Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Final Post

One of the readings that I found particularly noteworthy was "What Main Street Can Learn From the Mall" by Steven Lagerfeld. This article primarily focused on Robert Gibbs, and his belief that downtown areas should try to conform to standards set by large shopping malls to become more successful centers of commerce. I thought this was one of the best articles that we read all year because the main points were clearly highlighted and everything that Gibbs or the author said seemed to fit together in a logical way. For these reasons, I used this article as my source for my final paper about urban design in Birmingham, Michigan. Another article that I thought was extremely important to this class was Chapter Three from Donald Norman's Emotional Design. This chapter was truly the foundation for the majority of our projects and discussion in class for the rest of the year. Although this was one of the first articles that we read, I don't think I will forget the concepts of "visceral design," "behavioral design," and "reflective design" for many years simply because we delved so deeply into these concepts throughout the term. Like the Lagerfeld Article, this chapter was very clearly written and had a very logical structure. In terms of exercises, I really enjoyed the egg drop and the chair-building classes. These two mini-projects were very enjoyable because we were able to go out and build something with our hands. For me, it is very satisfying to put my knowledge to the test by actually constructing something tangible. I also liked these exercises because we were forced to work with other people in our class without really knowing them. It is challenging, but also rewarding, to work as a team with new people. In regard to assignments, I really liked the retail analysis presentation. It was a fun experience to go to the mall, evaluate a store, and in my case, buy new clothes. It was also interesting to use the knowledge that I had acquired from class readings to evaluate a real-world store. Once again, this goes back to my desire to take what I know and put it to use outside of the classroom. I thought the final presentation was extremely challenging. The groups had endless topics to choose from, and it was difficult to narrow down our topic and know exactly what kind of information to look for. Our group ended up changing topics three times, which wasted time and energy. It was also difficult to work in a relatively large group to do such an important project because it was not easy to set up meetings that fit with all of our schedules. However, this is a challenge we will have to cope with in jobs after college.

Beyond all of our readings, discussions, and presentations, I think the most important thing I learned from this class was how to actively lead and participate in a discussion aimed at several key points. This class required all of the students to be very proactive and responsible. How much we got out of the class really depended on how much we put in. Early on in the class, I thought it was very strange when I heard that Professor Stull was going to "turn it over" to the students. I thought that student-led discussions would not be very meaningful, and would be awkward and unproductive. I was very wrong, however. This class taught me to fill all of the roles required in conversation, from initiating to gatekeeping. Another important thing that I learned from this class was how to analyze the design and efficiency of many things in my life. I will never look at a doorway, a sidewalk, or a microwave the same way again. I think this was a very important aspect of this class. We had to learn to think about things that we have learned over the years to not think about. This taught us to look at solutions to various problems in completely different ways, and in many cases, showed us that the solutions that currently exist are not necessarily the best answers to problems. One final important thing that I learned from this seminar was that my writing can be much more concise. I have always been quite confident in my writing ability, but I realized that I can communicate my ideas in fewer words than I previously thought was possible. On the Wikipedia paper, I eliminated over 300 words between my first copy and final paper. I also was very attentive to conciseness in my final paper. My first draft had over 1100 words, while my final copy had about 860.

I don't think we could have taken a better seminar in terms of learning things that will help us in the future. As mentioned above, this class made us consider current solutions to problems, and look for new solutions. This way of thinking is extremely important for success in college and future professions. We cannot just accept what we have and be content to let others figure out new solutions for us. This class taught us to be proactive and to seek new, better answers. Improving group conversation skills and working with a team were also elements of this class that are very important for the future. With few exceptions, the professions that all of us are striving toward involve working with others at some point. For example, I am considering a career as an orthopedic surgeon. This career involves communication with assistants, nurses, physical therapists, patients, and many others. Learning how to work with people I am not familiar with is a skill I will need for the rest of my life.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Secret to Turning Consumers Green

