Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Maps of the Imagination

The NPR piece that I mentioned the other day is about a book called "Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer". You can hear it on Real Audio (unfortunately) here:

http://broadcast.uwex.edu:8080/ramgen/wpr/bok/bok061203b.rm
(The first half is on 'California's Spiritual Landscape')

Here's a link to the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Maps-Imagination-Writer-as-Cartographer/dp/1595340416/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/002-8788526-3299266?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1193799124&sr=8-1

Also listen for info on the book "The Map that Changed the World"...





Saturday, October 27, 2007

re: Friday scripting discussion

For those who missed the discussion on Friday, I thought I'd recap a bit. We came to a consensus that in order to understand in what ways scripting will be useful to us, we need to break it up into bite-sized pieces. For Monday, we are reading the rhino scripting tutorial that Christian sent out last week. It's a good introduction to the general idea of scripting and scripting language, and in a few places the reading gets a little 'saucy'. We like it.

The next step is to figure out how we will get to do what we want to do (presuming that after studio on Monday we will have a good picture of what we want to do). We will divide ourselves up into groups that are looking into ways of scripting the input and output through various programs... arcgis, photoshop, rhino, etc. One question most of us have is how to manipulate that intermediate format, whether it be a text document or excel spreadsheet, into something that is legible across multiple programs. For example, someone might look into how arcgis can be scripted to extract data from a query. Someone else might then study how that data can be manipulated by rhino in ways that are useful to our investigation of unaccepted streets. Another team might then look at the export from rhino into laser cutting files, or a series of scripted views or animations. Yet another team might investigate the automation of manipulating renderings from rhino in a scripted photoshop operation to achieve different effects (how many skins can you wrap around an object?)

It might sound like a lot of work, but if we're going to pull this off we've got to do it as team.

Any other thoughts since Friday?

Friday, October 26, 2007



Here is the plotting of the studio's unaccepted streets. I dedicate the coastal edge to Nick.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

who needs a banana peel...



found yesterday at 5:12pm on Innes Ave., street FID#1273

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Gentle Review

Are we allowed to post irrelevant material on the blog? It can be erased later, but I really wanted to share.




Also see:
http://www.archinect.com/forum/threads.php?id=66014_0_42_0_C

Intersubjective Response

Still struggling through diagrams, I am looking over the reading again, and reviewing Christians earlier comment. So I wanted to go back and [re]start here:

Transpose:
1. to change the relative position, order, or sequence of; cause to change places; interchange: to transpose the third and fourth letters of a word.
2. to transfer or transport

Translate:
1. to change the form, condition, nature, etc., of; transform; convert: to translate wishes into deeds.

2. to explain in terms that can be more easily understood; interpret.
3. to bear, carry, or move from one place, position, etc., to another; transfer.

Barring the fact that these words can mean exactly the same thing, I can understand the idea of translation can be seen as a manipulation or modification, where as transposition can be translated as another way of looking at something.

I would agree with Christians' assessment of the acceleration of speed and the shallowing of depth that Allen is getting at, but he also goes on to say that the layering of shallow surfaces is important. I think this can be seen another way, as a new depth and speed. I say this because he also bashes you in the head with combinations like "space and event", "force and resistance", if only the entire piece were so clear.

As far as lighter, does this relate to speed and depth? I'm not sure. Can the argument be that simple / clear equates to quickness and superficiality? I suppose it could be read that way, but perhaps it's best to just draw your own conclusions. I guess that would be more translational, but in the end I don't see either work as very intersubjective. At least it was discursive enough to be diablogic.

Go Bears!




Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

diagramming

Last semester in studio, Roddy Creedon was insistent on one aspect of diagrams: that they show a relationship. In order to show a relationship, a diagram must reference at least two (and probably not more) subjects. Allen clearly emphasizes that diagrams are relational, and that they "function through matter/matter relationships, not matter/content relationships." The few sentences that follow that quote (on p23.18) bug me, because they seem to advance a fast and shallow architecture, but don't explicitly give a reason why that's needed, or don't say that the counterargument (mediated/slow and deeper) is wrong/unachievable/outdated. In re-reading the first page, I think that Allen is saying that the "new" reality is fast, digital/virtual, momentary, superficial, etc., and that in order for architecture to be relevant in such a changing world, it too must be the shallow [light], fast [responsive], expository go-between (between virtual and actual) [or transactor]. While this might be the sad truth, I'm not convinced by Allen, because he doesn't actually say it. I'm left thinking that I missed something in his verbal dance. Is architecture not able to deal with the depth of a complex reality? Are diagrams the way to dumb down and distill the world, and to analytically exercise "cautious optimism...[that] diagrams of matter can sometimes be reconfigured"? If diagrams are so simple and reductive, why do they have to be discussed in such obtuse and rhetorical ways?


I've never experienced the architecture of Ito, OMA, Sanaa, or MVDRV. Is the experience of a diagram architecture as obvious as the diagram? Do you know diagram architecture when you're in it? Does it stand the test of time? (Is that the purpose?)


Bos & van Berkel's piece has some mindbenders, like the last sentence of the first paragraph, and the last sentence of the essay. Can anyone translate? (i.e. what is the "internal discourse" and how is it compared to the "methodological process"? what is the "theory of the real"? Isn't "abstract machine" simple enough a concept? Why complexify it by densely packing loose and thickly defined words and phrases, like those in the last sentence?)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

maps done by Jungmi and Christian




new geospatial mapping of photos

beta offering from microsoft, via an old colleague in boston

http://labs.live.com/photosynth/

very cool

what would corner and de certeau say about this?

raster to vector

Hey all,

If you are interested in extracting vector data from a raster image, try this piece of shareware out.

http://www.programurl.com/raster-to-vector-standard.htm

progress / edwin and chris





Wednesday, October 17, 2007

from Nick and Cindy's work

a soundscape (at 5am) from Innes Ave., an unaccepted street in the Produce District.

viewing with 3d glasses (and corona) strongly advised...




video

one more

some images...







...of work Jungmi and I pinned up.

Diagramming

Is it a coincidence that after reading both articles and typing this response that my brain/fingers keep trying to capitalize the word diagram when I type it??

Diagramming is like going to church: We should all be doing it and preaching its virtues to our friends. For all of our architecture projects, and especially this digital atmospheres studio, diagramming is a key design tool and process. I’m converted!

Allen writes that a diagram architecture has the potential to be much more significant than how the architecture is ever actually realized. Successful diagrammatic architecture gives maximum performative effects with an ability to multiply its effects and scenarios, and doesn’t rely on its embedded content for any sort of justification.
Van Berkel and Bos describe diagramming as crucial in design to prevent a preemptive superimposing or fixing certain typologies. By designing in diagram, concepts such as function, construction, and interpretation occur “naturally” to the design, and thus it becomes unencumbered by any sort of fixed typology.

As architects interesting in the temporal and atmospheric, diagramming will allow any strong foundation and concept in our design to be maintained as we bring temporal atmospheric elements that are in constant change, as well as when we form a design concept and parameter to be used on multiple streets and spaces. Diagramming will also help to prevent these outside factors and elements that we are bringing into our program from over-encumbering the design.

