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robertogreco : ontario   7

Mapping LA-tinx Suburbia – Boom California
"One of the most famous attempts to describe Los Angeles depicts it as an enclave of communities without a focused core; a collective search for a pulse that does not exist. One version of this characterization suggests, “Los Angeles: seventy-two suburbs in search of a city.” Another narrows the scope: “nineteen suburbs in search of a metropolis.” Assigned to a series of writers, most famously Dorothy Parker, but also Aldous Huxley and H.L. Mencken, the words reverberate an anxiety about Angelenos’ collective experiences of space.[1] Pointing to the uniqueness of Los Angeles’s geography and topography, it also reveals the challenge of trying to capture the essence of a multi-nodal place with words alone. This essay examines how digital mapping can help to foreground localized knowledges of Los Angeles by introducing a pilot multimedia project called the Barrio Suburbanism Map.

In recent years, the digital-turn has birthed a new version of spatial musings similar to those of Parker, often in the form of maps. Rather than plotting points on a grid, digital mapping often combines practices of cartography, photography, narration, active revision, and public-orientation. These contemporary multimedia renderings demonstrate the continued active and critical searching for what it means to live in metropolitan Los Angeles. From this search, several questions emerge. Who decides what a place is called: barrio, suburb, neighborhood, ghetto, colonized territory? Where are its edges? How does a space become more than a location, but instead a site imbued with meaning? And, to whom? These questions move us beyond the iconic scene of Los Angeles produced from the studios of the Hollywood Hills to the lived experiences of space radiating out from Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights to the Tierra Mia coffee shop in Huntington Park. This essay explores how digital mapping might inform our understanding of metropolitan Los Angeles, both in the academy and beyond. Specifically, by pairing photographs with student ethnographies, the Barrio Suburbanism Map complicates popular perceptions of the suburbs as sites of homogeneity in order to reveal the dynamic diversity of suburbanization in multiracial Los Angeles, with a focus on Latinx communities.

Since the writings of 1920s social commentators, a range of urban historians, planners, creative writers, artists, and preservationists have created a wealth of scholarship and resources concerning Los Angeles and its suburbs: as bustling sites of working class identity, as spaces of queer sociability, and as areas of relocation for urban Chicanxs.[2] Yet, suburbs are habitually understood through the lenses of homeownership, whiteness, middle-class status, and conservatism in popular discourse. These depictions of suburbs eclipse the equally important histories of “triangular race relations” and “relational racialization” exemplified in places like Los Angeles, where complex interactions between race, class, and gender have accompanied the social segmentation of the metropolitan region.[3] Rather than a fixed set of characteristics, suburbia is networked, ever shifting, historically contingent, and defined by much more than political boundaries.[4]

This essay explores how digital mapping can function as an active means for engaging ongoing process of place-making, one that can offer unique contributions to both student learning and public engagement.[5] Beginning with a brief account of digital mapping projects in Greater Los Angeles, this essay provides a series of mosaics from one such project designed by the authors, the Barrio Suburbanism Map. A collaborative research project created by UCLA undergraduates in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, its aims are two-fold. First, it builds upon studies of the barrio and diverse suburbs to examine how these sites operate in multiracial and metropolitan contexts. Second, it foregrounds undergraduate research aimed at reaching a public audience through multimedia mapping. Piloted in an upper-division research seminar in the Winter of 2016, the project asks how Chicana/o and Latina/o populations have impacted the economic, social, and spatial contours of specific suburbs, with attention to how place-making and the built environment have changed over time."



"Through digital mapping, projects like the Barrio Suburbanism Map facilitate public-oriented research and student engagement in that process. By pairing photographs with student ethnographies, the map seeks to complicate popular perceptions of suburbia. It highlights the dynamic diversity of suburbanization in multiracial Los Angeles, with a focus on Latinx migration and settlement that aims to provoke critical discussion. In particular, it foregrounds how Latinx suburbanites impact the spatial and ideological contours of Greater Los Angeles. Rather than statistically driven mapping, these types of projects offer a more humanistic approach for interpreting space with the potential to train students in historical analysis. This is the first layer of an exponentially buildable platform. Future iterations, for instance, could introduce new layers to the present map that address labor history, housing prices, racial housing covenants, predatory lending, or fair housing activism, as well as artistic, literary, and architectural interventions in suburban spaces. As noted by the editors of Hypercities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities, “thick maps are never finished and meanings are never definite… and give rise to forms of counter-mapping, alternative maps, multiple voices, and on-going contestations.” In this way, digital mapping offers a promising opportunity to develop pedagogical and public initiatives that are responsive to the changing conditions of the world we live in."
maps  mapping  losangeles  genevievecarpio  andyrutkowski  2017  digital  digitalhumanities  placemaking  chicanostudies  latinx  suburbs  sanfernando  boyleheights  highlandpark  lincolnheights  victorvalle  rodolfotorres  greatereastside  laurabarraclough  history  economics  politics  demographics  orangecounty  sangabrielvalley  sanfernandovalley  wendycheng  inlandempire  rosemead  baldwinpark  santaana  ontario 
july 2017 by robertogreco
Rings – BLDGBLOG
"In the forests of northern Ontario, a “strange phenomenon” of large natural rings occurs, where thousands of circles, as large as two kilometers in diameter, appear in the remote landscape.

