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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. Within marginal communities exists what investors and other agencies would classify as risks and the representation of these risks have played a significant role in the development of urban neighborhoods. I am intrigued these cartographies of risks specifically redlining, a mapping and classification strategy used to gauge investment risk and security by Northwestern University professor and social activist, John McKnight. My goal is to engage the urban socio-economic conflicts, investments, and disinvestments as acts influenced by this cartography. Unpacking redlining is a personal objective of understanding the concentration of wealth and social services in others and the stripping of the same in other districts due to these investment decisions. This strategy plays a unique role in determining moments 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. 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 Extracting quantitative and qualitative data from these techniques, historical documents, publications, and other resources have the potential to build a strong body of inputs for datascaping, diagramming, mapping, modeling, etc.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 source of 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.