This American Life 110: Mapping

This American Life 110: Mapping the Five Senses

Ira Glass & Co. spend an hour discussing maps of all five senses (!)

listen online for inspiration!

http://thislife.org/Radio_Episode.aspx?episode=110


>>>
Five ways of mapping the world. One story about people who make maps the traditional way—by drawing things we can see. And other stories about people who map the world using smell, sound, touch, and taste. The world redrawn by the five senses.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Rhino

Lookie here...some workflow tips on Rhino...and scripting! It looks like this might have some more posts, which will probably give more useful information.
Day 1: http://www.archinect.com/schoolblog/entry.php?id=65814_0_39_0_C
Day 2: http://www.archinect.com/schoolblog/entry.php?id=65947_0_39_0_C

Louis I. Kahn on unaccepted streets

"In most urban areas, children play in the streets... There are too many streets anyway. So why not make playgrounds out of unnecessary streets?" (my italics...but you could just slip in unaccepted if you squint your eyes)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Time and Material

I was particularly motivated after my visit to MOMA, in large part by the rigorous production effort that was on display. The initial space (if you entered from the bridge) was something like walking through a laboratory, where ideas were manifest in material. On the other hand, there was certainly a line being blurred between the material and the virtual, or undefined… experiential, temporal… Perhaps this is weak space (as an extension, or in opposition to, weak form), but there were moments that it was both. For example, the strong form of the spikey steel ball (sorry, I don’t know the name of the piece) which was completely eroded by the ethereal, floating space inside. In addition, a certain mental slippage that takes place in the mirrored infinite black hole; it balances between virtual and real worlds, as in “I know I am looking at a box with 4 mirrors, but isn’t it great not to think of it that way?”

The time component was of course exciting and thought provoking for the studio. Mediums like ice, water or vapor are ideal as material for temporal interventions. The car was really great, not only with the suggested reference to global warming (ugh, make it stop), but the idea of the impermanence of material in general, especially things like cars.

I also listened to as much as I could on the process of creating the ice car, and I believe I heard something about ‘making’ as opposed to working in a virtual environment. This is what was so fantastic about the whole thing, they were making. I believe that moving from the digital environment to the physical one (don’t get too technical on me here on realities, I am talking something I can touch or hold in my hand, most of the stuff here was pretty tangible at it’s core) is important and I hope we will get there soon.

And sorry I was late...

Monday, October 8, 2007

if pigeons could talk

I came across this on DPW's website. Just in case you were thinking about a diagnosis of the city's ills with our feathered friends...

Pliable City

There was a little nugget at the end of Milgram's piece that was quite provocative. In analyzing the responses to the question "where in the city would you meet a stranger if the meeting place was unknown to both parties", he found a "consensus... that the inhabitants share an implicit, intuitive knowledge of the city that can be crystalized given the proper stimulus" (111). The Tour Eiffel was for obvious reasons at the top of that list, but other selections (is 8% of the choices a strong enough piece of data?) reveal a set of menhirs that areevoking a force on people even as they move at a distance from that monument (or street). For example, you might get a cell phone call, and describe your location to someone as six blocks from the Opera, or in another instance, say that you just crossed Blvd St. Germain 10 minutes ago. The person on the other line will create a familiar picture of where you are. We all create mental maps of the city to orient ourselves, but what is interesting is where those mental maps overlap, and form a "collective representation".

In a disaster situation, that overlap is very interesting--for example, where would you meet a loved one after an earthquake? You could end up with a bunch of people anxiously waiting around, say the downtown BART station, all unsure of a missing person's safety. In this way the structure of a mental map collapses to a few hot spots--the rest of the city may as well be forgotten, and you only care about where you will find someone you love. In a non-disaster situation, you may wish to find someone to love by heading out to a bar or another spot in the city where you think a person with similar desires will be waiting. Again the city collapses into a narrow field of wants and obstacles to those wants.

The city is nothing more than a shifting set of tropes. It is a pliable structure; in any given city, is it not easy to project your own fantasy upon it? Perhaps it is even easier in Paris because it is so well defined by its monuments. So many narratives can be written upon the fabric, and they would be recognizable too by someone even only familiar with the city by film or literature.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Paris

So, I don’t really see the big deal of Parisians making cognitive maps of Paris. First of all, the city was planned by Haussman to be a city of monuments, with the intent of an inescapable visual connection between the avenues and the many beautiful monuments of Paris. Haussman even had buildings constructed at intersections and domes built off-center for the sole purpose of a continuation of his vision. It is no wonder that monuments played such a large part in how the Parisians orient themselves.