The author's main points in this article centered around how peer pressure can affect environmentally responsible habits. Recently, some places have instituted economic incentives to be environmentally friendly. For example, Washington, D.C., imposed a five-cent tax on every disposable bag at any retailer that sells food, candy, or liquor. The number of bags handed out by stores in the city dramatically decreased. Although this strategy successfully decreased pollution, it came in tax-form, which many people are reluctant to accept. In comparison, the author spoke at length about ways to turn consumers green that do not involve raising taxes, but rather focus on putting peer pressure on consumers. An important quote from the article came in the third paragraph, where District Councilman Tommy Wells said "it's more important to get in their heads than in their pocketbooks." While the government can try to (and often does) take action to reduce environmental impact, it is more beneficial to have people make their own decisions that reflect environmental awareness. The author provided numerous examples that exhibited how peer pressure can make consumers more green. One of these examples was the study conducted in hotel-room bathrooms, in which different signs were used that encouraged people to reuse their towels. Signs in several of the rooms said "Help save the environment," while the signs in the other rooms said "join your fellow guests in helping to save the environment." The visitors who stayed in the rooms with peer pressuring signs were 25 percent more likely to reuse their towels. Another interesting point that the author discussed was how certain companies are making attempts to allow consumers see their environmental impact while leaving the door open for peer pressure. For example, Microsoft Corp. calculated energy efficiency ratings for many homes in the United States and made the information accessible to the public online. This not only allows homeowners to see their own impact, but also allows others to access the information, and thus puts pressure on homeowners to be environmentally conscious.

I do not think I am affected at all by any kind of advertisements or promotions for being green. Often times, this can be misunderstood as "I don't care at all about the environment." This is not at all an accurate statement, as I care about the environment very much. However, I make my own decisions on how I can reduce my environmental impact. For example, there has been a great deal of controversy lately about driving large SUVs, and many people are pushing for smaller, more fuel efficient cars. I do not care how many advertisements I hear about how I should be driving a small car; I will be driving a large car for the rest of my life. Last year, I was involved in a very serious car accident, and I am very thankful that my SUV kept me safe in the accident. If I had been driving a smaller car, I might not be here to be writing this post. Still, this does not mean that I will not consider environmental impact when buying a car. I will always search for a car that has good gas mileage, both because it makes financial sense and also because I do not want to damage the environment more than I have to. However, the fact that my peers are driving small cars will not affect the way that I think about my own safety.

Although "environmental design" may not be the most accurate description for my example, my family and I have been buying organic food for many years. The primary reason for this is that we believe that we are protecting ourselves from harmful chemicals and pesticides that may be present in some (but not all) non-organic food. In other words, we are looking out for our own health. However, at the same time, we are spending money on companies that have reduced their negative impact on the environment, which in turn encourages other companies to become more green. If more people would buy organic food, companies that use harmful pesticides would feel pressure to become more environmentally friendly.

As discussed in the answer to the second question, many cars have become more environmentally friendly as part of a recent push for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Many cars are becoming smaller, and some are even experimenting with different sources of power, including electricity. Many institutions are also using motion detecting lights to save electricity. I am currently sitting in the second floor of Upjohn Library, and can see lights in distant parts of the library turning off after a certain amount of time passes without any motion being detected. Another environmentally friendly act that I can observe in the library is more efficient printers and printing techniques. When we attempt to print a paper from a school computer, it is automatically printed double sided, which helps reduce the amount of paper consumed.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Media Business: Advertising

A quote from this article that is particularly relevant to clothing advertising and brand identity is: "Today brands are built emotionally. You have to get a message across and show what the brand ideology means to her life."After doing a great amount of research for our presentation, we found that this is a very accurate statement. A lot of thought and planning goes into shooting clothing advertisements. When you think about it, the simplest form of clothing advertising would be to lay clothes on the floor and take a picture of them. However, as a consumer, you will almost never see clothing advertised in this way, because companies try to send more of a message in their advertising. Every element of the advertisement, including the appearance of the model, the background, the lighting, and the music are carefully thought out and planned to create a reflective reaction in the mind of the consumer. In this article, the author talks about Nine West, a company that has an advertisement showing three men staring at the sandals of a woman in a bar. Obviously, this advertisement goes far beyond just taking a picture of the product. Instead, it is showing that if you shop at Nine West and buy products from this company, you will receive more attention and be more popular than if you shopped somewhere else. It is important to note that the company is not just saying that by wearing one particular pair of sandals, you will look better. Rather, the company is  saying that by becoming part of Nine West, consumers will become more fashionable, attractive people overall. This, of course, is a deceptive advertising strategy, but one that almost all clothing companies use. Wearing a product does not change what kind of a person you are; it just changes a part of your appearance.

