Thursday, November 16, 2006

Loyola: A City College?

I felt as if much of the reading of Jane Jacobs’s, The Death and Life of Great American Cities is directly related to Baltimore City. Her commentary of diversity and borders in the city, are specifically insightful. These genius observations by Jane Jacobs relating to the city effectively help explain the destructive and progressive aspects of the city and its people. After reading, I now consider that much of the responsibility of the death of parts of a city relates to the physical downfalls and errors in the planning process of the buildings and institutions throughout the city. This downfall is not completely contributed solely to the preliminary planning stage, but to the new stages of additional development and renovation, specifically with physical and unintentional borders created by establishments throughout the city. Jane Jacobs discusses the barriers and borders created by universities in the city.

Many of Jane Jacob’s elements of the creation of physical borders are demonstrated at Loyola. When driving along the surrounding streets of Loyola, there is literally no view of the beautiful campus. Driving on Coldspring Lane, the view of Loyola College is the back of our buildings. It seems as if Loyola deliberately has constructed a completely physical wall around the campus, separating us from the surroundings. The Cold Spring entrances of Newman Towers, which actually face the street, have been sealed off. All of Loyola’s buildings face inward—not outward—creating the illusion that we are separate from our neighborhood and the city around us. When you do not have the view of the back of a building, large sprawling and towering bushes and hedges obscure the view of Loyola, when driving at a moderate pace, only quick glimpses can be seen. When thinking about it, the only exception I could find at Loyola is the location of the Fitness and Aquatic Center, an establishment for which we are notoriously known. Even the FAC has a wrought iron and brick fence along the sidewalk, but at least the landscape can be seen from the street. Maybe the Fitness and Aquatic Center, one of the newer buildings of Loyola, was an attempt to break the physical barriers so steeped in Loyola’s history.