Chris Reed shares work from a Harvard GSD landscape architecture studio that considers how productive ecologies drive the development of urban form and uses Jamaica Bay as a case study for exploring the opportunities of richly fluid territories.
The studio site was Jamaica Bay, an ecologically rich habitat containing many marshy islands, surrounded by highly developed residential and industrial areas including JFK airport, Floyd Bennett Field, and neighborhoods like Marine Park. This varied and vulnerable environment allowed the studio to focus on the development of urban form as driven by productive ecologies and their dynamics — a landscape-based urbanism.
Read more on Urban Omnibus
This article gives a snapshot on visual sociological methods, spatial semiotics, and visual culture to study the urban scene. Moreover, it would underline that we could treat observations and photographs as we do other information, such as interviews or demographic data which are specific to areas, neighbourhoods, streets, organizational boundaries and census tracts. We should note here that our snapshots attempt to be as close as we can get to what an ordinary person might see as they traverse a space. They are not attempts at artistic representation but are intended to document visual surveys. Indeed, visual sociology and attention to vernacular landscapes in the inner city allow us to see conflict, competition and dominance at a level not usually noticed and which can easily be related to the theories and descriptions of Lefebvre and Bourdieu. Read more on this piece published on the last issue of Urbanities: «Visual Approaches to Urban Ethnography»
This commentary is part of my ongoing reflection on ethnographic experience and visual methodologies. Some of the issues addressed here were discussed during a workshop (co-authored with Jerome Krase) held in Buenos Aires during the last ISA Visual Sociology Thematic Group conference of August 2012.
What scholars think of as gentrification is often associated with more expensive and aesthetically elegant cafes, restaurants, and boutiques that appeal to the high-class consumers’ tastes. Yet, it also means the displacement of working class residents and their stores. There happened to a bakery in the south part of Park Slope, a place where coffee cost less than a dollar, but the rent jumped up from four thousand dollars a month to a whopping five thousand dollars a month. So, what might be the real face of this transition? Perhaps, the face of Signora Enrica, one of two old Sicilian sisters who used to own an old-fashion Italian Bakery.
Read my last article on Streetnotes (2013) 21: 25-28
“Seeing Gentrification behind the Window of a Sicilian Bakery: Reflexive Ethnography and documentary practice in Brooklyn”
Reblogged from Notes From Dystopia:
“To walk is to lack a place. It is the indefinite process of being absent and in search of an appropriation. The moving about that the city mutliplies and concentrates makes the city itself an immense social experience of lacking a place — an experience that is, to be sure, broken up into countless tiny deportations (displacements and walks), compensated for by the relationships and intersections of these exoduses that intertwine and create an urban fabric, and placed under the sign of what ought to be, ultimately, the place but is only a name, the City…a universe of rented spaces haunted by a nowhere or by dreamed-of places.”
― Michel de Certeau “The Practice of Everyday Life”
Photo by John Fraissinet