Nike is an example of a clothing company that has extremely iconic advertising. Nike frequently uses very famous athletes in advertisements. Professional athletes are people who have worked very hard and experienced great success in their lives. They are people who are admired and looked up to, especially by the younger generation. Often times, Nike advertisements show an athlete performing his or her sport,  and also usually have a short catch phrase, such as "just do it." In the advertisement that is included in my post, Lebron James is shown in an extremely athletic, dominant pose in an arena filled with admiring fans. He is the center of attention, and the words "will to win" show that he is an extremely motivated athlete. This advertisement is very interesting because the Nike logo does not appear on any of James' clothing. Even if the clothing that he is wearing is made by Nike, it is not likely that an everyday shopper would be able to buy the jersey that he is wearing. Therefore, Nike is trying to sell the idea that the company can help you become a successful athlete. This idea is more important than any individual product that the company could advertise.


Brand image has influenced my decision to buy clothing on several occasions. For example, I have bought Oakley sunglasses that cost over one hundred dollars each of the last two summers. While I could have gone to a drug store and bought a cheap pair of knock-offs, I chose the Oakley's for several reasons. First of all, I know that Oakley is a very reputable company, and since I was looking for durable, high quality sunglasses, I knew that Oakley would be a safe, reliable option. Another reason that I spent so much money on Oakley sunglasses is that the company has a very iconic logo that is instantly recognizable to many people. Something about the message that this logo sends is attractive to me, as opposed to an inexpensive off-brand. Another example of how brand image has influenced my decision to buy an item of clothing is with Adidas tennis shoes. I have been wearing different versions of the Adidas Barricade tennis shoe for the last four years. Although I have had no complaints with the shoe, I also have not experimented with different brands to see if there is a better product. The Barricade is a shoe that many different professionals wear. It is not so much that I think I will be more like these professionals if I wear this kind of shoe, but I know that if Adidas is good enough for professional tennis players, it will be good enough for me. In regard to the second part of this question, I think that it really depends from person to person. When you look at a middle school boy wearing a tee-shirt that screams the word "Hollister" in bright blue lettering across the chest, jeans that are purposely torn or shredded at the knees and faded across the front, and a flat brimmed purple hat, I think that the clothes are defining the person. The consumer is looking for clothes that make a statement so that he does not have to. On the other hand, people who put more thought into the clothes that they buy can define the clothes. When people with very interesting personalities have interesting senses of fashion, the clothes become ways for people to express themselves. In this case, the person is defining the clothes and what it means to wear them.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Cookie Cutter Housing

One of the author's most important point in this article is that city ordinances should not be minimum-based, but instead should be reward based. City ordinances provide guidelines to developers, surveyors, engineers, and planners about certain minimum dimensions and area restraints. Ordinances determine things like how far apart houses must be spaced, how far houses must be from streets, and how wide streets must be. The author says that because city ordinances provide minimum requirements, developers will often create designs that meets the standards, and simply reproduce the design over and over again to make a cookie-cutter community. The author also talks about how the way that the system is set up prevents engineers and surveyors from striving for innovation, and also prevents anything from changing. In order to go against the rules, a licensed individual must place his or her reputation on the line. Conflict with a city council is highly feared among these subdivision designers because if the change fails, the designer might not be consulted on future products. Instead of taking this risk, it is much safer to stick to the conventions. One final important point that the author makes in this article is that engineers should think more about the quality of life of the individuals living in the developments that they design. The exact same house design, side by side in a cookie cutter community, is not the best living option. Every community is different, and individuals deserve homes that are designed specifically for their communities.

This article did not really change the way that I think about subdivisions. I feel that subdivisions are very positive factors that are part of the American way. It is difficult to imagine our country without subdivisions. Many years ago, Americans lived primarily in either big cities or in the country. Many people either worked in industrial jobs or were farmers. However, as transportation and road developments made it easier for Americans to get from one place to another, people moved out of cities and established communities in the suburbs. Subdivisions provide a favorable alternative to either living in a large city or living in the middle of nowhere. That being said, I do not think the author of this article is suggesting that we eliminate subdivisions from the United States. Instead, I think he is trying to suggest alternatives that would make subdivisions better places to live. However, since I am not trained in housing and development in the same way that the author is, I do not feel his frustration. I am not particularly bothered by cookie-cutter subdivisions. Of course, it would be nice if every house in every subdivision was different, but this does not seem like the most efficient or cost-friendly option.

