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[OBJECTIVE ENVIRONMENT]

F O RCE S HI T ES O N REAS O N 'S B ACK . Benjamin Franklin

This report documents the community of Hunts Point. Statistics are employed to illustrate significant aggregations; substantiate as well as contradict speculations; or underscore the narrative framework. Each number represents a human life. Contrary to capitalist ideology, it is impossible to extract the individual from society. Consequently, the following data illustrates the social fabric of humanity with implications that directly affect you. Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody [01]. Studying any map of New York City will reveal that a mere 10 miles stand between Parsons The New School for Design and Hunts Point. The former is nestled into Greenwich Village and the latter, a peninsula hanging onto the margins of the South Bronx. In less than one hour, a $2 Metrocard and the 6-train can transport you from points A to Bfrom the land of plenty to the poorest congressional district in our Nation. And thats where our story begins. Hunts Point spans 690 acres from the Bronx River westward to the Bruckner Expressway. Initially the formal elements of the communitys topography bear resemblance to Manhattans relatively manicured landscape. Roads. Sidewalks. Brownstones. Restaurants. Bodegas. Schools. Retailers. However, peeling back the urban sediment unveils the harsh realities of poverty. Since the 1980s Hunts Point has invested considerable time, energy and resources to shedding its reputation as the archetype of urban decay. Poverty plagued the community. Prostitution and drugs were the visibly lucrative commodities. Myriad neighborhood organizations emerged out of desperation Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation, Sustainable South Bronx, The Point Community Development Corporation, and Bronx Community Board 2 just to name a few.

[FIG 01] ECOLOGICAL FRAMEWORK


MACRO SECT ORS SOCIETAL + CULTURAL NORMS FOOD + BEVERAGE INDUSTRY MARKETING + MEDIA AGRICULTURAL POLICIES ECONOMICS LAND USE + TRANSPORTATION GOVERNMENT STRUCTURES + POLICIES FOOD ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION + DISTRIBUTION

OBJ ECT I V E ENV I RONMENT S


HOMESCHOOL + AFTER SCHOOL CHILD CARE WORK NEIGHBORHOOD + COMMUNITY RESTAURANTS SUPERMARKETS BODEGAS PARKS ROADS + HIGHWAYS

SOCIAL ENV IRONMENT S FAMILY FRIENDS PEERS NETWORKS of SUPPORT

INDIV IDUAL F ACT ORS COGNITIONS SKILLS + BEHAVIORS LIFESTYLE BIOLOGY DEMOGRAPHICS

[FIG 02] FIELD NOTES . AMY FINDEISS opposite page

[2]

environments define autonomy?

FIGURE01

Ecological Framework
M AC R O S E C TO R S S O C I E TA L and C U LT U R A L N O R M S F O O D and B E V E R AG E I N D U S T RY GOVERNMENT S T R U C T U R E S and P O L I C I E S F O O D A S S I S TA N C E P R O G R A M S H E A LT H C A R E S Y S T E M S P R O D U C T I O N, C O N S U M P T I O N and D I S T R I B U T I O N

How can money and social network define access to food?

There is a for peopl assistanc

S P E C U L AT I O N

How do objective environments promote individual future vision?


[FIG 03] HOUSING MEDIANS
FIGURE03 H O U S I N G M E D I A N S

Subsi

TOTAL ACREAGE

690 329 50

A Statistics This report documents the community of Hunts Point. G R I C U LT U R A L P O L I C I E S

M A R K E T I N G and M E D I A ECONOMICS

Housing development increased by 2,300 units. Population increased by over 10,000 people. Business entrepreneurs made substantial investments to expand the industrial landscape. Consequently, the labor force grew to over 25,000 workers. [18] What are the ramifications of these numbers? Pervasive pollution, escalating unemployment, and rampant crime,

are employed to illustrate significant aggregations; substantiate L A N D U S E and as well as contradict speculations; or underscore the narrative framework. Each number represents a human life. Contrary to
HOME

T R A N S P O R TAT I O N

1968

1987

1934

1994

ACRES OF LAND SPAN THE PENINSULA OF HUNTS POINT. [15]

Objective capitalist ideology, it is impossible to extract the individual from Environments


society. Consequently, the following data illustrates the social
WORK R E S TA U R A N T S SUPERMARKETS BODEGAS PA R K S AFT RSC fabric of humanity with implications that directly affectEyou.H O O L CHILDCARE S C H O O L and

FOOD DISTRIBUTION CENTER

N IGHBORHOOD Cities have the capability of providing something forEeverybody, andC O M M U N I T Y

