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Harvard Square

In: Social Issues

Submitted By krysx182
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A Square with More than Four Unique Points

Society utilizes a certain area depending on elements such as architecture and its aesthetic qualities. Harvard Square, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is no different. Centrally located within Harvard University, it is evident the Square mimics the university’s attractive Georgian architecture. Other influential characteristics can be seen in the Square’s efforts for preservation, like Out of Town News, which gives the Square its own local character. These architectural qualities influence visitors’ behaviors to use the space to their own benefit through the use of impulse buying, triangulation, and different seating arrangements. Harvard Square not only provides a historic place for individuals to shop, dine and congregate, but also an opportunity to find their own center in a large, impersonal city.

Is it possible that a certain color of brick or position of wall can manipulate a person’s behavior? As strange as it sounds, this influence can be seen in an area situated in the middle of an Ivy League campus that contains several clothing stores, a large underground train station, and restaurants. This “heterogeneous” area, known as Harvard Square, despite its age, is still considered unique and upbeat place within a historic, elite university. Since the heart of the Square is shaped like a triangle, different parts of Cambridge touch this area. For example, on the side of Massachusetts Avenue are Harvard University and its historic Harvard Yard. On the other side, locals, visitors, and Harvard students enjoy shopping areas and restaurants. As for the middle of the Square, street vendors and visitors looking to relax tend to congregate near the Out of Town News building and the train station entrance. The aesthetic and influential qualities of the area come from the mimesis of the carefully designed Harvard University, which is drenched in Gregorian architecture, from the preservation of old structures, such as the Out of Town News stand, and from the local character which this conservation brings. People react to these characteristics of the architecture by manipulating it to their advantage through the use of impulse buying, triangulation and seating that is comfortable, protective, and contributes to their line of site.
In the hub of Cambridge, Massachusetts and across the street from the historic heart of Harvard University, also known as Harvard Yard, lays Harvard Square. Its triangular area, which includes the Harvard train station, a newspaper stand, and plenty of open space for public entertainment or encounters with friends, is at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue, Brattle Street, and John F. Kennedy Street. In fact, these streets have been laid out since 1631, more than 100 years before our country was founded. However, before traffic filled the streets and crowds of pedestrians on the sidewalk, Harvard Square was known as the Colonial village of Newtowne. According to Charles M. Sullivan, Executive Director of Cambridge Historical Commission, this village, which dates back to 1630, was the first planned town in English North America. Thus, it is evident that this area has a rich American history that can be seen and analyzed by visitors today.
However, in order to analyze the aesthetic qualities and behavioral influence of Harvard Square, one must begin looking from outside of the area and bordering influences. Despite the brick wall that surrounds the border of campus, the attractiveness of the Square is actually a mimic of the surrounding campus of Harvard University. Its campus, drenched in Georgian style, reminds its students of the university’s philosophies. According to Colleen Walsh of the Harvard Gazette, the official newspaper of Harvard University, Harvard’s architecture “helps to explain its values, its academic priorities, its responses to new teaching methods, its desire for stronger collaboration, its embrace of the urban environment, and its ongoing flexibility”. As the oldest, most elite university in the country, Harvard was obviously carefully designed over the centuries, which, in Frances Halsband’s eyes, leaves this university with a quality that only the “best” universities possess. Also, Halsband points out that the most “memorable university campuses may also be distinguished by a prevailing architectural style”. In this case, the Georgian style gives the university its “Harvard look” that is mirrored in the architecture in places in Square such as J.P. Licks and the Cambridge Savings Bank with red brick and antique black lighting outside.
These buildings, that share borders with Harvard University, not only mirrors attractive qualities of the university, but also contain a unique sense of character through the demolition and preservation of old buildings. Ronald Wiedenhoeft, author of Cities for People: Practical Measures for Improving Urban Environments, claims: “…the call for more building means an overly rapid change of urban environments that in turn accelerates the demolition and removal, rather than rehabilitation and preservation, of the civil fabric”. Although demolition did occur in Harvard Square, such as the removal of Cronin's restaurant and an entire block to build the Holyoke Center, reconstruction was prevalent mostly through the twenties in “Georgian vein” that preserved the area’s history and character.
An extraordinary example of preservation and a “palimpsest” that contributes to the Square’s unique history is Out of Town News. The preservation of this structure and those surrounding, such as the Cambridge Savings Bank, gives a sense of continuity of time that draws in visitors from around the world. This newsstand, which is directly located in heart of the Square, houses newspapers and magazines from around the world. In fact, several individuals from out of town, such as out-of-state Harvard students, will purchase the most recent editions of their hometown paper there. However, before informing the Cambridge public on current events, the Out of Town News building was used as the Harvard Square Subway Kiosk in 1920s, which explains why its located at the entrance of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s (MBTA) Harvard station.