I live in a subdivision in a Detroit suburb. In my area, the author's viewpoints are not especially applicable. All of the homes in my subdivision are very different in terms of design, color, and layout. They have a great deal of space in between, and have large yards. Some of the houses are two-stories, while others are ranches. The only time I have every seen a subdivision like the author seems to be describing is in movies, so I have a very difficult time relating to the author's points in this article.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Biggest Mistakes in Web Design

This reading relates to the concept of user-focused design because it discusses at length ways that websites can be better for consumers and visitors to the websites. In the first section of the article, the author tells the reader to remember two key points while reading the article, one of them being: “the only reason my website exists is to solve my customers’ problems.” This point is alluded to many times throughout the article. The author stresses user-friendliness as the key design aspect of websites. Of course, web designers should try to make their websites visually appealing, but more than anything, they need to make sure that visitors to the website can easily accomplish what they came to do. For example, text should contrast page backgrounds so that it is easy to read everything on the website. Users should not have to squint to read text that is designed in a less contrasting but more artistic design. Another user-friendliness issue that was raised was flash page introductions. These frequently do not present any further information to the user, and can be very frustrating. If a website needs to have a flash introduction, there should be an apparent “skip” button so that web-users do not need to waste their time. Web design is just another medium that the design concepts we learned in class can be applied to. This class has focused largely on designing things in ways that are easy for consumers to use and understand, as opposed to designing to win art contests. In other words, we have stressed the priority of behavioral design over visceral design. This article is an extension of these principles. Although we have barely touched on web design so far in the class, it is interesting to learn how similar the guidelines for design are.

The most important point in this article, as discussed in the above paragraph, was user-focused design of websites. The author presented sixteen specific ways that websites can be well designed for user purposes. One of the headings in this article that I found particularly interesting was “Nobody cares about you or your site.” The author defended this point by saying that what people truly care about is solving their problems. Users come to websites for four purposes: to get information, to make a purchase or donation, to be entertained, or to be part of a community. Web design should allow users to accomplish these goals as easily as possible, without over the top design elements. It is all about solving the customers’ problems. Another interesting part of the article was the section about heroin content. Websites that have heroin content make their users willingly come back to the site to get new information and perspective. One requirement for a website to have heroin content is frequently updated information. Blogs, for example, can have heroin content if they have candor, urgency, timeliness, pithiness, and controversy. Under the right circumstances, heroin can outweigh design. This is because if the material on a website is interesting and useful enough, people do no notice or care if the site is designed poorly. One final important point of the article was mystery meat navigation. This occurs when the user needs to mouse over unmarked navigational buttons which are usually blank or don’t reveal their function. This is particularly common in art and fashion websites, but other web designers sometimes use mystery meat navigation in their websites. Mystery meat detracts from user-friendliness, and can be very confusing and unclear. Applying another previous aspect of design from this course, websites should give feedback to users so they know that they are accomplishing their goals in visiting the website. Although mystery meat navigation may seem like an innovative, creative technique, it is confusing and difficult.

In my opinion, one of the most important aspects of web design is color scheme and page organization. There are only a very limited number of websites that I use on a daily basis, and they are Facebook, Google, and the Kalamazoo portal and webmail pages. When I visit any other website, I am usually unsure of exactly what the content will be and how it will be presented. If the website opens and I see very bright, neon colors, with font that is cramped together in a jumble, I will go back and look for a new website. It is not so much that I expect websites to be visually appealing, but I expect them to be professional and appropriate for their designated purpose. Other elements, such as music or moving animation, instantly detract from the credibility of most websites. When I use a website to get information, I want to get my job done as quickly and efficiently as possible. Superfluous elements make it more difficult to make this happen. Another very important element of web design is having an appropriate amount of information on each page. Some websites are overwhelming in that they have an extremely large amount of information on each page. I like information to be logically broken up into simple headings and categories. Websites that are designed well have clearly visible links to the information that I need to access.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Future of Retail

Negroponte does not explicitly state his thesis in his article. If I was the author, my thesis would be "online shopping will become the primary method of shopping in the future, although enjoyment and social factors will prevent retail shopping from disappearing entirely."