Secondly, because they take the subway, Parisians look at maps every single day. Obviously, they are not car-reliant, and thus they go to new and different places all of the time using the subway (as opposed to just commuting to work). I’ve never met a Parisian that didn’t carry a map of the city and metro with them all of the time. (Most use something like a Plan de Paris, which is leather-bound and conveniently small.) Also, I know the city rather well from being there for only 9-months, and even I could remember where the majority of those buildings were.

Perhaps the study could have delved more into the unconscious and everyday of a Parisian. For example, if people within a certain neighborhood were asked to draw the path that they take to the market, what was shown in common between the maps would have been much more significant. I’m sure that one could have learned a lot more about the unconscious of the collective people.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

'Systematic distortion'

The city people aware of would be definitely different from real condition because people’s cognition totally depends on their personal experience and ways they perceive spaces.
Multi-dimension containing emotional and intuitive component is already compounded and mixed one coming through long history and memory, not just accumulated layers that we can excavate out backwards. So I didn’t think we can peel off those dimensions layer by layer and scrutinized each inside skins.
In that sense, systematic distortion about center of Paris was most interesting to me in this article. It’s because that means psychological dimension might be measured and demonstrated by physical forms at some points. Beyond that, physical forms probably be animated affected purely by the psychological dimension from the scratch in a way. Of cause, every moment architecture should met other field of study such as psychology, philosophy or sociology other than engineering, I cannot 100% convince its possibility and get frustrated. But, continuously trying to find the link or junction with other fields might be the destiny of architecture because of a simple reason we are dealing with territory of people’s life which is not tangible just by a field.


Response to Olafur Eliasson’s exhibition

The exhibition was not that impressive in terms of its scale and setting showing atmospheres which is the main agenda of his works.
When I saw a photo about the ‘sun’ in Tate modern, I was amazed just by its vague energy but way of display and pieces in SFMOMA were not satisfying to me. I might had too high expectation.
Other than that,I can’t get clear notion of the ice car. I wondered why he made another monster which has frozen steel cover. Was that for capsulating and freezing our most convenient tool at a moment as for global warming issue? Or was it for showing ugly organs of car when earth becomes warm? Steel mesh, many piece of mirrors, ice and form of second surface, grammar of design language is not clear and corresponding with its agenda.

Parisian psychogeography

As “projections of lifestyles” (pg 92), the Paris maps are quite interesting in that they convey the complex manifestations of individual value systems, despite the participants having seen accurate cartographic depictions. I wonder if these projections, which it sees as complex structures, might also be seen as “proto-urban conditions” (Raoul Bunschoten) in that they are products of a given milieu “invested with local, emotive force” (Raoul Bunschoten) embedded in geography, socioeconomic status, etc. Within this structure, is the consequential displacement of one element by another part of a parametric social construct of the city that is ever changing? How different would the maps be if Paris did not build for a hundred years?

It doesn’t seem all can be explained empirically, but that some may be the domain of ineffability. I guess in this sense it’s similar to what we’re trying to do when we map f&*k and invoke blood measurements.

Here’s my slim attempt as art critique…

The Eliasson exhibit(s) was overall thought-provoking, while some pieces were less compelling than others, re: “Yellow versus purple”.

Broad stroke, the exhibit for me had a vitality and clarity that I felt, in a way, removed the overcoat left by city. “Moss wall” had a wonderful smell that added to the multi-sensory experience of the whole, while Notion motion undermined any idea of inertness. “Room for one color” I thought called into question our desire for a fixed datum through its single wavelength, giving us no basis for comparison, and rendering everything “black and white”. “Beauty” asked the participant to claim his own rainbow, which was interesting after viewing Rauschenberg’s blank white canvases and remembering his often-quoted desire to work "in the gap between art and life".

