Sunday, September 30, 2007

thoughts on readings

Street Science

The mappings of the Toxic Avengers are interesting in their galvanizing power and ability to deploy community and action at what I see as a visceral level of mapping. The “identity forming” devices employed in the selection of emotive iconography and imagery gives a baseline understanding of the issues at hand and makes for a powerful enabling of it’s stakeholders, regardless of milieu.

Particularly interesting, and more macroscopic, is the notion that as citizenry we are able to acquire, and leverage, professional tools in order to “reframe and reorient definitions of “problems”” (pg 199), which seems like the expected result of technology’s continual evolution, and therefore lowering of the bar for entry. At the same time, I’m not sure that without GIS the Watchperson Project wouldn’t have been able to visualize the same maps, albeit perhaps not as quickly (one of the thoughts I have been grappling with since the beginning, since we are trying to use GIS in a way that somehow allows us to do something we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise).

What appeared to be an eventual stonewalling by the City and EPA that even the federal government couldn’t overcome was disheartening after the amount of effort expended. That calls to mind what Tim said at last Wednesday’s crit about selling these social projects to those with money or power. Although, I’m not sure how that would’ve worked in this case, as compared to the unaccepted streets.

Else/Where Mapping

The notion of car navigation systems being embedded with a “historical patina” is intriguing similarly to the way web sites like serve as a palimpsest of personalized user annotations of an urban fabric, although that example is not satisfying enough. Antenna seems to have grander visions of it as the construct for a vehicular “space of going”, particularly when Sigi Moeslinger says “…we could make driving itself a destination” (pg 111). It seems to have the makings of a lazy man’s urban “walk”, but certainly a step up for the suburbanite.

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