park by influencing other narrow corridors, squares, and nooks in the surrounding bustling areas.

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Sources:

Professor Renee Chow- Environmental Design 4B Lecture, UC Berkeley, February 14 2016

Blog Post 4

Mass Production vs. Industrial District

In the Rise and Fall of Mass Production, Henry Ford tells us the components of mass production are as follows:

A) Planned orderly and continuous progression of the commodity through the job;

B) The delivery of work instead of leaving it to the workman’s initiative to find it;

C) An analysis of operations into their constituents parts– Henry Ford P 159

Through the understanding the industrial district, we can see that mass production isn’t the only way industry can thrive. According to Professor Cenzatti the contrast between mass production and the industrial district as follows:

Mass Production Industrial District
Not flexible Flexible
Large firms Cluster of small medium firms
Invest in machinery Circulation of skills and ideas
Labor does not require skill Labor does require skill/craftsmanship

One example of a city with an economy focused on mass production would the manufacturing of automobiles in a city like Detroit, Michigan. This example shows us large corporations like Ford Motors who embody concepts such as Taylorism and low skill labor. They use a blueprint for a car and manufacture many as efficiently as possible. However, this industry was lost to competitors due to its lack of flexibility. The city is reflects this paradigm through concepts of “company towns” or suburbia, in which housing is strategically planned to correspond with these mass production jobs that require many employees.

An example of a city with an economy focused on industrial districts is Los Angeles. With industry such as entertainment postproduction or manufacturing one-of-kind custom cars, we can see that these small and medium firms require a creative class. This causes the built environment to revolve around fragmentation with no clear center. With many small hubs for “incubation” and apprenticeship Los Angeles is fragmented with various communities and planning styles.

 

Both types of industries can function and thrive simultaneously and independently depending on circumstances. While differing in many points, both contribute to the quality of life and values we hold living in America.

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Sources:

11 FORD – Mass Production.pdf

Lecture 2/7/17 and 2/9/2017 by Marco Cenzatti- Environmental Design 4B, UC Berkeley

Gifs:pammack.sites.clemson.edu

 

Blog Post 3

Fordism

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Fordism is an economic system that thrives on mass production and subsequently mass consumption. Fordism combines both human and machine efficiency to create products for consumption. Despite globalization disrupting the manufacturing model of Fordism, an example that still exists today would be Fast Food. Fast Food combines human skill and machinery to run efficiently and produce products to the lowest possible competitive price.

Marco Cenzatti defines Fordism as:

  • System of production: mass production
  • System of regulatory mechanisms that mediates production & consumption
  • Exist in a market big enough to absorb goods and homogeneity of items

Mass production, while falling into Fordism, is rather just an element that it must fit the standards of perfection and is dictated by scientific management and Taylorism. Taylorism aims to be the most efficient by utilizing the same simple task over and over. This would fall under the example of an assembly line.

We see that mass production goes beyond consumer products to homes and even communities. Once someone owns a mass-produced home, they are then tied to the mass consumption of household products and appliances for that home. There is always an importance of always having the latest and greatest and “keeping up with the Joneses”. We see an example of this in the reading through the development of Levittown, which “epitomizes the revolution which has brought mass production to the housing industry”(TIME 1). This community was mass-produced and was able to stabilize the construction industry. Although they were built liken an assembly line, they were built my American workers with American machinery and materials. Levit and his developments are a prime example of mass consumption in the suburban context.

Sources:

TIME magazine 3-7-1950- Levittown

Lecture 1/31/17 and 2/2/2017 by Marco Cenzatti- Environmental Design 4B, UC Berkeley

image source: gifovea.tumblr.com