Pratt Institute School of Architecture and School of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Decolonizing The Map

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GONZALO J LOPEZ_Gonzalo DECOLONIZING THE MAP_Page_01.jpgGonzalo Jose Lopez Garrido

Mapping Social Injustice

Radical Geography and the DGEI (1968-1972)

At the end of the 1960s, a group of radical geographers led by William Bunge experimented with the “Geographical Expeditions”, a working method that aimed to educate citizens to become “folk geographers” in order to directly involve them in the urban planning discussions of the city. The first Expedition (the Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute) happened from 1968 to 1972 in Fitzgerald, Detroit, a neighborhood predominantly African-American, and can be included within specific countercultural manifestations as those part of the AfricanAmerican Civil Rights Movement. This paper seeks to explore two aspects of the movement that put in direct intersection Geography and Urban Planning and argues that revisiting the DGEI helps to push current discussions on both disciplines. First, their understanding of the concept “participation”. Radical geographers tried not to build consensus in the community (as participation is often applied today), but to provide training to those involved so they gain the ability to build its own facts and conclusions. To produce, and not only receive, knowledge, providing them with the chance to take the initiative to ask for changes and proposing a redefinition of the role of the planner as a social agent. Second, their production, a series of maps that can be considered pioneer in the field of today’s Public Participation Geographic Information Systems (PPGIS). The maps they produced were a successful example of Data Visualization, almost without the use of any technology, becoming a series of argumentative maps, de-neutralizing data and asking for social equality for an ignored and abandoned community.




After-the-fact graphics: Redrawing Macau’s architectural heritage

Lori M Gibbs

Macau, a former Portuguese port colony, was “handed over” to the The People’s Republic of China in 1999. After this handover, heritage sites were selected, surveyed, carefully documented by architects, and preserved in situ. The local government described these sites as representative of the peaceful co-existence between the “west” and the “east” in the territory’s history. UNESCO recognized these sites as an exemplar of “outstanding universal value” and designated them as a World Heritage Site in 2010. This study re-reads and compares this heritage recording project (drawn after-the-fact) with other archival sources, and raises questions about the contemporary role of architectural documentation in re-writing history and the use of architecture as historical evidence. Just how does architectural drawing come to play a role in larger processes of negotiating and reformulating historical and cultural narratives in a shifting political landscape? What is depicted, and what gets left out?




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The Red Line Archive Project

Wallis Johnson

The Red Line Archive Project is a constellation of socially-engaged art projects that work separately and together to engage New York City residents in a conversation about race, wealth and the history of the 1938 Federal Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) Red Line Maps that created the segregated neighborhoods of the city. The project was created in response to the artist’s family archive and history of property ownership. It currently includes a mobile “cabinet of curiosities” wheeled along city streets and a participatory walk that create a narrative of urban history and geography that is tangible and poetic, concrete and ephemeral. The Archive brings together discursive, often unruly and seemingly disconnected fragments of the artist’s research and family history of property ownership where the narrative of redlining has been erased or concealed. The work helps us consider the past and imagine a different future.

Walis Johnson_Decolonizing the Map Symposium_April 4, 2018

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