“From the air, these mysterious light-coloured rings of stunted tree growth are clearly visible,” the CBC explained back in 2008, “but on the ground, you could walk right through them without noticing them.”
Since they were discovered on aerial photos about 50 years ago, the rings have baffled biologists, geologists and foresters… Astronomers suggest the rings might be the result of meteor strikes. Prospectors wonder whether the formations signal diamond-bearing kimberlites, a type of igneous rock.

While it’s easy to get carried away with visions of supernatural tree rings growing of their own accord in the boreal forests, this is actually one of the more awesome examples of where the likely scientific explanation is also significantly more interesting than something more explicitly other-worldly.

Indeed, as geochemist Stew Hamilton suggested in 1998, the rings are most likely to be surface features caused by “reduced chimneys,” or “big centres of negative charge that frequently occur over metal deposits,” where a forest ring is simply “a special case of a reduced chimney.”

Reduced chimneys, meanwhile, are “giant electrochemical cells” in the ground that, as seen through the example of forest rings, can affect the way vegetation grows there.

One of many things worth highlighting here is this suggestion that the trees are being influenced from below by ambient electrochemical processes in the soil, set into motion by the region’s deep geology:
Hamilton was testing an analytical technique over a Matheson gold deposit to determine if there was any kind of geochemical surface signal. To his surprise, there were signals coming through 30 to 40 metres of glacial clay.

“We’re thinking there’s no way metals can move through clay 10,000 years after glaciation.”
After ruling out transport by ground water, diffusion and gas, he theorized it had to have been lifted to surface on electrical fields.

He applied the same theory to forest rings and discovered that they were also giant negatively charged cells.

Any source of negative charge will create a forest ring.

In landscape architecture terms, a forest ring—which Hamilton describes [PDF] as “a plant assemblage that is different from the surrounding forest making the features visible from the air”—could be seen as a kind of indirect electrochemical garden taking on a recognizably geometrical form without human intervention.

In effect, their shape is expressed from below. For ambitious future landscape designers, note that this implies a potential use of plantlife as a means for revealing naturally occurring electrical networks in the ground, where soil batteries and other forms of terrestrial electronics could articulate themselves through botanical side-effects.

That is, plant a forest; come back after twenty years; discover vast rings of negative electrochemical charge like smoke rings pushing upward from inside the earth.

Or, of course, you could reverse this: design for future landscape-architectural effects by formatting the deep soil of a given site, thus catalyzing subterranean electrochemical activity that, years if not generations later, would begin to have aesthetic effects.

But it gets weirder: as Hamilton’s fieldwork also revealed, there is a measurable “bulge in the water table that occurs over the entire length of the forest ring with a profound dip on the ring’s outer edge.” For Hamilton, this effect was “beyond science fiction,” he remarked to the trade journal Northern Ontario Business, “it’s unbelievable.”

What this means, he adds, is that “the water is being held up against gravity” by naturally occurring electrical fields.

Subsequent and still-ongoing research by other geologists and geochemists has shown that forest rings are also marked by the elevated presence of methane (which explains the “stunted tree growth”), caused by natural gas leaking up from geological structures beneath the forest.

Hamilton himself wrote, in a short report for the Ontario Geological Survey [PDF], that forest ring formation “may be due to upward methane seepage along geological structures from deeper sources,” and that this “may indicate deeper sources of natural gas in the James Bay Lowlands.”

These forest rings might also be surface indicators of diamond pipes and coal deposits, meaning that, given access to an aerial view, you can “read” the earth’s biosphere as a living tissue of signs or symptoms through which deeper, non-biological phenomena (coal, diamonds, metals) are revealed.

Even better, these electrochemical effects stop on a macro-scale where the subsurface geology changes; as Hamilton points out [PDF], the “eastward disappearance of rings in Quebec occurs at the north-south Haricanna Moraine, which coincides with a sudden drop in the carbonate content of soils.”

If you recall that there were once naturally-occurring nuclear reactors burning away in the rocks below Gabon, then the implication here would be that large-scale geological formations, given the right slurry of carbonates, metals, and clays, can also form naturally-occurring super-batteries during particular phases of their existence.

To put this another way, through an accident of geology, what we refer to as “ground” in northern Ontario could actually be thought of a vast circuitboard of electrochemically active geological deposits, where an ambient negative charge in the soil has given rise to geometric shapes in the forest.

In any case, there is something pretty incredible about the idea that you could be hiking through the forests of northern Ontario without ever knowing you’re surrounded by huge, invisible, negatively charged megastructures exhibiting geometric effects on the plantlife all around you.

