Urban Design Journal by Briana DeRosa

This photo taken on February 7th while completing the walking tour captures the multi-use buildings and characteristic in and of downtown. Located on the right are shops and cafes with apartments above them. This is a style of building that works very well because customers are located in very close proximity to where they are shopping and eating, making it easy for their quality of life to be high and also generates success for the businesses. This site honestly makes me want to live in one of those apartments because of not only how neat it is but because of how easy life could be living there and being in such close distance to shops. Also, on the far left you can see the Hippodrome Theatre which would be very convenient entertainment along with various other things to do in downtown.

This photo is of a small pong located on inner across from Yulee area and is adjacent to the Fine Arts Buildings. I took this photo on February 25th, when I began to document for this journal. I found this particular spot interesting because though I have passed it many times going to Norman Hall or just passing through Inner Rd. I seldom notice it. This pond is almost a secret little gem here on the University of Florida campus, because like I, I am sure others don't fully take it in each time they pass it. On the far end of the pond we see urban design infusing with nature because there are tables and benches looking over the water, something I think it vital because it allows students and anyone to have somewhere to sit, relax and enjoy the scenery. Another aspect of design is just the sole fact that this body of water was left here (or possibly built) through the construction of the buildings around it. This area is just one of many on campus where UF is doing the best and right job by allowing natural environment to coexist with the built. Though overall I feel this area brings positivity, I do believe that with some more benches along the side on Inner would allow for more to people to have a green public space to appreciate it because right now there are barely any.

Next is a photo I took on the same day of a public space/landscape in the form of an outside sitting area and walkways at Norman Hall. This is an important photo to me, although it doesn't capture or relay just how much greenery there is here (the photo on the title page is also this same place that shows more), because incorporating nature and the built environment, especially at a learning institution for students to see and relax with, is incredibly important. This area in itself makes me feel very good because for one it is a beautiful and full of life space creating incredibly positive energy. Secondly, as said in the previous entry, this is too is just of of many places on campus where initiative to preserve natural aesthetic and beautify campus can be seen and as a Florida Gator I am proud of my campus.

This is a very sad photo I took on March 18th while going for a scoot to downtown. It caught by eye because the two buildings pictured are incredibly run down; the one on the left I can only guess was once a fast food establishment or a convenience store and on the right was a barbershop named Special Touch. Not only are the physical characteristics of the buildings in very bad shape, paint peeling, rusting, but the landscape surrounding them, especially on the left is so overgrown and very unappealing at this point. This site does not fit well into the surrounding landscape at all because to the left are modern apartments, across the street are small businesses and to the right is University Opticians. The adjacent properties indicate a semi healthy and successful neighborhood but these buildings are eyesores and because of how degenerated they are it is unlikely anyone would want to come in and take on the task of revamping them into something prosperous.

Above is a residence I saw on my scooter ride as well on 3/18/2017 and am including it because it is incredibly interesting to me. For one the design of the house in terms of the side porch and color choice really sticks out but besides that the overgrown lawn and unkept driveway (if you can call it that) indicated lack of care which conflicts with the politically active signs in the windows. This house made me feel good but also uneasy because I believe it is important for people to speak out for causes they support but on the other hand it perturbs me that something as simple as "Black Lives Matter" needs to be vocalized. I appreciate that these homeowners are using the design of their home as the teal draws a lot of attention to make a statement. This site does not really fit in the larger landscape as it is a lone house on the road and is quite an eye catcher.

This community gardens represents a built public space that provides an educational aspect to the community. I visited the Beaten Path Garden on April 1st for another class assignment that involved locally grown food and this particular one is an example of not only a successful and maintained garden but also it really benefits the community as a whole, making is a very valuably developed piece of land. Though my opinion is that this land is being used very well, the garden does seem like it could use some maintenance in the form of weeding to allow for more crops to be grown. I reiterate I am pleased with this site and it gives me hope because it is located in a pretty rough looking neighborhood in an eastern area of Gainesville but even if its not the most affluent or put together neighborhood this is still a community initiative to better everyone.

