Pedestrians on the street level and on the raised High Line park walkway

High Line: Initial Impressions

This week I visited New York City’s High Line, a former urban freight railway that has been re-envisioned as a public park. The High Line provides a purposeful contrast to the Ruston Way waterfront (Tacoma, WA) as both share an industrial history, are sites of preservation and transformation, and have deep connections to rail transport.…

Olympic Sculpture Park pathways and views of Love & Loss, Seattle Cloud Cover and Echo

Perception and Interaction: Olympic Sculpture Park

In addition to my exploration of the Ruston Way waterfront, in the coming months I will be visiting other re-constructed industrial sites: Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, High Line in New York, and Benesse Art Projects in Japan. This week I visited Olympic Sculpture Park, a former UNOCAL petroleum transfer and distribution center that has…

Amy Ryken walking and meditating on place in Dickman Mill Park, Tacoma, WA

Narratives about Nature

Each week a confluence of planned and unplanned events determines what I study and reflect on. In this blog post I share excerpts from my daily notes for this week to make visible some of the activities I engage in to better understand the Ruston Way waterfront. Readers of this blog know that I have…

Outdoor Patio, Northern Fish, Tacoma, WA

Predation and Consumption

Restaurants both give us access to water views and distance us from the water. Water is an important aspect of the Ruston Way waterfront (Tacoma, WA); it is a preferred landscape feature that influences how we perceive, experience, and interact with nearby nature (Kaplan & Kaplan, 1998). In a conversation two weeks ago, while eating in…

Foundation of wood burning wigwam at Dickman Mill Park, Tacoma, WA

Legacy of Lumber Mills

The Dickman Mill Park (Tacoma, WA) site has been shaped and changed over time by both natural processes and human interventions. These changes are described on the fence around the wetland at Dickman Mill Park–the following narrative is etched on metal fence post bands: This place changes, over time, by fire, flood and tides, erosion,…

Word cloud showing words 75 community members used to describe how they, or others, use the Ruston Way waterfront.

Mixed-Use: Diversity of Users and Uses

Last week I wrote about the new mixed-use development at Point Ruston (Ruston, WA). This week I’ve been considering how the parks on Ruston Way (Tacoma, WA) can be viewed as one part of a continuous mixed-use development along the shore of Commencement Bay. The Ruston Way waterfront provides an opportunity to interact with nearby…

Point Ruston development. Un-cleaned area in foreground, remediated area in background.

Contamination and Eternal Time

Last week I wrote about my walks along Thea Foss Waterway. This week I walked the Tacoma waterfront along Ruston Way and the new .75 mile long Waterwalk promenade at the Point Ruston development. I’ve been thinking about the importance of considering the Ruston Way waterfront in the context of a continuous and coherent whole…

Kayakers and motorboat on the Thea Foss Waterway

Contamination and Cleanup Continues

How can we keep long-term environmental consequences within our view and concern? How might we perceive layered invisibility? This week I’ve walked along the Thea Foss Waterway multiple times. I’ve been thinking about the water and land that form Commencement Bay. Tacoma’s Ruston Way is only one segment of a much larger waterfront and waterway.…

Grassy area at the bottom of Garfield Gulch bordering Schuster Parkway and Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA

Land Rights and Landmarks

How do we decide whose land a place is? How much, if any, connection to indigenous peoples is evident to, or experienced by, people as they explore the Ruston Way waterfront (Tacoma, WA)? This week I’ve been thinking about historical and present struggles over land ownership and use, and how marks of those struggles are…

Ruins of Dickman Mill wigwam burner in foreground with Silver Cloud Hotel in background, Ruston Way, Tacoma, WA

Triple Bottom Line

In an effort to begin to hear a range of perspectives about Ruston Way, this week I solicited feedback from colleagues and students. The range of responses (a few shared below) reflects awareness of a “triple bottom line.” Valuing 1) ecosystem productivity, 2) economic productivity, and 3) social justice is highlighted in studies of urban…