Creating maps as important research methods is nothing new. But unlike in the past they have not always utilized the spacialization of urban actors at play within topography in tandem for the creation of an online sociological tool. For us, this tool is an interactive comparison visualization that fills a need for the public to gain access and understanding of complex government information and research for a more participatory public process so that a comprehensive and interactive space is created outside of the standard awareness of ones own neighborhood.
The dynamics of this processes, spatially depicting significant players (some being environmental) that have monumentally impacted the three sites current and future development, revealed the gaps that we needed to fill to create a greater level of transparency for public access. This came through the search and mapping of desired information on the chosen sites connected by the urban industrial The information and basic data, did not exist in some cases and had to be created (such as the community organizations), while in others it was a matter of reimagining open data in such a way that it revealed its short comings (intermodal flows and water sheds) In the extreme cases some data was not even accessible due to a blanket security policy on all urban utilities.
These players have become historically and physically embedded in the infrastructure of the city; official departments and agencies of the city, the corporate tech sector, real estate, business improvement districts. In direct contrast to this topography is the reality of the streets, sidewalks, the local residents and community members of the three industrial neighborhoods of Brooklyn that are examined within this online tool. It is the urban ecology of all these that we hope to reveal and examine.
“Nothing happens until something moves”. Einstein
Processes that breath life into urban landscape. City dynamism. Speed of movement, time of movement. Migration. Gentrification.
“People don’t need to be geniuses or even extraordinarily talented to develop their work. The requirements are initiative and resourcefulness - qualities abundant in the human race when they aren’t discouraged or suppressed”. Jane Jacobs, “The nature of economies”
People as a population of the city. Local organizations and actors. Class consciousness, labor force.
“The landscape shaped in relation to a certain phase of development (capitalist or pre-capitalist) becomes a barrier to further accumulation. The geographical configuration of places must then be reshaped around new transport and communications systems and physical infrastructures, new centers and styles of production and consumption, new agglomerations of labor power, and modified social infrastructures”. David Harvey, “Geography of difference”
The physicality of the city. Urban palette. Visualizing the invisible. Zoning and rezoning. City as shaped by city planners, developers and other top-down decision-makers.
“It is nowadays the norm to seek out “pluralistic” and “organic” strategies for approaching urban development as a “collage” of highly differentiated spaces and mixtures, rather than pursuing grandiose plans based on functional zoning of different activities. “Collage” city is now the theme and “urban revitalization” has replaced the vilified “urban renewal” as the key buzz-word in the planners’ lexicon.
Harvey David (1989) The Condition of Postmodernity.
Jesse Mae Metts