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Redefining the Redline

Shawn Whitehorn CCA Fall 2011 Research Lab Instructor: Neal Schwartz My research is situated relative to the issues raised by the Structures of Power | Resistance lab in that I seek to identify structures of power that influence social, economical, and political disconnect in and around marginal communities. Specifically unpacking the historical practice of redlining, a mapping and classification strategy used to gauge investment risk and security, my goal is to engage the urban socio-economic conflicts that manifest as a result. Subsequently, this strategy has created unique urban conditions at which marginal, transitional, or affluent communities face the other at the boundary of infrastructural intervention; or gradients of each community exists along a datum of infrastructure. I find myself intrigued at the disparities in socio-spatial practice produced at this boundary, seemingly inward facing while existing at the edge of the other. I hope to seek ways in which existing infrastructure's divisive,disruptive, and displacive presence can serve as a site, locale, or medium for socio-economic integration, and sustainability. Architectural questions raised from this topic are issues of socio-economic class,design, and scale. How can architecture provide conscious, provocative spatial alternatives in which communities and infrastructure can exist seamlessly? What program can sustain the interests and investments of disparate socio-economic and political classes while preserving the identity of both? Should identities even remain in tact or should a strategy of ambiguity be deployed? What parallel socio-spatial practices exist between each community that can serve as a catalyst for program deployment? Seeking knowledge of socio-spatial practices and interactions that occur within each zone will require a comprehensive ground-level understanding of daily lived experiences and spatial perceptions. Deploying techniques of photographic and literary documentation,filming, and interviewing can build a compelling visual and audible archive of experiential data offering insight into these zones. Extracting quantitative and qualitative data from these techniques, historical documents, publications, and other resources have the potential to build a strong body of inputs for datascaping, diagramming, mapping, modeling, etc. In doing so, I hope to establish an investigative, representative, and possible design language specific and unique to this investigation. My initial hypothesis is that this investigation may reveal a significant cause and concept of cure to spatial discrepancies and disparities that we experience or choose to avoid in the urban realm. In revealing this condition, do I also believe that opportunities of conceptualizing how cultural, socio-economic, and political exchange can occur at both body to body and body to built scales.