URS Spring Field Trip Tours Brooklyn
In mid–March, a group of urban and regional studies (URS) undergraduates were led by the Organization of Urban and Regional Studies (OURS) on a weekend field trip to Brooklyn.
"One of the themes of the trip was the extraordinary change that Brooklyn has undergone in the last 75 years," says Thomas J. Campanella, associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, "from industrial crucible to post-industrial basket case with rampant crime and unemployment, to poster child for today's hipster-driven creative economy." Campanella, a fourth-generation Brooklynite, is currently writing a book about his native borough and drew heavily on his research for the tour.
Starting at AAP NYC with an overview and welcome with Gensler Family Sesquicentennial Executive Director and Brooklyn resident Robert W. Balder (B.S. URS '89), the group took the East River Ferry to Williamsburg to view the fast-changing waterfront and new infill development along the shore, including SHoP Architects' Domino Sugar project.
The following day, Campanella led a five-mile walking tour that began at the Fulton Street site of Brooklyn's first super-tall skyscraper and continued with visits to Fort Greene Park; the Ingersoll and Farragut projects of the New York City Housing Authority; DUMBO; Cadman Park Plaza (designed in the 1930s by CRP founder and former AAP Dean Gilmore D. Clarke); Brooklyn Heights, the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and Brooklyn Heights Promenade; the Riverside Model Tenements; and Fulton Ferry Landing and Jean Nouvel Jane's Carousel pavilion. The group gathered for a photo in front of Deborah Kass's OY/YO sculpture in Brooklyn Bridge Park (master planned in 2005 by noted landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh '73). The balance of the day was spent at the New York City Transit Museum.
On Sunday morning, the group met at the Brooklyn Museum for the final day of the exhibition, Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland.
For Colin Hancock (B.S. URS '16), the highlight was the ferry ride across the East River from Wall Street to Williamsburg.
"Passing under the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges in the shadow of the towers of lower Manhattan was an awesome experience," he said.
Hadar Sachs (B.S. URS '17) appreciated learning about the city outside the classroom, "with peers who love to talk planning any time, any day." She added, "Special to these trips is the opportunity to contextualize our classwork and ensure that our excitement and passion for the built environment remain strong."
The mission of the Organization of Urban and Regional Studies (OURS) is to form and maintain a community among the URS undergraduate students, and to give all students a wider perspective of the field of urban and regional studies through hands-on urban experience.
By Patti Witten