Design Journal Jalisa Mills

Bradenton, Florida. March 2017. This is a photo of the street that I live on in Bradenton, Florida. I live in a subdivision where there is two exits from my community. One on the north and west side of my subdivision. Now I’m not 100% sure how many people actually live or how many homes are in my subdivision but two ways out of my subdivision sound kind of ridiculous the way that way the developer had created my subdivision I’m never waiting to leave my subdivision to get onto the main road. Now the main road is never too busy that it is backed up on its own which has something to do with it but I when I first moved to this subdivision and I realized that it only had two exist I thought it was crazy and I would be waiting forever to get out of it, but it is not the case. Being from a community in New York that had multiple different exits depending on where you needed to go, I thought two ways in and out of the subdivision would be outrageous. But on a smaller scale the road that I live on is actually very narrow. Many people have more than two cars on my block and to get around only one car can really pass at a time. Because the driveways are so small people are forced to park on the street. I feel that if they were going to make the driveways that small then they should have widened the road to make it easier to get around the road itself.
Bradenton, Florida. March 2017. This is a photo of part of the River Walk in Bradenton, Florida. They renovated the area a few years ago to be a home for the community to come and enjoy. There used to be a train that goes through the River Walk on the south end the waterfront but the tracks are not in use as often anymore. I have been to River Walk multiple times since it has been renovated and I have never actually seen a train so I think these tracks are not used anymore. When walking through River Walk you come across these tracks and I always found it interesting as to why they chose to have the park go through the tracks and not have it stop before it at any point. Before reaching the train tracks there is a sign about the train and tracks when they were in full use back in the 20th century. People say that if you follow the tracks back into the city of Bradenton you will reach the center of town and then they will continue all the way to the center of Sarasota as well. The train tracks helped to connect Bradenton and the northern and southern part of the Tampa Bay area. When I first saw the tracks I first thought that they just didn’t take them out of the ground because it would cost too much money (which is true) but I also think it gives the River Walk a sense of history. River Walk is so new and full of new life that the history is almost lost in what it used to be and I think the railroad tracks are there to remind people. From a planning standpoint when looking down the tracks (which you can’t really see because my photo is dark) you can see that the tracks go on forever and it is humbling. Seeing things that are larger or greater than you makes you feel very small. Also seeing a part of history that was around when you as a person weren’t even on this earth makes you think about the world before you were in it.
Bradenton, Florida. March 2017. This is another photo of the River Walk in Bradenton, Florida. Even though it is dark outside there is adequate lighting along the River Walk. While I was walking and even though I was walking with a small group of people I did feel safe. There were not any dark parts of the walk where I would think something may happen but rather I felt safe. Everything was fully lit and even though there aren’t any store fronts along the River Walk there are areas at which apartment buildings are along. And as a community that lives along the River Walk I know they are happy it finally got cleaned up and they would like to keep it that way for a long time. There are benches for people to admire the waterfront and just sit and relax. There is adequate seating as well. So if you came to the waterfront on a busy day in the summer there will be more than enough seating for you and the person that you may be with. Every couple of yards there is bench for people to sit. There are multiple areas that are just set aside that have rocking chairs and various chairs that are shaded by trees or art installations that shade the benches below. It is nice that the tree ratio along the River Walk adequately covers the walk way and the places that people sit. I can’t say how many times I have seen a bench or a place for sitting that was completely bare and without any sort of shades for during the day. We live in Florida. Having shade for places where people are supposed to rest is very important in this state.
Bradenton, Florida. March 2017. This is another photo that is of the River Walk in Bradenton, Florida. On the right of the photo is a park that is available for kids with a small water park and a small grassy area about 20 yards in length. The walkway around the River Walk is right next to the park. The park is inviting for young children and has facilities if you needed to use the bathroom. A little way down the walk is a small theatre where local entertainment come to perform for the local area. There are many types of parks around the River Walk. There is a small skate park and tennis and beach volley ball courts located throughout the park. The parks start a sense of a community and togetherness in the area. Parks and the sports areas create a place that is safe for people to come and play or just be themselves and can enjoy the area that they are in. The parks throughout the River Walk create a place that are for the people to come and stay. Some areas are for people to walk through but the River Walk is an area that people can come and stay. It has created the water front an area that is safe for people and kids to come.
Bradenton Beach, Florida. March 2017. This is a photo of the area behind the beach and behind the parking lot for beach parking and the road that takes you out to Anna Maria Island and the multiple beaches that are on that island. It is a two land road and then starts the business front, hotel fronts and the home fronts in this area. There isn’t a large barrier between the road and the beach other than one line of parking and a row of trees and dunes. The man made barrier for the beach is the parking and the street but a more natural and permeable barrier are the trees and the dunes that separate the beach goers and the people inside the businesses and the locals. I like how far away the street is from the beach because once you are on the beach you can no longer hear the road or any of the traffic but you are secluded on the beach. While if you were walking down Anna Maria Island on the store front side there is a main street that is full of restaurants with outdoor seating that allow you to have the comfort of being in a restaurant while also enjoying the salty sand that is in the air. This area that I took a picture of is the in between. I find that the people that designed Anna Maria Island did this very well. I think the in between is always the hardest part when designing the city. Make two different things is easy but how they interact at some connection is something I find that planners find very difficult. I think it is done well. While walking to your car you are away from the beach that you start to realize that the “real world” past the nostalgia of the beach is now gone and you have to drive home and be safe while doing it. You can still see part of the beach while at your car and there is enough greenery that you do not feel completely disconnected all at once but you do realize the difference in where you are.
