MIT Railroad and Labs

Hello! This is my blog for Professor Anne Spirn’s “Sensing Place: Photographing the Urban Landscape” class. I’m Julie and I’m pursuing a Master’s degree in City Planning at MIT. For this class, my site is the area around Albany St. in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I chose this site because of my fascination with the industrial landscape in thriving cities.

The giant warehouses, laboratories, and supporting infrastructure, such as trains, railroads, construction vehicles, and chemical containers that litter the landscape, are quintessential MIT, but still completely unexpected for any university campus. Walking to and from home, I am always inspired by the beautiful and dramatic sunsets that draw my eyes to the smokestacks and nuclear reactor lab along Mass Ave. It brings a sense of beauty and intrigue to MIT’s campus. When I first came to MIT, I preferred to walk along the corporate landscape of Landsdowne St. because it was akin to the landscaped and well-maintained streets of New York City. Albany St, with its plasma fusion labs, many parking lots, and nondescript doorways, always seemed mysterious and unknown. Because of this initial reaction, I am spending more time exploring Albany St. this semester to gain a better understanding of its character, and a deeper appreciation for its hidden beauty.

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