Category: perception bias

Frog, Walked.

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By , May 16, 2011 5:45 pm

Last Saturday, about 25 people took part in a free walking tour through parts of the Frog Hollow neighborhood. The purpose of this was mainly to highlight the remainder of the Lyric Theater, but also to show some of the other interesting historical and cultural aspects of the area. For those who missed it, here’s how it went.

The group met up at La Paloma Sabanera and headed up Babcock Street to the Park Branch of the Hartford Public Library.

Continue reading 'Frog, Walked.'»

Thugs and Gangbangers of Pope Park

By , May 14, 2011 7:18 pm

This past week a young child died after he was struck by a vehicle. The news reports have been inconsistent and inaccurate by misreporting the child’s age. Several reports have instantly villainized the motor vehicle driver and have framed him as a “coward” in the same way that the person who evaded responsibility in the famous Park Street hit-and-run had been, despite the fact that this young adult turned himself in to police hours after the incident. I am reminded of an article I wrote over a year ago about how evading responsibility in such instances is not something that Hartford residents have a monopoly on, and how most of these drivers seem to do the right thing once they get over the initial shock and fear. Poor reporting does not help justice, nor does it paint an accurate picture for news consumers, many of whom are willing to pass judgment without relying on factual information. In reports, the area where the accident occurred was described as a road. At one time a road did go through the park; however, several years ago, the thru-street was removed. It is far more accurate to describe this section of pavement as a driveway, as it leads to a parking lot. It’s true that “Pope Park Drive” is listed on Google Maps, but as is necessary to remind people, Google Maps is often incorrect. The inability to accurately describe a place shows a disconnect with that area. This disconnect is seen again in reader comments left on the articles.

Here are a few gems from the comment section on WTNH:

I couldnt see the person hanging around after that. We are talking pope park in Hartford. That place is full of thugs and gangbangers. Best bet was what he did,Go to the PD. otherwise they would of attacked him. These people are into street justice..

And another:

If there were no roads through these parks, how would the police and ambulances get to all the Thursday afternoon “family gatherings” where someone OD’s or someone gets stabbed, beaten, or shot?

And another:

Pope Park should be closed, Its full of thugs and Dealers. Continue reading 'Thugs and Gangbangers of Pope Park'»

Trinity Students Protest Hate on Campus

By , April 26, 2011 4:24 pm

“We’re Here/We’re Queer/We’re Fabulous/Don’t Fuck with Us” was a chant heard on the Trinity College quad Tuesday afternoon. A few hundred students, faculty, and staff wearing neon green ribbons gathered in front of Mather Hall at noon to demand a Zero Tolerance policy for those committing acts of bigotry on campus. This protest was called in response to a series of hate crimes on the Trinity College campus. Most recently, a Latino Trinity student, according to a report in the Hartford Courant, was told to get off the campus by a white student. The Latino student was reportedly called a “nigger” after having a beer launched at his car. This was noted as the third reported racist incident on campus in approximately one month.

At Tuesday’s protest, a number of students held signs and wore name tags announcing who they were, that they were students, and that they were not to be referred to by various hate slurs. Before marching to the Dean of Students’ office and other locations on campus, several students and a professor spoke to the crowd. The professor said “we demand to live in a culture that is civilized.” A student speaker called for the isolation of those who commit hate crimes, explaining, “they divide our community [...] they create an environment of fear.” Continue reading 'Trinity Students Protest Hate on Campus'»

Saluting Parkville Cuisine

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By , April 21, 2011 4:12 pm

The First Night banners — displayed for months after the New Year’s Eve event had passed — around Bushnell Park were exchanged for fresher ones that are not specific to any season.

One banner depicts Tastease donuts, which have gotten a load of press, are located in a visible spot on a main thoroughfare, and are now stocked at The Market at Hartford 21.

Other banners declare that Hartford has “fun” and “style.” Well, duh.

iQuilt Phase II: Part 3 of 3

By , March 31, 2011 3:01 pm

Image from theiquiltplan.org

Part 1: Overview and “Users and Uses”

Part 2: Lighting and Nighttime Use of Park; Water and Landscaping

Bushnell Park’s Relationship to the City

A question that I am always asking about any development is who will be benefiting. It’s fine to want to draw wealthy professionals into the city, but not if it means ignoring the needs of current residents. Something heartening about these discussions was that nobody was proposing anything that sounded like an attempt to change an historical park Downtown into a Disneyland. There was a balance between providing for existing park users and potential park users. Even in the discussion about raising up Gully Brook, nobody asked for anything (like duck boats) that would not fit in a small city.