This photo was taken on April 6th of what I imagine was meant to be a recreation or public space type of urban design. Everything about this site is a failure to me. For starters the entire area of this space is concrete with the exception of few in ground planters with trees in them, but even then rocks fill some of the foundation in those. The lack of vegetation and grass disables any ecosystem services that could be provided and makes it absolutely less pleasing to the eye. The area also includes some very basic, backless, uncomfortable concrete benches. I see what the goal probably was of this space to function as a pubic space but I highly doubt anyone is coming to hangout here because there is no shade besides the minimal, if any, created by the few trees so it would get very hot quickly in addition to the uninviting seating. In terms of safety though, this probably is very because it is incredibly open and there are multiple light posts present which would be good at night. This space made me feel very sad because it seems like such a waste of land and was so poorly designed and developed; the most I can envision this area being used in a larger sense for the community is for is skateboarders or bikes.

Above is the pool at 2nd Ave Center apartment complex. I took this photo on April 6th as well while touring a prospective room I will be living in during summer. As a future resident I am pleased with the pool size and cleanliness but I really can not get over the silly design and placement of the buildings around it. Located on three sides of the pool are tall, four story buildings and directly in front of it is a 6 story parking garage. This design makes it so the pool area is only filled with sun in the morning before it becomes this very shady space around 1-2pm, which is very unpleasant to me because laying out in the sun is the best part of having access to a pool and also it doesn't allow for the water to be naturally heated, causing more energy and money having to be spent when it shouldn't have to be. This pool fits in well with its surrounding landscapes as there is certainly a demand for pools, especially at apartment complexes but I consider this design to be horrendous and miscalculated to say the least.

This photo I took while exploring Downtown Gainesville with my sister while she visited the weekend of April 14th. Featured is a beautifully done mural on the side of High Dive, a bar that hosts local and traveling bands. This public space is wonderfully designed and vital for community strength as it provides a place for locals and aspiring musicians to showcase their talents as well as a place for friends and families to come and see live entertainment at usually little to no cost. I felt different ways upon visiting this site. First off I was in awe of the magnificent and somewhat spiritual painting on the wall as it provides universal connections through a woman standing amongst trees with and owl sitting in one, while she is holding a piece of the galaxy, just wow is my thoughts on that. Also, prior to visiting this site I was unaware of what the High Dive is, I actually thought it was an art studio because of the sign on the gate labeling it "Artist entrance" but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that is a music hub. The total design of the High Dive, I am assuming the wall the mural is on is the High Dive too, is a very positive and cool community gathering spot which leads me to say it is designed right. The bar has an outside area which string lights which creates a casual but nice ambience in addition to the rowdy, bar scene that can be found inside. The variety of seating space in the establishment allows it to accommodate many from college kids on a night out, to families having lunch on a Saturday night making it a space that fits into the community very well.

Lastly, I wanted to include the infamous Standard because it is a huge residential building being added to Gainesville and also where I will be living starting Fall 2017 and there is so much controversy surrounding its erection. Personally, I am very excited for it to be completed but that is because I am a future resident but as a planning student I can recognize the flaws about it which causes me to be very conflicted. What is right about this design is the location for sure because it is right across from campus which allows myself as well as all the other student residents to be able to simply walk to class instead of using cars or scooters which of course it better for the environment. Also, the bottom of it includes a lot of retail and restaurants which I am very confident will be incredibly successful because the proximity to campus,the variety of what will be included ranging from a Target Express to a Bento to a 24 hour Cuban Cafe and Bakery, and of course the large amount of people who will be living right above it all. In terms of what is wrong with this design there is without a doubt many. Also, I believe the construction of it in part prompted the Publix being built across the street from it which will serve many and finally put a Publix on that side of town. The most significant downfall to me is the humongous parking garage that will accompany it. Those living behind the Standard as well as a small hotel behind it now have to live with an ugly view of the large concrete structure. Another design concept of The Standard that I disapprove of is that a portion of it will be a hotel. I absolutely hate this concept because as a resident I do not know what they will do about the amenities and I do not what to be sharing the pool, gym, etc. with hotel guests. Also, visitors will not take as good of care of anything as residents will so I do not want my costs of living there to increase to cover the hotel costs.

Created By
Briana DeRosa

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