R O A D S andH I G H WAY S

an unsustainable system.
The once hailed solutions to this vicious cycle are now more aptly characterized as band-aids for a community that is desperate for development uninhibited by the political architects of its past. Moving forward, it is imperative that individuals, organizations and governmental bodies organize and communicate in a collective effort to acquire and comprehend data; speculate on possible interventions; understand the relative risk and scalability; and finally implement change. Therefore, please accept the following as a contribution to the larger discourse.
[15]
Hunts Point Bronx Hunts Point Bronx

only because, and only when, they are created by everybody [01].
SOCIAL ENVIRONMENTS

ACRES OF HUNTS POINT IS DEVOTED TO THE FOOD DISTRIBUTION CENTER. [18]

Studying any map of New York City will reveal that FAmere 10 a M I LY
PEERS miles stand between Parsons The New School for Design and FRIENDS

Hunts Point. The former is nestled into Greenwich Village R T ofS U P P O and the latter, a peninsula hanging onto the margins of the South Bronx. In less than one hour, a $2 Metrocard and theI N D I V I D U A L FA C T O R S 6-train
VACANT OR CONTAMINATED LAND

NETWORKS

can transport you from points A to Bfrom the landSofI Lplenty K L S and to the poorest congressional district in our Nation. And thats where our story begins.
B E H AV I O R S LIFESTYLE BIOLOGY

COGNITIONS

OW N E R S
MOV E D-I N

RENTERS
W W W.CI T Y- DATA .CO M

DEMOGRAPHICS

ACRES ON THE PENINSULA ARE VACANT OR ENVIRONMENTALLY CONTAMINATED. [18]

Public housing mitigates mobility. Can innovation occur in a stagnate environment? If mobility is fostered, does lose of or isolation from support system create more stress? How do subsidies inform behavior? How can you plan while waiting? What if this is the only world you know? What if its okay not to leave?

Hunts Point spans 690 acres from the Bronx River westward to the Bruckner Expressway. Initially the formal elements of the communitys topography bear resemblance to Manhattans relatively manicured landscape. Roads. Sidewalks. Brownstones.

RESEARCH

on both the broadest and most what levels. [02] is not "when it comes to influencing a cognitive map, intimate matters Food is Politics. Consequently, in order to understand the design merely what is publicly discussed,ofbutlow-income urban food ecosystem of Hunts also what is not mentioned in Restaurants. Bodegas. Schools. Retailers. However, peeling back realities the public...The most successful Point it is imperative to first are those which have ideological effects analyze the existing environment, the urban sediment unveils the harsh realities of poverty. including than a complicitous and on the active no need of words, and ask no morethe socio-spatial implications ofsilence." Since the 1980s Hunts Point has invested considerable time, energy and resources to shedding its reputation as the
OutlineOfATheoryOfPractice,PierreBourdieu

Food is a product and mirror of the organization of society

and silent agents within the community.


THE LANDSCAPE

archetype of urban decay. Poverty plagued the community.


FIGURE02 Prostitution and drugs were the visibly lucrative commodities.T H E 1930 TANGLED WEB (SPECULATION) 1950 OBESITY

329 of Hunts Points 690 acres are consumed by the Food

2010

Myriad neighborhood organizations emerged out of desperation Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation, Sustainable I N CO M E South Bronx, The Point Community Development Corporation, and Bronx Community Board 2 just to name a few.
p e r hous e hold

1 90 1970 Distribution Center.[18] In addition9to the Fulton Fish Market, H I G H WAY S U B S I D I E S

the Distribution Center is also home to the NewSYork B S I D I E S H O U I N G S U City Terminal Market and the Hunts Point Cooperative Market. Sixty-five wholesalers operate out of the Terminal Market where fresh fruit and vegetables are imported daily from 49 states and

What if there was a way to connect farm communities and urban communities ? How does the physical voice build the landscape? What incentives are there to earn more money if the consequence is higher rent?

[4]

FOOD FIGHTS.OBJECTIVE ENVIRONMENTS

[5]

46,824
POPULATION

55 foreign countries. Fifty independent wholesalers operate out of six buildings that construct the Cooperative Market where meat and poultry are produced, processed and distributed. Currently the distribution center is one of the largest in the world. [15] Unfortunately, from this garden of plenty flows an endless stream of waste. Within the market, 111 tons of waste is generated on a daily basis by the Terminal and Fish Markets

[15]

$16K
AVERAGE IN COME

alone; this translates to 27,400 tons of waste annually. [19] Therefore it comes as no surprise that 50 acres of the peninsula have been declared environmentally contaminated. Further aggravating the situation are the 15,000 trucks that plow the peninsula daily. The percentage of accidents involving trucks is actually four times higher in Hunts Point (12%) than in the greater Bronx (3%). [o3] Most accidents occur on or close