Although from it’s sister exhibit, I thought the piece de resistance (am I stating the obvious?) was the BMW H2R, which layered global warming, geyser-derived energy, modern geometry and materials, among others, in a stimulating atmospheric and sensorial encapsulation that seemed to connect widely.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

"The assistance of Paris MENSA is gratefully acknowledged."

The post title, from the last sentence in the end note of the Milgram reading, lends startling gravity. Were "geniuses" really consulted to pursue the line of research described? Why?

It seems that psychological mapping is something intuitive or natural, and less about psychoanalysis. With conclusions similar to Lynch's resarch in Boston, Milgram clearly presents the difference between individual perception, collective recognition, and official representation. I would like to see more comparative study of psychological maps against tech-based representations, and relative reality conveyed by each.

What are Berkeley's "places of beauty"?

10/1 Reading Responses

A belated posting…

Else/Where Mapping

After reading through the review of contemporary (200?) mapping projects techniques, it seems that I might roughly categorize them into two groups: utility/wayfinding, Yelp+ perhaps; and ludic mappings. The former having more obvious and concrete aims; The latter seems more open-ended, speculative and potent and interesting. (Admittedlely, the boundaries aren’t probably particularly stark). Specifically, what seems most intriguing is layering a geospatial palimpsest (or “digital graffiti in ActiveCampus’ parlance) with personal annotations, essentially anthologizing individual understandings of the city. The Urban Tapestries project is probably most interesting to me, and probably most analogous to how I see and understand a city.

I love hosting visitors for particularly this reason: I experience a new version of my home through their set of interests. Along with, or often instead of, a survey of the most touristed places in a city (e.g. Golden Gate Bridge, de Young) friends bring their own esoteric agendas and interests to seeing a city, and I enjoy trying to accommodate and participating in their journey. It generally takes me to new geographical areas of a city (even places I’ve lived for years) and more likely, just connects a new set of experiences through their lense. They provide a new kind of Carceri-walk based on their own logics (interests). It takes you out of your zone. I’ve always felt that it’s a shame that people don’t act as a tourist in their own homes.

Thus, I find the Urban Tapestries project really fascinating, as it would allow you to plot new walks, or as Moed’s puts it “write their [own] city,” indexed to interest. Sort of an anthropological Yelp I suppose. Great idea.

One additional thought:

I find this observation, made in reference to the DAVE-G – the system which allows laypeople to manipulate maps and control GIS data, to be a bit na├»ve: “maps may end up with the kind of oily reputation currently accorded to statistics.” (5/12) Since maps and statistics come from essentially the same source (data sets), it seems unreasonable to think that one method is any more valid or trustworthy than another. As we’ve discussed in class, it seems that systems like DAVE-G advance the democratization of mapping. That suggests the question – is that necessarily progress?

Street Science

Coburn’s narrative of the capacity of community-risk mappings to catalyze change in a neighborhood suggests that they are an additional tool to forward an activist agenda.

His observation that “…like all modes of communication, maps can distort as much as they reveal…” rightly reminds us that all mappings are inherently polemical. Some are more persuasive, but the “political” functions of aggregating, identity forming and boundary making are inherent in all mappings. While perhaps self-evident across all media, placed in the context of this particular studio, it seems pertinent to the discussion of science and so-called pseudo-science, as it reminds us that even “scientific” maps are to some degree polemical documents arguing a position and not merely reporting the facts – Joe Friday has an agenda too.

More broadly, the process is (analogous) to our own in its synthesis of geospatial with knowledge (Coburn’s street science) gained through direct (perspectival) experience. Essentially, their experience (our walks) were buttressed by the

Something else that is interesting is the notion of conducting an argument graphically through mappings – the city and the community groups created different mappings with distinct data sets (verify) covering the same territory. This contestation would be an interesting exercise to engage in studio.