This reading relates closely to Norman's concepts of user-focused design. In Norman's article, the author discussed how the design of products should be easy to understand and straightforward. Consumers should not have to read an instruction manual over more than one time to operate a common, day to day product. Effective product design does not just mean designing the most aesthetically appealing product possible, but rather means designing with the consumer in mind. Negroponte's article addresses his belief that retail shopping will take a major hit in the near future due to the fact that it is inconvenient for shoppers. Although retail shopping is obviously not a product that can be designed, the same principles of consumer-focus still apply. For example, Negroponte uses the example of a bookstore to show how retail shopping is difficult for consumers: "All of the elements are against you: weather, time, energy, price, not to mention availability. Instead, by logging onto, say, Amazon.com, you can order the book in less time than it would take to call and see if your local bookseller has it in stock." Clearly, in terms of consumer friendliness, online shopping comes out on top of retail shopping. Nonetheless, Negroponte addresses some of the reasons that people still go out to shop instead of shopping exclusively online. Among these reasons is that going out to do shopping is an experience that the internet cannot replace, and has turned into a social opportunity. This leads Negroponte to one of his main conclusions: although online shopping has not completely replaced retail shopping, it will force retailers to become better and operate with the consumer in mind. Retailers that are not convenient for shoppers, whether they have inadequate parking, poor staff, or lack of product availability, will not be able to compete against online powerhouses.

This is a difficult question for me to answer, since I have very little experience with online shopping. I have never used any online trading websites, such as eBay or Craig's List, and have only purchased products online on several occasions. However, based on my experiences, I do not think Negroponte's ideas are particularly relevant today. The article was written over ten years ago, in a time when computers and the internet were not as widespread as they are today. In this period of development, there was probably a great deal of excited speculation about how the internet would change the world as it was known. In this case, I feel that Negroponte's speculation about the impact of internet shopping is erroneous. While internet shopping is definitely an option, I think many people still favor going to stores to get the true shopping experience. Another reason that this article loses credibility in my mind is because of the author's suggestion that mailboxes should include built-in refrigerators. This sounds like science fiction more than a realistic prediction about the future of retail and shopping. Although his predictions about the rise of internet shopping may be inaccurate, the author's points about the importance of user-focused design are very relevant. The threat of online shopping, paired with competition from well run businesses, forces stores to be convenient for shoppers.

I really do not think retail will change very much over the next century. For many, shopping is an activity, and is all about the experience. Shopping is like the staple that will remain constant over a long period of time. While many things will change, such as how we get to the stores, what we wear, and what we buy, the actual shopping experience will not change very much in my opinion. Stores will continue to use the strategies that we have studied in this class to sell their products. For example, consider one principle: zone four design. Businesses will never stop trying to push customers all the way to the back of the store. This is because the idea of forcing customers to see every product that the store has to offer will not change, regardless of the time. Nonetheless, one area of retail that may adapt with the times is the use of technology. We already see technology used in innovative ways in stores like Apple. At this store, to get assistance from an employee, a shopper must register his name with another employee. In the future, this use of electronic devices will likely increase. Shoppers might be given an electronic device upon entering the store that allows them to contact and communicate with an employee. As the world becomes increasingly digital, people love new ways to connect and interact with other people.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Downtown Kalamazoo