Serenbe, GA. April 2017. Serenbe is a self-sustaining community that is located on the outskirts of Atlanta. It is a self-sustaining community that prides itself on being a community that is inclusive. These are a few of the buildings that are in the center of their town that has stores and various other commercial uses. This photo is the back of the buildings. These are not street side but even in the back of their buildings they have a wide-open area where people can come and enjoy a normal day if wanted. Each of the buildings have a certain style to them and they always have a porch to encourage people to leave their homes ad engage with the people that are outside. These are mixed use buildings with commercial businesses on the bottom but apartments on top of them. Each of the buildings in Serenbe, whether they be homes, commercial buildings, or mixed use buildings, they always have some sort of front porch to try and get back to the front porch community. Which is a community that when someone is walking down the street they may see some neighbors sitting on their porch enjoying the outside. In many communities in the United States we have lost that front porch community and the founders of Serenbe wanted to bring that back to the people that live there. This fits into the landscape of Serenbe. They have very permeable storefronts that make wanting to go into the buildings enjoyable and being outside of the building also very enjoyable. Overall, they created a welcoming community in all aspects.
Atlanta, GA. April 2017. This is a photo of retention pond in the Fourth Ward Park which is part of the BeltLine in Atlanta Georgia. This is a park and it is a community center which is a nice walking and gathering area for people to enjoy. Near this retention pond is also a park for children to play and a small field where they can play. The retention pond is good for the environment and the community around the BeltLine area because it takes a very sustainable solution to their water problem. This retention pond is good for the community. They built up around the pond so that it is enjoyable to the people who live by the pond. The pond area is very calming. There is a small waterfall that is very calming and there are birds and it is far enough away from the road that you can only hear a small murmur of the cars and can focus on the nature that you see and is around you in the city of Atlanta. This is at the beginning of the BeltLine and it gives a beginning to the larger project that the BeltLine. That the BeltLine was a very large sustainable project that influenced the area of Atlanta and this retention pond is just one of the many positive ways the BeltLine has positively influenced the city.
Atlanta, GA. April 2017. This photo is a section of the BeltLine in Atlanta Georgia. This picture shows the poles or mile markers that are throughout the section of the BeltLine that I was located at. They each have a different message about them. Some of them are cultural, political, or even environmental issues that might at hand in society. This is a place where people can go for a run or just have a stroll with their kids or friends. It’s a great community driven area where people can come together and exercise or just be together outside. There was a small park and skate park that was near this area that helped connect Ponce City Market (which is a large renovated building that is now used for eating and shopping) with the rest of Atlanta. The poles are inviting and yet make you very aware of the outside world. It just reminds you that there are still problems in this world that need to be changed. Being in places that are full of nature it is easy to forget, in my opinion. The poles also lead to a large art installation that is place along the BeltLine. It helps compliment the park area and the art installation that are along the BeltLine as well.
Gainesville, Florida. March 2017. This is a photo of the Clinical and Translational Research Building on the University of Florida’s Campus. The building is in a U-shape and this is the area in between the building. It creates a courtyard for the people that work inside the building. It is full of Florida native greenery and has paths and benches for people to roam about during their off time. They also have an outdoor deck that people can go and relax on when it they need a break from work. That is shown on top of the first floor. This building has this communal space for it employees and the patients that come into the building. This area fits into the larger landscape of the building in that the building is LEED certified and was very close to being a Living Building Challenge Building Certification as well. Each of the major hallways that are located in the building actually over look the courtyard and they are inviting for the people walking around the building to want to be apart of the courtyard. It is a relaxation spot. It is far enough from the road that unless you are physical looking at it, one may not realize that the road is right there. Even then there are multiple entry and exit ways for the courtyard so that people may reach it form multiple points of the building. The area is calming and seeing that this is a Clinic and research building people may need this when either visiting their doctor or scientists needing breaks from their studies
St. Augustine, Florida. January 2017. This is a picture of St. George Street in Saint Augustine, Florida. This street is full of permeable storefronts that are very inviting to the consumer. Being a pedestrian and walking through St. George Street it is nice to have a large enough street that there are not cars but you also are not packed into an area with hundreds of other people trying to get somewhere. St. George Street did get more crowded as the time passed and it became night but I never felt overwhelmed with the amount of people I had to walk through. Being that I grew up in New York and I understand getting through the Rockefeller area during Christmas Time can probably be the worst place you can possibly be because there are so many people all the time, walking through St. George was not bad. There was adequate shading of trees and the buildings were tall enough that there were only a couple of hours mid-day that the sun would be I full effect and may hinder your experience. There are store every couple of feet so even if you did get hot then all you had to do was walk inside of a store and enjoy the air conditioning. St. Augustine is a town that takes pride in their tourist attractions. The comfort of St. George Street and the many store front commercial buildings that are located there fit into the tourist attraction that is St. Augustine.

All of the photos were taken by Jalisa Mills

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