Gainesville, FL is filled with a variety of interesting and unique physical spaces. In my four years here, I have discovered many places of both division and inclusion. In the following slides, I hope to highlight the areas in which I felt strongly promoted either division (through separation of class, race, socioeconomic status, etc) or inclusion.
Areas That Promote Separation
Paramount Grill, where main dishes run close to $40, is for a very particular kind of customer. I have only been once and admittedly felt very uncomfortable in such an exclusive environment. Needless to say, I have not returned since I went there three years ago.
Photo Credit: http://www.paramountgrill.com/contacts.html
When you approach the southeastern part of Gainesville, incomes drastically lower and the neighborhood crime rate shoots up. Very few professionals and university students venture into these areas and the neighborhoods tend to shoot odd looks at any passerby who ventures into the area.
Photo Credit: NeighborhoodScout.com
Haile Plantation is found in the southwestern area of Gainesville. To live here, you essentially must be a professional with a young family. Here, there are very strong homeowner associations (HOAs), very little crime, perfectly maintained country and golf clubs, and a very nice village center that has professional and medical offices, restaurants, and bars.
Photo Credit: http://www.clubcorp.com/Clubs/Haile-Plantation-Golf-Country-Club
Southwest Recreation Center is a vital part to campus and keeping the students at the University of Florida healthy and fit. However, the gymnasium/basketball courts are filled with men who push women to the side and force them off the court (speaking from personal experience) and people who openly laugh at unfit people who are pursuing their goal of losing weight. There is undoubtedly a division between people in this location.
Photo Credit: http://www.alligator.org/news/campus/article_68772f0a-196e-58b4-8277-e365d9072c09.html
Areas That Promote Inclusion
Krishna Lunch is one of my favorite places at the University of Florida. People from all walks of life come to share in the joy of Krishna Lunch. You can catch up with friends, share laughs and memories, or make new ones if you're sitting alone. This is a beautiful place within Gainesville that promotes inclusion and love.
Photo Credit: http://www.alligator.org/news/campus/article_268c44de-2f2e-11e4-ac54-001a4bcf887a.html
I took this photo freshman year. I remember the rush of the yelling crowd, the unity of 80,000 people cheering the same team on, and enjoying the feeling of being part of a family. Gator Football gives the chance for people to feel like they are a part of something important.
I am almost ashamed to say I have spent almost as much time at this restaurant as I have in my classes, but that's no matter. WaHaHa, a Thai restaurant south of the University of Florida campus, is a great meeting point for a variety of people. In my time eating there, I have seen professors, doctors, Publix employees, construction workers, students, children, the elderly, and more. People from all races, religions, and socioeconomic backgrounds go here for good food and good memories, and no one cares where you come from or where you are going.
Photo Credit: Google Photos, Emerick Larkin, September 2016
The weekly Wednesday Downtown Gainesville Farmer's Market is a great place for everyone. There are a variety of food, produce, flora, clothing, and jewelry vendors at all prices. There is something for everyone, and there are always tons of families in the little park area in front of the stage. It's fun to watch the dozens of children from all walks of life interact with each other and play games.
Photo Credit: http://gainesvillescene.com/2015/04/07/union-street-farmers-market-new-location/
Depot Park is a recent innovation in Gainesville, designed to be accessible to everyone in the community. With a variety of amenities, from a playground, to a hill to have picnics on, a bar, restaurant, and a general store, there are many options for residents of all shapes, sizes, and ages to explore.
Photo Credit: http://www.gainesvillecra.com/projects/item/depot-park