PHASE 01:  CRITICAL MAPPING AS RESEARCH

The use of critical mapping, in conjunction with traditional modes of data collection and contextual research, provides the designer with an analytic and projective instrument to gain further knowledge into the past and present project conditions and to open new questions and opportunities for design speculation.  Implicit to this research is an understanding that the physical form of landscapes is a reflection of larger cultural ideologies, social policies and economic contexts across the trajectory of time (i.e. history). Through this research temporal conditions and shifting paradigms can be discovered through data collection and examination.

“The agency of mapping is most effective when its capacity for description also sets the conditions for new eidetic and physical worlds to emerge. Unlike tracings, which propagate redundancies, mappings discover new worlds within past and present ones; they inaugurate new grounds upon the hidden traces of a living context.”
— JAMES CORNER, Field Operations “The Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique and Invention” in “MAPPINGS”, Denis Cosgrove, ed. (1999)
 

 

As James Corner notes, mapping has agency as an eidetic operation to reveal new conditions- both past and present- and to establish or reveal new territories of critical practice. Thus, critical mapping may serve as a research strategy to examine the Anthropocene landscape and uncover new conceptualizations of the landscape and potential programmatic trajectories.  Examination, through new paradigmatic lenses- such as design theory or scientific scholarship- opens opportunities to map and reveal new conditions. This mapping begets the analysis of the physical, political, social, and economic landscape. These landscapes become apparent in their expression/suppression through organization of systems of infrastructure and regulation, built form and spatial organization, typology and experience. For example, the division of property and attendant markings of those divisions, the hierarchy or lack thereof of public and private space or land uses, the presence of infrastructure across time, or changes in density and distribution networks.  You will find that mapping themes are interrelated and there are few discrete boundaries between subjects. As such, there are rarely discrete boundaries to a “site”. This research will require spatial investigation and mapping beyond the site boundaries, across themes and through time.

 

DESCRIPTION

Similar to the onset of a project within professional practice, Phase 01 is the rapid immersion into the project site conditions and context so as to identify and establish operational knowledge of and familiarity with the social, physical, political, and other influences on the project in both time and space. In the case of our studio project, we will utilize critical mapping to uncover existing and historic systems and processes, through the lens of the Anthropocene, so as to critically examine and identify potential project trajectories. 

 

Your work commences with the contextual research of Gowanus Canal and the surrounding neighborhood. This research will be conducted through the lens of the emerging Anthropocene lexicon. As an emerging paradigm that dissolves previous ontological boundaries, the Anthropocene now opens new conceptions of landscape and landscape process and new territories of human agency.  Your research will resist simple reproduction of GIS or other maps containing traditional, pre-determined information of the “site” (streets, topography, etc).  Rather, you will utilize existing map data ALONG with new, researched data from a variety of sources.  You will map this new data to examine and visualize the “site” through a critical lens.  The research may identify current trends, policies and issues and will lead to a class catalog of visualizations that are representative of historic, current and future site and contextual issues. Your work is both active research of contextual information and data regarding the site location as well as the creative synthesis and representation of this information in cartographic and infographic formats.  

 

Working individually, select a minimum of three Anthropocene lexicon research themes from the list below to use as a discursive lens in your research. Utilize the three themes and the associated readings as the initial point of departure for your research, including the Anthropocene Lexicon paper due at the end of the week.  In addition to the readings, you will need to research, gather and distill pertinent site and regionally-specific data and develop a conceptual strategy to visually communicate the research findings, inter-relationships among research topics and representation of spatial or temporal conditions and systems.  Consider how the issues are inter-related and operate at a range of scales, including site and regional scales and the surrounding contextual territories.  So as to consider landscape change, you should consider and visually represent how various research themes have changed over time.

Note- be strategic in your research themes and select themes that are potentially of professional interest to you. The readings provided should be considered an initial point of departure and an opportunity to become familiar with recent scholarship.

 

PHASE 01_ANTHROPOCENE RESEARCH THEMES+LEXICON

  1. HYDRO-SOCIAL CYCLES and INFRASTRUCTURE
  2. ANTHROPOGENIC GEOMORPHOLOGIES and NOVEL URBAN STRATA  
  3. URBAN METABOLISM
  4. NOVEL ECOSYSTEMS
  5. ANTHROMES and URBANIZATION TRANSECTS
  6. NOVEL SEDIMENTARY ENVIRONMENTS and STRUCTURES
  7. MATERIALS of EXTRACTION and HYPER-ACCUMULATION
  8. LANDSCAPE OPERATIONS and LOGISTICS
  9. POSTNATURAL HISTORY and POST-ENVIRONMENTALISM
  10. WILD(life)
  11. GEOTOURISM and POST-INDUSTRAL TOURISM
  12. (anthro)BIOGEOCHEMICAL CYCLES and FLOWS
  13. LANDSCAPE MIGRATION
  14. ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  15. PATTERNS OF SETTLEMENT 
  16. Other as proposed by you. (See me)

 

Phase 01_Work Products

1) Anthropocene Lexicon paper- based on a combination of the 09/06 discussion, the Anthropocene readings and your interests in landscape architecture, select and briefly discuss three socio-ecological issues or trends of the Anthropocene that you anticipate being the basis for your research in Phase 01. Submit a ONE page, 8.5×11 single spaced narrative discussion.  No bullet points. PDF format.  Post to Google Drive/Submittals/Phase 01-Anthropocene Lexicon no later than 10pm, Sunday September 10.