Monday, October 1, 2007

feral robots

this was an offshoot of urban tapestries and relates to the street science article

http://socialtapestries.net/feralrobots/RFPA_Film.mov

http://socialtapestries.net/feralrobots/RFPA_LondonFields_Jan2006.mp4

reading response

I found Laura Kurgan’s You Are Here Museu, example particularly interesting because it speaks to the embedded inaccuracy of GPS that we had issues with in our mapping of menhirs. In some cases it just seems that verbal descriptions and addresses would result in a more accurate description of place than a GPS point. The point or coordinate only does so much. It is a rough grain indicator. It seems like in order to understand our GPS points we had to go from GPS to GIS to Google Earth to Google Maps street view to find that it might be more accurate to just give a verbal description. (i.e. “it is the 3rd mural on the right if you approach balmy from the north side”) But it seems the coordinate gives legitimacy because it is not influenced by human error. It is how we are taken “seriously” it gives a scientific aspect to mapping and therefore gives legitimacy.

One of the main ideas I extracted from the street science article is the that utilizing GIS does not necessarily imply legitimacy because in fact GIS can compound errors entrenched within the data and that a truly effective map must be some media that uses both legitimate mapping software like GIS and adds in a layer of human observation or adding the “historical patina” that Abrams is talking about with the navigation system for Nissan.

Olafur Eliasson exhibition

http://www.sfmoma.org/exhibitions/exhib_detail.asp?id=232
I recommend you guys to go this exhibition when there are not many people to ‘Take your Time’. I went there last Thursday night and it was too crowded to take my time.

Here is more information about him.

Olafur Eliasson Official website
http://www.olafureliasson.net/index.html

One of my favorite exhibitions _ The weather project at Tate modern.
http://www.tate.org.uk/modern/exhibitions/eliasson/default.htm
http://www.youtube.com/v/PbptP3kn21I

The mediated motion
(collaboration with landscape architect)
http://www.kunsthaus-bregenz.at/ehtml/aus_elias.htm

Street Magic

I am not so certain about the angle of the Street Science piece, even though they acknowledge the unavoidable bias of mapping. There is a condition in West Oakland that is very similar to the condition described in Williamsburg, and it is interesting to compare the two. The community in the case of West Oakland did not produce maps in their effort, but it is a similar matter of ‘people on the street’ versus the state apparatus, as well as a question of the factual data and how it is presented.


One of the issues was the construction of the Cypress Freeway and the contaminants on the property that was going to be disturbed in order to construct this new leg (after the previous freeway collapsed in the 1989 Loma-Prieta quake). There were high levels of vinyl chloride in the soil that would be released into the air. The community may have raised awareness and caused CalTrans to provide soil calming measures (if not to the community’s complete satisfaction).

Further, there were several additional matters, including the construction of a ‘poison park’ on contaminated soil, and the continued operation of a toxic substances incinerator and a yeast factory. The community was successful in shutting down both, after claiming that the emissions were linked to cancer and asthma levels. I cannot say that the links were ever substantiated. It is interesting to note that some of the same individuals that worked to have the facilities shut down for both atmospheric and ground contamination were the same individuals working to allow new residential construction on the same property. They were invested (in several ways) in the success of these projects.

Currently, there is further controversy is over the trucking facilities that exist in the area, which are mixed in with residential facilities, and whether these can be relocated to the former army base, which is currently planned to house a new ‘auto row’ which was only recently moved to Broadway in Oakland. In addition, the existence of warehouse and manufacturing space is a point of contention in the area, as most of it sits vacant. Many developers want to see this converted to residential zoning, citing that the disuse is evidence of obsolescence, and some local advocates pushing to maintain the zoning as an industrial preserve that might provide jobs in the future. These advocates believe that the developers will not allow new businesses in for purposes of land speculation. Finally there are the residents, caught somewhere in the middle, not wanting the pollution but in favor of (long term, unionized) employment.

