Archive for July, 2011

My son the medieval knight

How can you predict what that little baby boy that you hold in your arms for the first time will do when he grows up?  One would think a boy growing up in seemingly an average environment would turn out to be an average teenager who would grow into an average adult.

As many of us as boys, we would play different games with our siblings, which would include perhaps sword fights with an array of tree branches and sticks. In my case my sister was the one who had to endure a young 10 year old’s exuberance for experimentation with these kinds of implements.

My son, probably fortuitously when playing these kinds of games, only had brothers. He often made good sport of his younger brother as he practiced his techniques as a young lad. Of course, his younger brother, slightly smaller at the time would often fight above his weight, giving a reasonable effort in response to my eldest son’s foray with the sword which in those days was an old stick from behind the shed.

Maybe on reflection there was a clue to be had in the formation of this young man turning himself into a medieval knight.

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Introduction to Brooklyn’s Bushwick Story

Brownstones and apartment buildings on Bushwic...

Bushwick Street

As a founding member of the Habitat Association, Dr. Ray Rauscher, with the assistance of several colleagues from the Class of
1961 Bushwick Highschool, Brooklyn, NYC, USA, put together the story of change in this neighbourhood of Brooklyn. The group is called Bushwick
Reflections and would love to hear your comments on their story, to Ray Rauscher, ray.r@idl.net.au

Review

The background to Bushwick and Brooklyn and their histories is outlined in
Chapter 1. The Bushwick Reflections group collected their stories and
others of life in Bushwick in the 1940s-1960s as outlined in Chapter 2.

The Bushwick HS of past and the Academy of Urban Planning (New Century
School Bushwick) of today is examined in Chapter 3.  The chapter outlines
the education system at Bushwick highschool in 1961. It looks at:
approaches to teaching; student activities; and school teaching staff and
counsellors. The chapter then looks at an education initiative that was
taken in 2003, through the assistance of Bill Gates Foundation and the
establishment of the New Century Schools. This program was aimed
essentially at places such as Bushwick HS (within a low socio-economic
area) where there were problems achieving an acceptable educational level.
Bushwick HS became three schools in one building, being: Academy of Urban Planning; School of Social Justice; and, School of the Environmental
Leadership (initially there was a harbour school, which later required a
location closer to water).

Bushwick of 1970s-2007 is reviewed in Chapter 4. This period includes the
demise of Bushwick that culminated in the catastrophic Bushwick fires and
looting in the NYC blackout of 1977. In this incident 20% of all Bushwick
housing was lost and 1/3 of the businesses closed. The recovery of
Bushwick in the 1980s, 90s and early 2000s is summarised. The 197a program (community planning system) under NYC administration was introduced to assist the revitalisation of areas such as Bushwick and surrounding Northeast Brooklyn. This planning system and how it was implemented in different ways within the three areas of Northeast Brooklyn is examined.

Bushwick and Brooklyn in moving to sustainable communities by 2008 is
summarised in Chapter 5. The chapter starts by comparing the 1880s roots
of universal thinking with nature as central to life. The current green
urban movement is examined as it relates to Bushwick and NYC. This
movement would likely have a flow on effect on Bushwick, given land
investments and housing would increase across the city. The shock of the
world economic crisis in 2008/09 slowed Bushwick’s revival. On recovery,
however, Bushwick is poised to stride forward adapting to green
innovation. The chapter examines ecologically sustainable development
(ESD) principles and the movement of Bushwick, Brooklyn and NYC towards
sustainable communities. Finally, the chapter looks at ways Bushwick can
adapt to becoming a sustainable community.

Bushwick Reflections group hope to have some of this material available on this site soon.

Dr. Ray Rauscher is an advocate for sustainable communities, community planning and ecologically sustainable development.

Please express your interest in finding out more about the above material gathered over several years by Dr. Ray Rauscher and his colleagues through the comments section of this blog.

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