2) Projective Mapping- based on your research, prepare a cartographic projection of the thematic issues that are the subject of your research. The projection will be both investigation and discourse and will thus be both representational and generative. The projection should be an assemblage of various data sources and utilize various scalar projections (section, plan view, aerial birdseye); raster and vector techniques, various types of image formats and color indices to suggest visual hierarchy and consistent theme. The maps should be annotated with essential labels, symbols, etc. and citations should be provided. 24×36 poster, landscape orientation. Both PDF and print versions will be required for final.  Post PDF to Google Drive.

 

PHASE 01_SCHEDULE

0906: Course Introduction and Phase 01 start  

0908: Mini-lecture 01+02: Critical Mapping lecture and discussion.

           Work session/Site base map needs. 

0910: Anthropocene Lexicon paper due. 10pm

0911: Lecture 03: The Gowanus Superfund

          Work Session.

0913: Work Session.

0915: Progress review.

0918: Lecture 04: Urban Park History + Theory and Discourse

          Work Session.

          Pierre Belanger lecture @ 530p 101 Rapson

0920: Work Session.

0922: Phase 01 presentations.  (peer review)

 

PHASE 01_SUGGESTED READINGS and references

Critical Mapping Suggested Readings:

Berger, Alan. "Reclaiming the American West", from Praxis, Journal of Writing and Building, Issue 4: Landscape, Amanda Reeser  and Ashley Schafer eds. 2002

Corner, James. "The Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique, Invention", from Mappings, Denis Cosgrove ed. (London: Reaktion, 1999) 

Wood, Denis and James Fels. "The Natures of Maps: Cartographic Constructions of the Natural World" from The Natures of Maps: Cartographic Constructions of the Natural World (University of Chicago Press.2008).

Matterns, Shannon. "Deep Mapping the Media City" from Deep Mapping the Media City (University of Minnesota Press.2015).

 

Critical Mapping References:

Bhatia, Neeraj, and Jurgen Mayer. Arium: Weather and Architecture. (Ostfildern: Germany: Hatje Cantz.2010). 

Bourquin, N., S. Ehmann, R. Klanten and F. van Heerden. Data Flow: Visualizing Information in Graphic Design (Berlin: Die Gestalten Verlag, 2008)

Bourquin, N., S. Ehmann, R. Klanten and T. Tissot. Data Flow 2: Visualizing Information in Graphic Design (Berlin: Die Gestalten Verlag, 2010)

Carlisle, Stephanie and Nicholas Pevzner. "The Performative Ground: Rediscovering The Deep Section" in Scenario Journal 2: Performance. 2012

Corner, James. 2000. Taking Measures Across the American Landscape. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Cosgrove, Denis, ed. Mappings (London: Reaktion, 1999).

Crampton, Jeremy.  “Maps: A Perverse Sense of the Unseemly” in Mappings: A Critical Introduction to Cartography and GIS (Chichester: Wiley Blackwell 2010).

Density Atlas http://densityatlas.org/

Dodge, Martin. Rethinking Maps: New Frontiers in Cartographic Theory (New York: Routledge, 2009)

Hall, Peter. “Critical Visualization” in Design and the Elastic Mind (MOMA 2007).

Harley, J.B. “Maps, Knowledge, and Power” in The Iconography of the Landscape edited by D. Cosgrove and S.Daniels (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988): 277-312.

Hobbs, Robert. Mark Lombardi: Global Networks. (New York: Independent Curators International, 2003).

Kwinter, Sanford. “The Genealogy of Models: the Hammer and the Song”, Any 23: Diagram Work, (Fall 1998) No. 23. MVRDV. 1999. Metacity/Datatown. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: 010 Publishers.

Manning, Lauren. "Visualizing Information" in Scenario Journal 1: Landscape Urbanism. 2011.  

Monmonier, Mark S. How to Lie with Maps (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991)

MVRDV. 1999. Farmax. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: 010 Publishers.

MVRDV. 2006. KM3: Excursions on Capacity. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: 010 Publishers. Ratti, Carlo, et al. 2010. MIT Senseable City Lab. http://senseable.mit.edu/.

Next City- Sprawl Project http://nextcity.org/daily/entry/city-gifs-us-city-sprawled-city-growth

Rankin, Bill. http://www.radicalcartography.net (2011)

Rebuild By Design HUD Competition http://www.rebuildbydesign.org/

Sadler, Simon. ‘A Passion for Maps’ in The Situationist City (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1998): 81-89.

Studer, Meg. "NaCl: Operations Enabling Emptiness" in Scenario Journal 3: Rethinking Infrastructure. 2013

Studer, Meg. http://www.siteations.com/

Tufte, Edward. 2001. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press.

White, Mason, and Lola Sheppard. 2010. Infranet Lab.  http://infranetlab.org/lab/project

Wood, Denis. “The Power of Maps” and “The Interest is Embodied in the Map in Signs and Myths” in The Power of Maps (The Guilford Press. 1992).