IS THE AVERAGE INCOME PER HOUSEHOLD IN HUNTS POINT. [14]

47.6
POVERTY

to Bruckner Boulevard and along major truck routes such as Randall Avenue, Tiffany Street and Halleck Street. Numerous proposals that attempt to redirect traffic are currently awaiting litigation. However a redistribution of carcinogens does nothing to comfort the one in ten Hunts Point residents that suffer from asthmaan epidemic that has grown large enough to warrant Gov. David Pattersons contribution of $177,500 to fund a South Bronx Asthma Treatment Center. [04] And for good reason, the Bronx-Lebanon Hospitals South Bronx Asthma Partnership asthma hospitalization rate for boys and girls under 14 is 8.9 per 1,000 children. [05]
[ F I G 0 4 ] POLITICAL SEDIMENT OF HUNTS POINT
FO O D DISTRIBUTIO N CENTER & OTHER FO O D-RELATED USAGE RESIDENTIA L WASTE RELATED VACA NCY P UB LIC HO USING MA RKETS FO O D BA NKS & B ISTROS HEA LTH CLINICS

PERCENT OF HUNTS POINT RESIDENTS LIVE BELOW THE NATIONAL POVERTY LEVEL. [15]

THE ACTIVE AGENTS

Other egregious implications of this flawed urban plan bare a direct effect on the communitys 46,824 residents whose homes are relegated to small, densely populated parcels of land. [18] Here in the northern half of the community, 47.6% of the population lives below the national poverty line. For a nation with one in seven citizens living below the poverty line in 2010
[6]
FOOD FIGHTS.OBJECTIVE ENVIRONMENTS

2 0 YEAR VISION P LAN [SELECTED P O RTIO NS]

[18 & personal field work]

[7]

Services Administration (HASA), NY Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), Administration for Childrens Services (ACS)). [21] Problem Solved. Or not. Individuals interested in applying for Section 8 assistance currently receive this message when logging onto the NYCHA website: During these challenging economic times, demand for subsidized housing assistance in New York City is at an all time high. As a result more families and individuals have turned to the Section 8 program to be able to obtain affordable housing. Unfortunately due to a lack of sufficient funding at this time, the New York City Housing Authority will no longer accept any new Section 8 voucher applications or process existing Section 8 vouchers. [22] But there are emergency cases. From May 15, 2007 to December 10, 2009, NYCHA reserved Section 8 vouchers for emergency applicants who were referred by the New York City Administration for Children's Services (ACS) or those who are classified as intimidated witnesses or victims of domestic violence. As of December 10, 2009, NYCHA is no longer processing any new Section 8 applications. Currently 122,000 Section 8 applicants throughout New York City are on the preliminary waiting list. Fortunately theres another optionpublic housing. Of the 175,000 apartments in NYCs Conventional Housing Program, 41 developments are in the Bronx. However, not one of them is accepting applications. 130,000 NYC public housing applicants are on the preliminary waiting list. [22] The well is dry. Or is it?

$1,232
AVERAGE RENT

IS THE AVERAGE MONTHLY RENT FOR A NYC SECTION 8 APARTMENT. [13]

$330
TENANT SHARE

IS THE AVERAGE MONTHLY SHARE OF THE RENT THAT IS PAID BY THE TENANT (30% OF THE TENANT'S ADJUSTED GROSS INCOME). [13]

$902 0
SECTION 8

HOUSING ASSISTANCE PAYMENT

IS THE AVERAGE MONTHLY HOUSING ASSISTANCE PAYMENT (HAP) RECEIVED BY A NYC RESIDENT FROM THE NYC HOUSING AUTHORITY (NYCHA). [13]

IS THE NUMBER OF SECTION 8 VOUCHER APPLICATIONS THE NYCHA IS CURRENTLY ACCEPTING DUE TO LACK OF SUFFICIENT FUNDING. [13]

[ F I G 0 5 ] F I E L D N OT E S . K E L LY T I E R N E Y opposite page

[9]

SPECULATIONS

Food is a physical, social, personal and political tour de force that constructs and controls communities. Food is a politic. Food rules are part of a usually unscrutinized cultural ideology that continually leads to the reinforcement of life as it is Yet because they [food rules] reflect and recreate the gender, race, and class hierarchies so prevalent in American society, deconstructing food rules is part of the process of dismantling the hierarchies that limit the potential and life chances of subordinate groups.[02]

Beyond demographicswant versus need...and then desire. Patterns in food insecurity rates reveal the existence of systemic and systematic processes or structural violences though which social structures and social relations harm people by constraining or denying access to basic subsistence needs. [06] Therefore, modifying the environment can transform the voices of Hunts Point from passive to active.

