For this research project, I decided to do the alternative method by going out and bettering the community. I volunteered at my old church for the Hypothermia Prevention Program in Fairfax County. I’ve been volunteering for practically my whole life, but with the foundation of this class and the knowledge I’ve learned about power, I began to think about it differently this year than in previous years. I always have a great time helping out with the program, and I feel as if I’ve really helped out the community, but the program only offers temporary changes to the homeless, not reaching towards permanent changes to the homeless community.
Reaction Paper 3
A Newspaper Editorial on a violent riot that broke out after World Series Game 5.
Over the next few years, there will be a decision made on what will happen to RFK Stadium in Washington DC. Right now, the Major League Soccer team, DC United, occupies the space, but they are moving to a new stadium in upcoming years, leaving many disputes over what will happen to the 50-plus year old stadium in honor of Robert F. Kennedy. There are two sides to the disputes. On one end, the residents of surrounding areas want to demolish the stadium and turn the space into something more usable for the rest of the community. On the other end, the Mayor and other authority figures are more interested in luring the Washington Redskins back to the stadium. This research focuses on the dynamics between them, the efforts of the residents, and who ultimately has the power in the decision making process.
Reaction Paper #2
Abstract: In Michigan, the DOT is very busy with projects for new and improved systems of transportation. Two projects intertwine historic preservation and urban planning in a very stealthy way. The MDOT makes these historic preservation projects appear to be economic development projects, all because of the way they display the information and goals in the project description articles. I recognize the third dimension of power here, shaping the way residents view these projects, and informal governance strategies of growth machine theory.
Tiny Houses Form a Big Community
Hello young residents of Nashville,
If you have just graduated college and need a place to live that is affordable, but still near a big city, look no further. If your girlfriend just broke up with you and you were kicked out of the house, look no further. Or if you just need a change, because you can’t bear to live next to that old couple that just porch-sits and stares into your yard all day long, look no further. I have the place for you!
Here in Bliss, Tennessee, all the houses are similar but the people are unique, you can walk or bike anywhere you want to go, and you can have as much or as little privacy as you want. Now tell me that doesn’t sound perfect.
For those of you who don’t know, the tiny houses have taken over and are transforming the definition of a community. Bliss, Tennessee is the newest tiny house development that just happens to be right outside of Nashville. In the dreamy town of Bliss, you will not fall short of a good time. Your tiny home will be in the heart of the community, walking distance from all other tiny houses, and commercial attractions, and just a short drive away from the Music City itself. As I currently am writing this, I am sitting on a park bench in a meadow of freshly cut green grass in dandelions galore. There are dogs of all shapes, sizes, and colors running around with their owners, who are also of all shapes, sizes, and colors. And in my peripheral view, I see Bliss’ commercial strip, containing a movie theater, a variety of shops and restaurants, and it goes on past my sight to include much more. Sounds pretty picture-perfect, huh?
Bliss is the product of unhappy young Nashville residents who had a desire to create a common space to live and entertain themselves, separate from those weird Nashville Townies. They felt that they didn’t have a say in what was going on in their own communities. Can’t they go anywhere without listening to wanna-be country bands strum those overplayed songs? Ugh! So what was the result? These residents hired architects to build them tiny houses in the small acreage of Bliss, to create a densely populated tight-knit group of members in which they would be closely linked by their physical boundaries. This way, everyone is encouraged to interact (with normal people their own age), and the way the space is designed makes it very easy to do so. If you like making connections with the people that are near you, Bliss provides a wonderful physical community to make that very easy. No more sitting at home on a Saturday night watching Netflix, just step outside and I bet your neighbors are having a cookout and playing corn hole. Better than listening to weirdos play bad covers of your favorite songs.
Now you may be asking, what kinds of people live in Bliss? There are just over 3,000 residents— comparable to a really small university. Might I add that they are all young working professionals that commute to Nashville or other larger, nearby cities for work every day. I have been here this entire day, and have not seen one elderly person or one child. Forget Match.com, just move into a tiny house in Bliss and you’ll meet tons of singles right across the street. The lively social life of Bliss is partly due to the demographics of the residents. The ratio of males to females is relatively equal, and the diverse races and ethnic backgrounds make it a colorful sea of many diverse fish. There are so many backgrounds and stories of how everyone got to this place today. There is never a shortage of interesting conversations to have and fun people to meet.
Everyone is in the same stage in their life, therefore has the same needs and wants. There is not one member of this community more important than the other; everyone has the same amount of influence on community decisions. Bliss was created by these residents, for these residents. There are community elections in which everyone has a say in any decision relating to what goes on in Bliss. There is a Mayor, her name is Betty Lou, and she is in the same financial situation and age range as all the residents. Everyone is equal here. It’s kind of like having a class president. Doesn’t that sound a lot better than having some man in a suit that you actually don’t even know his name, and what does he do for your community again? Exactly.
Bliss was formed as a response to the larger community of Nashville that some residents felt they didn’t belong to. It started out as a brand new tiny-housing development, and blew up into its own town. There are three things relevant here that make Bliss a strong community— the space, the people, and the power sharing.[i] What makes it a community is the spatial distribution that the residents have so carefully planned out, allowing people to connect and make networks with each other to last a lifetime. What also makes it a community is the fact that all the people are in similar life stages, going through the same things. But it is not just a bunch of Barbie dolls in a sorority town, everyone is interesting and unique and has enriching life experiences they yearn to share. These are important aspects of a community that in the larger city of Nashville, many people struggle with. If you are one of those struggling individuals, Bliss may be just the right fit for you. The only way to tell is to come check out their live events, social life, and make those connections! Thank Betty Lou and the rest of the residents— may your days be bright and your home be Bliss.
* Note: Bliss, Tennessee is a completely made up community.