Williamsburg as our region Introduction

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¶ … Williamsburg as our region, with more specifically the blocks- Kent Ave, between North 3rd & North 5th Streets and the waterfront as our location, we conducted qualitative research on the region in order to better understand the social, economic and political forces that are shaping Williamsburg. Strategies such as close observational techniques, interviewing, and mapping showed us that Williamsburg has become a hipster region that has lost much of its original vigor and is rapidly going into decline, aside from which it has become a demographically diversified region with two distinct populations: hipsters and the very wealthy. From a sustainability point-of-view, therefore, we propose that a urban golf course be built and that this project be patterned on the structure of the London inner Golf. The project could be sustainable by attracting diverse people into the area and by turning the residence into a useful place since the Urban Golf concept has the potential to encourage diverse social groups to gather and hang around.

Williamsburg: Its Demographics

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Hipster seems to be in the 'in thing' in Brooklyn, and particularly so in Williamsburg although many describe Williamsburg to be losing its original hipster fervor. Created in the 1940s and revived in the millennium, the term "hipster" itself is ambiguous. The Hipster Handbook 1 written by a Williamsburg author, list 10 species of the "hipster" creature, whilst hipsters themselves describe themselves as "young, recently settled urban middle class adults and older teenagers with interests in indie rock, independent film, magazines such as Vice and Clash, and websites like Pitchfork Media."2, and as defenders of capitalism and yuppy snobbishness, as well as introducers of creativity and fresh energy in places such as Williamsburg, Brooklyn..

TOPIC: Introduction on Williamsburg as our region, with more specifically Assignment

Brooklyn, and particularly Williamsburg, certainly seems to have become hipster country. A review of the conjunction of the term "hipster" in connection with Brooklyn used in the New York Times in the last two years alone indicates that it has been used at least 80 times with either the city referred to as "hipster" map, the food referred to as "hipster" style," the transportation accorded "hipster" connotations and, over again, the "bearded urban everyman" referred to as the "Unknown Hipster"3. At least 50% of these articles are connected to, or mention Williamsburg in passing.

In the mid-'90s, funky art galleries and attractive boutiques opened in the predominately working-class ethnic community of Williamsburg. Where Manhattan had become stultified and dot.com immobile, this new vibrant community offered something fresh and vivacious. By the year 2000, observers, such as for instance Ann Powers, author of "Weird Like Us: My Bohemian America" 4 and Utne reader magazine deemed Williambsurg to be the third-hippiest commune in America (with the Lower Garden District inNew Orleans and the Inner Mission in San Francisco preceeding) 5,

Over the last few years, however, rents rose, and lodgers moved out -- many of them to Manhattan. Amenities broke down, and Williamsburg started losing its originality and charm. Some compared Williamsburg to a third-world country6. Although the statement is an exaggeration of sorts, Williamsburg certainly does lack its amenities and more people seem to be moving out than moving in. More so, even the hipster-ism is becoming deadened, whilst a new sort of people are moving in - deep-pocketed individuals who are privatising the area and building condominiums along the waterfront. Hipsters, generally, grumble at the phenomenon protesting that such "gentrification on steroids" 7 is displacing Williamsburg's creative ferment, aside from jeopardizing industrial jobs and placing an unwelcome contrast to its citizens who are far less wealthy than this new mass of people.

*the problem as we see it is that Williamsburg in the late 90's was an artsy place, original, and a breath of fresh air in comparison to billionaire Manhattan, but the hipster Williamsburg of today is generally deemed to be a morose, tired place where hipsters seem to have merged into one look-alike piece and where ethnic and class diversities remain distinct. Many say that they're tired of Williamsburg8 and grumble about its lack of variety. Although some still see Williamsburg as the hipster's place others declare the Williamsburg scene "officially over" 9


The method that we used to evaluate the Williamsburg scene and propose a business solution that could introduce a measure of sustainability was constructed on secondary and first-hand research.

The secondary research involved conducting online and offline research on the region such as from libraries (offline; where we consulted books, newspapers, and magazine journals) and using Internet search tools (primarily Google, AltaVista, Ejemoni, Invisible Web, Lycos, and Yahoo) where we entered search terms such as *Williamsburg and demographics or population in order to gain some idea of the way that the region has become. We narrowed our research to Williamsburg within the last *10 years, and we zoned in on a specific region, namely the waterfront and the blocks- Kent Ave, between North 3rd & North 5th Streets. We generated well over * 1000 articles, but settled for those that were applicable to our research, namely those that gave us a relevant and succinct summary of the demographics of the place in the last 10 years. Inclusion criteria included sites that spoke English; that were based on objective sources; and that indicated a scholarly, or at least non-detached stance towards promoting some perspective or other. The more recent their publication, the better.

This secondary research was reinforced by more immediate, first-hand observation. Here, we conducted an observational survey where we walked along the block and took notes of people and their interaction (i.e. The social life and social interaction) of the area. In order to get a clear unbiased perspective we rotated our walks choosing different areas of the block at different parts of the day during different weathers so as to ascertain that we included as large a sampling of people as possible and as divergent as sampling as possible under all conditions.

We also conducted three interviews, two of which were Brooklynites and the third was with an organizer of Urban Golf (see later). The surveys took the form of open-ended and closed-ended questions. * the survey constituted eight items based on Likert scales. We were careful to ascertain that the questions were articulated in a way that the persons understood, that we connected to them on their level, and that we struck up a connection with them so that they felt free and open to us in their response. We encouraged lengthy feed-back and the interview resembled more of an open-ended encounter.

'Finally, we used images (i.e. photographs*) and *concept mapping to document and analyze our findings. Concept mapping was used as a visual approach to develop our thinking on the topic and to help us articulate questions, gather related ideas, and uncover related facets of the topic. Concept mapping was employed as strategy to generate both possible problems of region and possible solutions to the apparent problems.

Solution: Urban Golf

It is our recommendation that some of the funkiness and cool can be brought back by Urban Golf. Urban Golf, introduced from London, is spreading through parts of New York. You have Urban Gold, Soho; Urban Golf in Smithfield, and, in March 2010, Urban Golf in Kensington that rapidly become renowned as both funky and cool whilst managing to merge with classical Victorian style. In all areas, Urban Golf has achieved the seemingly impossible: it merges Victorian sophistication and culture whilst beckoning to contemporary norms. Pictures of Urban Golf centers show leather couches in heavily carpeted rooms, whilst, at the same time, large HD screens are used for presentations to watch the latest sporting events, there is a cocktail bar, 4 golf simulators, a coaching suite, and a seating area. Photographs of consumers show an eclectic mix of both smartly dressed individuals along with individuals dressed in funkier style. The clientele, as do the furnishings, admirably merge an eclectic culture in a sport that appeals to a diversity of people 10

This is why Urban Golf would be a brilliant idea for Williamsburg. Aside from merging the influx of nouveau riche with working class population and appealing to hipster taste, Urban Golf can rejuvenate some of the boredom and gloom that has recently settled over the city.

Urban golf is also useful since it is usually associated with the middle to upper classes which is the main group now flowing into that specific area but adds elements like technology which attracts the younger population. In addition it is also a 'pub' so more people will flock there as a place of entertainment especially by offering 'Brooklyn lager' which is actually brewed in Brooklyn so you can relate to supporting local business- economy. It can also be a music and an art venue like bands and artists can showcase their work which will attract hipsters and artist. So basically it is a business seeking to bring all social groups in Brooklyn together which is important because of its wide range.


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