This last session dealt with not so much what happens within the park, but how the park happens in the city. There was discussion about its entryways and boundaries. One idea was to extend the park to Tower Square, which is that foreboding slab of concrete you see when walking out of the park and up Gold Street. It’s always cordoned off now and functions as a dead space. The concept of extending the park space in this way is one that was mentioned in the very early stages of the iQuilt project.

There was discussion of creating a “better city edge” that would support the park. Basically, this entails, as Suisman put it, “putting streets on a road diet” by paring some down. When streets are wide, motorists drive faster. This means that they are not slowing down to look at their environment, and they certainly are not slowing down for pedestrians. Anyone who has ever tried to bike down Capitol Avenue near the I-84 on/off ramp can attest to this. Basically, the infrastructure sends the message that we want people to move through as quickly as possible.

When narrowing travel lanes, there would be potential to add bike lanes or make other use of the space.

The need to make the area along Elm Street more walkable was discussed. In all of this, one hopes that there is attention given to the need for these areas to all be walkable during the winter months as well. Having a nice view is a plus, but if people can not go from point A to point B because some clown left a snowbank in the middle of the sidewalk, that view does not really matter. This past winter demonstrated this issue all too well, as there were no thru-paths in the entire park for several weeks. Just as the city does not shut down at 5pm, it should not be expected to shut down during January. Continue reading 'iQuilt Phase II: Part 3 of 3'»

iQuilt Phase II: Part 2 of 3

This is a continuation of summary and commentary about the 30 March 2011 iQuilt workshop. The first section is available here.

Lighting and Nightime Use of Bushnell Park

As someone who regularly walks and bikes through Bushnell Park after dark — it’s the safest route from Downtown to Frog Hollow as this segment of the East Coast Greenway is separate from motorized traffic — I definitely had some opinions to offer up on the concept of adding more lighting. Continue reading 'iQuilt Phase II: Part 2 of 3'»

Removing Trees, Ending Wars, and Repealing Raises

By , March 29, 2011 9:36 pm

The next time I hear somebody run his mouth about how people in Hartford don’t care about anything, I’m going to drag him to a City Council meeting. He would then see that even at meetings without a public hearing session, residents are willing to stand — if there are no chairs left, which often is the case– for over an hour to listen to public servants make decisions that will affect them.

Monday night, many residents showed up at City Hall to support designating roughly $50,000 for the Salvation Army’s Marshall House emergency shelter to remain open through the end of June. Because there was no public hearing, they held signs. This agenda item was not debated because its sponsor apparently missed a deadline. Items that were discussed: trees, the impact of war, and whether or not voters were too dumb to know what they were voting for in 2008 when they gave an 80% pay raise to City Council. Continue reading 'Removing Trees, Ending Wars, and Repealing Raises'»

Beer-Tasting and Adult Storytelling at Billings Forge

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By , February 2, 2011 11:34 am

A mash up is a song or video made my blending two (or more) others together. It can also be the combination of new with pre-existing texts. When I heard about “The Mash Up at Billings Forge,” I was a little confused about why they were calling it such when it’d be more accurate to describe this as a festival. Maybe the use of “mash up” was to appeal to the hipsters and young people, just like every staged public performance this year was called a “flash mob” by the media, even though press releases were even sent in advance of some of those events.

Whatever you want to call it — since it’s right at the Chinese New Year, I’m considering it a New Year’s festival — the Billings Forge compound has a number of activities planned for February 3rd.

The Winter Farmers’ Market has been operating in The Studio on Thursdays, but tomorrow’s market will have demonstrations and tastings for an organic herb and spice line based in Litchfield. The Executive Director of Northeast Organic Farming Association (CT NOFA) will give a talk on how to develop our local, organic food system. The farmers’ market goes from 3:30-6pm.

From 6-9pm there will be a discussion on drink and dessert pairings in The Kitchen. No word on whether or not any samples will be available. At the same time and in the same building there will be a “Bore(d) Game Night.”

WNPR, perhaps tired of being snowed in on Asylum Avenue, will be broadcasting for part of the day from Frog Hollow. At 9 in the morning, Where We Live will be broadcasting live from The Lyceum. Continue reading 'Beer-Tasting and Adult Storytelling at Billings Forge'»

Hartford, Resurrected?

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By , January 9, 2011 2:15 pm

Continue reading 'Hartford, Resurrected?'»

A Safer Place to Raise Children

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By , December 27, 2010 3:18 pm

An article on The Grist claims that cities are safer places for parents to raise children. In summary, the author writes that children are much more at risk of injury and death by way of automobile accidents than by “stranger danger” or being caught in crossfire. In fact, according to the CDC, “Motor vehicle injuries are the leading cause of death among children in the U.S.”

Thanks to Julie of Live in Hartford for making me aware of this article.

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