Guest blog written by Cora Butler
My name is Cora Butler and I am delighted to be interning with TTF this semester. I am a senior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Architecture and minoring in Art History and Landscape Studies. After graduation, I plan to work at an architecture firm and apply to graduate school. I am working with TTF as part of an academically based community service class, The Role of Water in Urban Sustainability and Resiliency. I have never taken a class like this before and I’m thrilled that it involves giving back to the community.
My project is to create a guide booklet of 10-15 significant water sites along the TTF Watershed. The purpose of this guide is to create a user-friendly booklet that reveals what is not immediately visible about these sites such as underground sewers, deteriorating mills, dried up creeks, and places of historical character. This booklet would be beneficial because currently the information on this topic is very scattered. I would be working with GSS data, doing archival research, engaging with the Historical Society, and conducting interviews with residents of the watershed area.
The goal of this cross-disciplinary guide is to engage the residents by increasing their knowledge of the watershed, creating a sense of neighborhood pride, and encouraging their involvement and cooperation with TTF Watershed. This project will benefit the community by educating residents of the watershed’s history, highlighting water issues, and inspiring future green infrastructure projects. This booklet will hopefully be available in public libraries and recreation centers and will serve as an aid for teachers trying to bring local history and environmental lessons into the classroom.
I am excited to be working on this project because it involves a level of site analysis and understanding of historical and environmental influences that is beyond the scope I’ve encountered before as an architecture student. I am hoping the skills I learn from this project will help me better understand the implications of urban development, and to gain a sensitivity to these factors when I design in the future. Working with TTF will teach me valuable skills that I would never have picked up in a classroom.