Several years ago, I wrote a post about the future of the “sacred grove” for the Canadian Centre for Architecture, based on a paper called “The sacred groves of ancient Greece” by art historian Patrick Bowe. I mention this because it’s interesting to consider the forest rings of northern Ontario in the larger interpretive context of Bowe’s paper, not because there is any historical or empirical connection between the two, of course; but, rather, for the speculative value of questioning whether these types of anomalous forest-effects could, under certain cultural circumstances, carry symbolic weight. If they could, that is, become “sacred groves.”

Indeed, it is quite thrilling and strange to imagine some future cult of electrical activity whose spaces of worship and gathering are remote boreal rings, circular phenomena in the far north where water moves against gravity and chemical reactions crackle outward through the soil, forcing forests to take symmetrical forms only visible from high above."
plants  nature  geoffmanaugh  2016  forests  canada  ontario  forestrings  plantlife  trees  watertable  geology 
january 2016 by robertogreco
Fertile Grounds
"Fertile Grounds is a self-directed learning studio that offers teens aged 12 to 17 the opportunity to be pilots of their own learning, study what they are passionate about, and learn practical skills.

An incubator of ideas and possibilities, it is a place where youth are invited to actualize a vision, inspire and be inspired, in a community setting. 

We help teens develop their unique learning path that supports the belief that young people are visionaries, innovators and creators when they are given the support, space, and time to find answers to their questions."

"MISSION: As a not-for-profit organization, our mission is to provide rich, community building and organizing, learning opportunities in a non-formal setting that supports young learners in their discovery and exploration of the world.

To liaise youth to community members that will help them actualize their projects.

To provoke endless possibilities."

[via: http://radiofreeschool.blogspot.com/2013/10/hamiltons-first-self-directed-and.html ]
hamilton  ontario  openstudioproject  teens  youth  education  unschooling  lcproject 
november 2013 by robertogreco
Broken City Lab
"Broken City Lab is an artist-led interdisciplinary creative research collective and non-profit organization working to explore and unfold curiosities around locality, infrastructures, and creative practice leading towards civic change."

Our projects, events, workshops, installations, and interventions offer an injection of disruptive creativity into a situation, surface, place, or community. These projects aim to connect various disciplines through research and social practice, generating works and interventionist tactics that adjust, critique, annotate, and re-imagine the cities that we encounter.

Much of our activity has been focused on Windsor, Ontario, a once-collapsing, now gradually stabilizing post-industrial city at the edge of Canada. We believe that Windsor provides an exemplary vantage point from which to consider the role of artists in challenged communities, but we have also worked on various interventions, installations, and other creative endeavours in cities across Canada. Our work has been created across media – from temporary interventions to large-scale community events and from gallery exhibitions to various workshops and publications – but we also often take on the role of organizing and facilitating the activity of other artists and creative practitioners through residencies, conferences, and writing projects. We aim to creatively respond to the issues we directly experience in a community, while also negotiating the ways in which other community members experience the same issues, differently."
canada  activism  art  design  locality  windsor  ontario  lcproject  openstudioproject  collective  interdisciplinary  brokencitylab  interventions  post-industrial  urban  urbanism  situation 
march 2013 by robertogreco
Ursula Franklin Academy
"Ursula Franklin is a small community of learners that offers integrated liberal arts and science packages, preparing students for academic programs at post-secondary level. The learning experiences offered at Ursula Franklin Academy will reflect not only the learning expectations identified by the Province and the Toronto District School Board, but also the students' own interests, developing a sense of responsibility and individual accomplishment. Integrated and cross-curricular future-oriented skills related to electronic research and conferencing, conflict resolution and problem solving, global and social justice issues, and student leadership will be emphasized."

[via: http://www.designculturelab.org/2012/07/17/from-the-plsj-archives-an-extraordinary-mind/ ]
[See also: http://theagenda.tvo.org/blog/agenda-blogs/qa-my-alternative-schooling-ursula-franklin-academy and http://www.ufacademy.org/v5/school/wednesday.php ]
cv  tcsnmy  responsibility  conflictresolution  learningculture  learningcommunities  education  learning  google20%  schooldesign  ontario  toronto  schools  ursulafranklinacademy  ursulafranklin 
july 2012 by robertogreco
t h i n k | h a u s
"Think|Haus is a shared work space / social space and collective all about hacking, crafting, DIY and doing awesome stuff.

Think about how the history of Hamilton is intertwined in the “make it happen” ethos of the DIY mechanic, the basement engineer, the warranty violator, the patent ignorer.

Hamilton was once known as “The Ambitious City”.

Come and be ambitious with us."
hacking  diy  education  hackers  hackerspaces  deschooling  sharing  learning  lcproject  thinkhaus  hamilton  canada  ontario  making  make  unschooling 
april 2011 by robertogreco

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