Overall, I would give downtown Kalamazoo's business area a "C" in terms of design. One of the most noticeable aspects of the design was sidewalks on Burdick Street, which were wider than any sidewalks I have ever seen. It was easy to walk shoulder to shoulder with at least five other people. In addition, there were many trees and other plants in planters on the sidewalks, as well as numerous umbrella-covered tables with chairs. In fact, there were so many plants and tables that it was slightly overwhelming and drew my attention away from the stores. At the beginning of the evaluation, I didn't even look at the stores I was passing because my eyes were drawn more toward the street than the shops. While the tables and chairs looked very welcoming during the day, they also invited loitering and street people. At one point in the evaluation, our group stopped outside a store to write down several observations. Some of us sat at a table, one of us used a trashcan as a writing surface, and one of us kneeled down on the ledge of a planter to write. I noticed that the owner of the shop we were stopped in front of was staring at us from the window, and he seemed uneasy. Passing pedestrians would likely react the same way, which would make them unlikely to go into a store or even notice advertisements and displays. The most evident problem I noticed was that the streets were extremely narrow and difficult to drive on. The section of Burdick Street that we walked on was one way and one lane, with parallel parking on either side of the street. The driving lane was so narrow that if a someone opened the door of a parked car while a moving car was passing by, the car would probably not be able to avoid the opening door. It was very difficult for pedestrians to see cars coming from behind the lane of parked cars, and i was relatively close to being hit by a car on one occasion while crossing the street. The problems with street design do not end here, however. It was extremely unclear which streets were one way or two way. On Burdick Street, I noticed "Do not enter," "one way," or "no right turn" signs that seemed completely arbitrary in placement. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to the street layout, and a visitor to the city would probably be extremely confused by the roads. Cars driving along Burdick Street were moving very slowly, which is usually a good sign since it allows them to notice window advertisements and gives pedestrians the impression that the street is busy. However, other areas of downtown Kalamazoo, like Haymarket, had one way streets that were three lanes wide and had very fast moving traffic. Another design aspect that I noticed was second story design. On Burdick Street, most buildings were two stories tall with many windows on the upper level. While the height helped give the city a true "downtown" feel, many of the upper story rooms had closed blinds or curtains, and were probably apartments. The city could really take advantage of its height by putting businesses on the second story of buildings and advertising down to the street. This would help give the city an extra boost of life and energy. In general, the city seemed to be relatively crowded, especially for a very cold weekday afternoon. I felt very safe and comfortable on Burdick Street because I was always in sight of other people. As I moved into the Haymarket area and toward the Rave movie theater, I felt less safe. There were not nearly as many people in this area, and more of the buildings were vacant. Other miscellaneous observations included the fact that the sidewalks on Burdick Street were paved in a slightly distracting pattern. The sidewalks were not simple like Gibbs suggested, but instead were paved with colored brick that was organized in a diagonal pattern. I also noticed that the trashcans were designed very interestingly, and served multiple purposes, including a writing surface. The city was also very festive. It seemed to be decorated for the winter holidays, and many flags were hung from light posts on Burdick Street. Overall, I thought the city's design was very viscerally appealing, but that it was a behavioral failure and did not help businesses attract attention and sales.

To improve the design of downtown Kalamazoo, the first thing I would do is get rid of the current road system, and make all streets two way. Two way streets are easy to understand and navigate, and would take the uncertainty out of driving through downtown Kalamazoo. The roads were so confusing that I think I would deliberately avoid the downtown area when driving. Main Street should attract pedestrians and drivers alike, not repel them. My second suggestion is to redesign the sidewalks along Burdick Street. Instead of going for the prize-winning design, the sidewalks should be simple and unnoticeable. The sidewalks should also be slightly less wide to increase the sense of crowdedness. About half of the trees and tables should also be removed. Because these elements were so excessive, they were very distracting and blocked visibility from across the street. Another recommendation to improve city design is to refigure the parking situation. All of the parking along Burdick Street was parallel, and I observed several drivers having difficulty parking. Personally, I am a horrible parallel parker, and often will drive right by a parallel parking spot because I don't want to go through the trouble. In addition, the parallel parking was almost like a brick wall in that it blocked the view of the other side of the street. Over the weekend, I noticed that downtown Birmingham has a much better parking solution that Kalamazoo should consider. All parking along the Main Street is diagonal, which allows drivers to park quickly and easily. The diagonal solution also makes it much easier to see across to the other side of the street.

The following passage from "What Main Street Can Learn from the Mall" is very pertinent to downtown Kalamazoo: "The shade trees and planter boxes? Lovely, [Gibbs] says, but they block shoppers' view of shop windows and signs. Those handsome groupings of benches and tables? They seem inviting until Gibbs points out that they often attract teenagers and other loiterers, who scare off shoppers. The elegant Victorian street lamps, the expensive trash cans, and the distinctive granite paving stones-- 'so beautiful that people will stare at them as they walk by the storefronts,' Gibbs says--are little more than money down the drain." When reading this section, it almost sounded like Gibbs was talking about downtown Kalamazoo, because everything he said relates exactly to the city. There were far too many trees and plants in Kalamazoo that blocked the view of the stores. As mentioned earlier, the excessive tables and chairs present the problem of loitering. Kalamazoo also seems to have wasted a great deal of money on superfluous design details, including colored bricks for the sidewalks, old-fashioned lamp posts, and beautifully designed trash cans. Not using these three elements would have saved a great deal of money, and would also have helped stores draw more attention.