However, this preservation of old structures that border and are in the heart of the Square establishes a unique and attractive ethos that influences its visitors’ behaviors. According to Wiedenhoeft, conservation is “much more than merely retaining and restoring historic moments”, but is done to retain “a sense of place, to enhance local character, and to stimulate social identification with a particular locale”. Also, Wiedenhoeft celebrates preservation in the sense that it contributes “directly to establishing or enhancing a city’s positive image and improving its ability to attract and hold people and to develop in them attitudes of good citizenship”. For example, rich exteriors of old buildings, such as the Georgian brick presented all around the square, “stimulate the viewer’s psychological responses” of pleasure and interest. Thus, visitors tend to feel and act differently while in the presence of historical and beautiful buildings. Perhaps they become passionate about the history of the area or are influenced to purchase items.
However, the Square was never a huge retail area until the subway system ran through this area. In fact, “the impact of the subway was immediately felt by the shopkeepers in Harvard Square”, thus, marking the beginning of a major retail boom. From the Crate & Barrel to Urban Outfitters, it is evident that shopping in Harvard Square is a popular activity. However, by ignoring the large corporate retail stores, small street vendors and their techniques toward “impulse buying” can be seen. This was evident while walking around the perimeter of the heart of the Square. I stumbled upon two small street vendors: one selling homemade artwork at the steps of the MBTA station and another selling artisan jewelry outside the Harvard Coop, a large bookstore that serves Harvard students similar to Barnes and Nobles at Boston University. The technique the artist and jeweler used to sell was extremely clever. By situating their goods in this way, crowds of people were able to view their merchandise before enter and upon leaving major areas of the Square.
Other attractions at this major area, where street vendors tend to flock, are street performances. Such situations can break the impersonalization and blasé attitude created in cities by connecting strangers in a friendly way. In The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, William Whyte explains that when strangers watch a street performance they “exchange comments…in a tone of a voice usually reserved for close friends”. I saw this example come to life while observing a musical performance by a young man on guitar and a girl singing outside of the Harvard Coop, which proved one of Whyte’s theories of “triangulation” to be correct. As the four or five strangers, who seemed to all be in their early to mid-twenties, gathered to watch the couple’s musical performance, they began to comfortably converse about the song and enjoy the music together. As Michael Brill states, instances like this bring a sense of connection by common interest or heritage into a very busy, populated area.
Those who were not rummaging through street merchandise or listening to the couple were enjoying lunch with a friend on the stone blocks or steps in the open space of the Square’s heart—a sort of getaway from the crowded sidewalks. From my observations, it is evident that these individuals searched for comfort and coverage of themselves in public areas. These individuals did just as Jan Gehl, author of Life Between Buildings, said most people prefer to do: “sitting along facades and spatial boundaries”. He claims that people prefer this over “sitting areas in the middle of a space, and as in standing, people tend to seek support from the details of the physical environment”. For example, as one couple sat on the steps at the perimeter of the square, another leaded against a short stonewall while enjoying ice cream, both of which can be seen as secondary seating. Not only do these individuals find physical support from the wall, but also coverage for their back so there was no feeling of vulnerability.
Also, both couples were turned toward the center of the Square and put their backs to the road or the train station entrance walls. However, this was not a coincidence. Their direction of sight contributed to where these individuals decided to sit. Gehl and Wiedenhoeft, respectively, explain that people tend to orient their sight toward the “advantages the place has to offer” and toward passing crowds, which feeds “the interest of human activity”. For example, the individuals were facing an open and lowered area behind the train station entrance and Out of Town News. Since this area is lower than ground level, it creates a type of stage for street performers and protestors.
Not only is this area a stage that is able to provide entertainment for visitors, but also can be considered the heart of the historic and multi-faceted Harvard Square. Individuals from around the world visit the Square to experience the incomparable ethos influenced by the Georgian architecture of the bordering, elite Harvard University. Hard efforts to preserve the Square’s notable past caused the creation of a sense of continuity of time and a local personality that influences the behavior of visitors and how they move within the given space. All of which can be seen in the techniques of street vendors, the effects of street performances, such as triangulation, and the use of secondary seating for comfort, protection, and visual pleasure. This square, having more than four unique points, or qualities, acts as a place in which individuals may find their own center in a large, impersonal city.