In this case there are the same players one often expects to find in opposition, the community, developers, the city, and other state interests, primarily related to infrastructure. But once again the oppositions and overlap are not always so clear cut. Although we have agreed it is not possible, a somewhat neutral mapping that diagrams these interests and relationships would be of interest. The conspiracy maps of Mark Lombardi come to mind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Lombardi

Also, newspaper clippings on West Oakland toxic matters:

http://www.mbarchitect.net/RedStarStory.pdf




Abstracts

Tony Dubovsky, from my visual studies class, was showing us some work from a colleague of his, Loren Madsen, which I thought was both provocative and relevant to what we've been doing.

I can't seem to get a direct link so you'll have to click on the link below and the select "Historical Abstracts", then check out the top two works.

http://www.lorenmadsen.com/

"Crime and Punishment" contains a scripted letter directed to Janet Reno...

map/reality

The dissolution of the boundary between a map and our experience of the mapped reality is opening up brave new worlds. We have hybrid map/realities in all sorts of forms enabled by GPS, GIS, the Internet, cell phones and PDAs, etc--media to explore an environment which is lodged in both digital and analog space. The Urban Tapestries project is particularly interesting because you can access experience both in time and space; retrieving someone's previous impressions of a place while you experience it yourself collapses time and space. Other examples illustrate how fun it is to feel as though you can manipulate actual space by manipulating map--the driving interaction maps, e.g.

The agency of mapping is becoming increasingly powerful for the map user. In the case of the Toxic Avengers, the most powerful effect of that map was its ability to shape a shared reality, that of imminent threat from toxic sources, in order to unite Latinos and Hasidic Jews and other ethnic groups that could not stand up to the threat alone. What was also interesting was how they developed their cartography to appeal more to the courts, though essentially mapping the same thing as in the skull and crossbones map.

We have done these maps of San Francisco now to describe our experiences of the city and to begin to answer questions we felt we were unanswerable by the totalizing maps. Is the next step then to unite our ideas of experience and moving through the city with the landscape of information lodged in GIS by designing an interface between the two?

architecting local knowledge

Flashbacks of Al Sharpton-like vociferations, Erin Brockovitch-style sleuthing, my own EPA dispersion modeling of toxic chemicals and "hazardous" situations....and wonder of how much time and how many meetings were behind the ruckus Corburn describes.


I'm undecided on Street science, but intent on reading this article --that doesn't mention architects-- for its use of the phrase "local knowledge." In FOA's Phylogenesis, there's a reprint of an article by the same name, penned originally by Mark Wigley in 1999. Some excerpts from Wigley's "Local Knowledge":

"Architects are foreigners. They see local conditions from a special kind of outside."
"Architecture is only architecture (as distinct from building) by virtue of exceeding the local."
"Architects are agents of the outside."
"The architect is a full-time tourist."
"The local architect is already a foreign agent."


How do you see yourselves as architects relative to local knowledge? Do we bridge the professional/scientific and the local? What is our purpose/role in this as individuals trained in architecture? I really hope it's more than GIS drawing and information customization/gluttony (i.e. material for the insatiable appetite for entertainment and the next "interesting" bit or display of information). Moed suggests briefly that it might be making decisions (p107), but can we use maps to make real decisions? "Every map is a kind of lie..[and] a certain truth."(Moed 114) If we're using maps to make decisions, are we really relying on the hyperfiction of our button clicking? Will business always be one step ahead, by commercializing information and manipulating our environments to get paid and retain a competitive advantage? Should we be the information prospectors, the street speculators, and the local protectors?

street science

So perhaps the end goal is to “sell” our maps to the public or to the government so that something can be done or significance can be found in what we are proposing for the city and unaccepted streets. Careful to find the graphic balance; to not be to “cartoonish” as we may easily impassion the public, but loose validity in the eyes of the private sector. I wonder whom we could “sell” our maps to at this current time in our mapping investigations… Somehow I’m just not sure that city hall would quite “get” our maps yet…