Monday, September 24, 2007

Nick and Cindy's thesis r3

A map of park spaces in San Francisco reveals an archipelago of ostensibly open space scattered throughout the city, concentrated in the large islands to the west. To the southeast, the open space and city fabric appears highly irregular and largely devoid of the great parks shared by the rest of the city and is replaced instead with a high concentration of the land use category known as "public works" and a disproportionate number of vacant lots. Still, this landscape is inhabited and must serve its denizens with an amenity of "open space", which a totalizing view of the city is unable to characterize.

We are challenging the accepted definitions of open space, probing through the boundaries of these leftover spaces to discover the nature of their use. Who are the users of these spaces, and by a similar token what sort of plant life emerges from a landscape of survival of the fittest, where no hedge clipper presides? Through our experience of walking, we hope to bring a relief to the flatness of the unknown space, writing a new topography of bound and boundless.

Traveling through these spaces is like tunneling beneath the earth, leaving the city of light and streets with names and manicured trees for a wooly wilderness where literally you see the city from underneath (often looking up at a freeway overpass). Yet ironically from inside of these thick spaces, views of the city open up, and new perspectives are achieved. The landscape is opened up by paths of desire which are the spaces of going. The thresholds into these spaces, often a hole ripped through chain-link fence, are pinpoints of transition from one world to another, a singularity which may orient the nomad as she/he travels through.

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