Bibliography
Brill, Michael. “An Ontology for Exploring Urban Public Life Today,” Places: Public Space 6, no. 1 (1989), http://places.designobserver.com/toc.html?issue=237 (accessed on April 10, 2011).
Chidiser, Mark. "Public Places, Private Lives: Plazas and the Broader Public," Places: Public Space 6, no. 1 (1989), http://places.designobserver.com/toc.html?issue=237 (accessed on April 10, 2011).
Gehl, Jan. "A Changing Street Life in a Changing Society," Places: Public Space 6, no. 1 (1989), http://places.designobserver.com/toc.html?issue=237 (accessed on April 10, 2011).
Halsband, Frances. "Campuses in Place” Places: Considering the Place of Campus 17, no. 1 (2005), http://places.designobserver.com/toc.html?issue=597. (accessed April 15, 2011).
Inventory of Historic Assets of the Commonwealth. The Massachusetts Historical Commission. 1988-07-27. http://mhc-macris.net/Details.aspx?MhcId=CAM.AB. Retrieved 2011-14 04. "Old Cambridge; Harvard Square; Mid-Cambridge; Dana Hill"
Lippard, Lucy R. “Alternating Currents,” Popular Spaces. 428.
Noah, Timothy. "Saving Out-of-Town News." Slate, Oct. 5, 1999.
Rettig, Robert B. Guide to Cambridge Architecture: Ten Walking Tours. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cambridge Historical Commission, 1969.
Sullivan, Charles M. "History of Harvard Square” http://www.harvardsquare.com/Home/about/History-of-Harvard-Square.aspx. (accessed April 14, 2011).
Walsh, Colleen. "The Art of Architecture." Harvard Gazette, Feb. 16, 2011.
Whyte, William H. The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces. Washington, D.C.: The Conservation Foundation, 1980.
Wiedenhoeft, Ronald. Cities for People: Practical Measures for Improving Urban Environments. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1981.

--------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. Charles M. Sullivan, "History of Harvard Square”. http://www.harvardsquare.com/Home/about/History-of-Harvard-Square.aspx (accessed April 14, 2011).
[ 2 ]. Ibid.
[ 3 ]. Walsh, Colleen. "The Art of Architecture." Harvard Gazette, Feb. 16, 2011. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/02/the-art-of-architecture/ (accessed April 14, 2011).
[ 4 ]. Frances Halsband. "Campuses in Place” Places: Considering the Place of Campus 17, no. 1 (2005) http://places.designobserver.com/toc.html?issue=597. (accessed April 15, 2011).
[ 5 ]. Ibid.
[ 6 ]. Charles M. Sullivan, "History of Harvard Square,” http://www.harvardsquare.com/Home/about/History-of-Harvard-Square.aspx. (accessed April 14, 2011).
[ 7 ]. Robert B. Rettig, Guide to Cambridge Architecture: Ten Walking Tours. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cambridge Historical Commission, 1969),156.
[ 8 ]. A term presented by Lucy R. Lippard that refers to buildings in which the partially visible layers of its previous architecture can still be made out. (Lucy R. Lippard, “Alternating Currents,” Popular Spaces. 428.)
[ 9 ]. Timothy Noah, "Saving Out-of-Town News," Slate, Oct. 5, 1999. http://www.slate.com/id/1003753/ (accessed April 28, 2011).
[ 10 ]. Ronald Wiedenhoeft, Cities for People: Practical Measures for Improving Urban Environments (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1981), 74.
[ 11 ]. Ronald Wiedenhoeft, Cities for People: Practical Measures for Improving Urban Environments (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1981), 74.
[ 12 ]. Ibid., 153.
[ 13 ]. Ibid.
[ 14 ]. A theory presented by Wiedenhoeft, which states that such buying occurs in market streets, “simply because the wares are attractively displayed and can be seen as people pass through”.
[ 15 ]. William H. Whyte, The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (Washington, D.C.: The Conservation Foundation, 1980), 94.
[ 16 ]. A theory presented by Whyte that explains the process by which some external stimulus provides a linkage between people and prompts strangers to talk to each other as though they were not.
[ 17 ]. Michael Brill, “An Ontology for Exploring Urban Public Life Today,” Places: Public Space 6, no. 1 (1989), http://places.designobserver.com/toc.html?issue=237 (accessed on April 10, 2011).
[ 18 ]. Jan Gehl, "A Changing Street Life in a Changing Society," Places: Public Space 6, no. 1 (1989), http://places.designobserver.com/toc.html?issue=237 (accessed on April 10, 2011).
[ 19 ]. A term presented by Gehl that is defined as seating usually in the form of stairways, pedestals, steps, low walls, boxes, and so on, which are usually need for times when the demand for seating is particularly great.
[ 20 ]. Ibid.
[ 21 ]. Ronald Wiedenhoeft, Cities for People: Practical Measures for Improving Urban Environments. (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1981),101.…...

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...Acknowledgement The internship opportunity I had with SQUARE TEXTILES was a great chance for learning and professional development. Therefore, I consider myself as a very lucky individual as I was provided with an opportunity to be a part of it. I am also grateful for having a chance to meet so many wonderful people and professionals who led me though this internship period. Bearing in mind previous I am using this opportunity to express my deepest gratitude and special thanks to the MD of [Company name] who in spite of being extraordinarily busy with her/his duties, took time out to hear, guide and keep me on the correct path and allowing me to carry out my project at their esteemed organization and extending during the training. I express my deepest thanks to [Name Surname], [Position in the Company] for taking part in useful decision & giving necessary advices and guidance and arranged all facilities to make life easier. I choose this moment to acknowledge his/her contribution gratefully. It is my radiant sentiment to place on record my best regards, deepest sense of gratitude to Mr. /Ms. [Name Surname], [Position in the Company], Mr./Ms. [Name Surname], [Position in the Company], Mr./Ms. [Name Surname], [Position in the Company] and Mr./Ms. [Name Surname], [Position in the Company] for their careful and precious guidance which were extremely valuable for my study both theoretically and practically. I perceive as this opportunity as a big milestone in my career...

Words: 4338 - Pages: 18

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Hip to Be Square

...Assignment 1 - Hip to be Square Sonal Rewanwar Answer 1: The shift into the new mobile payment market started mainly with the advancements in wireless connectivity. The availability of cheap and readily available cellular and WiFi connectivity gave merchants an option to move from the restrictive and geographically limited wired point of sales. The major contributors to this shift were the four payment services using mobile payments that sprung up, namely, 1. 2. 3. 4. Premium Mobile SMS Based payments Direct Mobile Billing Mobile web payments NFC based payments Premium Mobile SMS Based payments: This service allowed for the payments of a purchase to be made via an SMS based service. The charges from the same were added in the users monthly bill or deducted from the prepaid account balance. Direct Mobile Billing: Similar to SMS based billing, this was an utility used on smartphones. This involved a two step authentication procedure to securely authorize payments from the smart phone.This did not require and credit card or bank accounts and the charges were levied on the customers mobile account again. Mobile web payments: Consumers made payments using internet based application or internet browser. Similar to Paypal this required credit cards/debit cards NFC based payments: This technology relied on RFID enabled chips or NFC enabled smartphones to communicate with the radio frequency enabled receiver. The payment information was wirelessly...

Words: 1109 - Pages: 5