[ F I G 06, O7] I N T E R V I E W W I T H J O S 2 APRIL 2011

REALITIES

Hunts Point is a food desert. Food insecurity and obesity, two food-related health conditions that plague the community, are manifestations of the power reflected in food and food practices. Following are three initial speculations that we allowed to guide our research to comprehend the hierarchies embedded in Hunts Point that spawn the recursive and dynamic reciprocity between human agents and social structuresbounded by space and time and perpetuated through the most mundane, regularized and routinized of activities: Subsidies are the currency of Hunts Point. There are many incentives for developers, property owners and tenants to subsist on the housing subsidy market as a result of increased economic inequality relative to the ratio of income to cost of living in New York City.

According to Clifford Geertz, the goal of ethnography is to uncover the fine details, nuances and complexities of social life thorough systematic processes of listening, observing, recording, reflecting, and interviewing. [07] When in doubt, ask. To test the validity of our initial speculations, we returned to Hunts Point and went directly to the sourcethe people. Bodega owners, residents, and street merchants afforded us an expanded perspective that addressed environment and behavior. We went into the field with an open agenda. Harnessing the power of visualization, we allowed pen and paper to guide our conversations and function as a tool for individuals to illustrate their relationship with the environment. Throughout the interviews, one of us would illustrate the

Where you eat matters. The distribution of food subsidies, specifically the state government-funded Electrionic Benefit Transfer program (EBT) and the federally-funded health and nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC), can be leveraged as a vehicle for community participants to gain greater mobility and accessibility to information.

conversation. This was a powerful tool that allowed us access into individuals private spaces and the ability to understand how their life has developed around it. Following are the key findings that revealed to us that, not only what and where you eat matters, but also with whom and why you eat matters as well.

[10]

FOOD FIGHTS.OBJECTIVE ENVIRONMENTS

[11]

FAR
FLOOR AREA RATIO

Subsidies are the currency of Hunts Point. Spaces and places are not neutral territories but rather physical concretizations of power. [08] Spaces and places as physical concretizations of power circumscribe in advance relationships, expectations, and interpretations. [09] Subsidized housing is indeed a reality for the majority of Hunts Point residents. However, gaining access into private

What you eat matters. Food is not a neutral topic. Instead, the inanimate is valueladen. It conveys worth and meaning, it creates, it animates. With each meal and in each bite we are reminded both consciously and unconsciously of exactly who we are and where we fit in the world.[09] For low-income or fixed-income individuals, the act of pushing a cart or buggy down the aisles of the grocery store served as a regular reminder of what was and was not available to individuals and their families. Foods are quickly organized into categories of affordability resulting in entire sections of the grocery store as being out of bounds or off limits to shoppers because of budgetary constraints. Grocery shopping was described as a thoughtful and difficult process for many families trying to balance desires for purchasing real, fresh and good food with the reality of their pocketbook. [09] Hunts Point residents can shop at Key Foods Supermarket on Westchester Avenue, one of two full-service supermarkets in the neighborhood. However instead of shopping for fresh fruit and vegetables, residents are more frequently lured by the neon light of the nearby Dunkin Donuts and Baskin Robbins. Or by the golden arches located just one block down on Southern Boulevard. And of course whereever McDonald's is situated, Buger King is only a few steps away.

IS THE SIZE OF A BUILDING RELATIVE TO THE SIZE OF THE ZONING LOT. [17]

100
KITCHEN

homes is a delicate negotiation that requires time to cultivate.

SQ FT

Unfortunately, we are unable to forge such a partnership. Consequently we relied on interviews to paint the picture. The consensus? Current living spaces satisfy basic needs. Strict regulations regarding measurements for minimal standards of functional living space from counter work space to room size are outlined in the HPD publication of Design Guidelines for

IS THE REQUIRED MINIMUM KITCHEN SIZE IN ALL NEWLY CONSTRUCTED STUDIO APARTMENTS. [16]

FOOD PREPARATION

New Construction and Substantial Rehabilitation. Regulations dictate the measurements drawn for minimal amounts of functional living space. The translation? Kitchens equipped with 30 stoves, 14 cubic foot refrigerators, 2 foot deep base cabinets with a minimum of 18 inches of countertop work surface located adjacent to both sides of the sink, one side of the range and the door handle side of the refrigerator, and wall hung cabinets. [16] Though some of these buildings are in dire need of refurbishment due to the cheap, often re-appropriated materials such as those used in large-scale suburban developments, they can be quite adequate for the preparation, cooking and storage of multiperson meals.

LN FT

IS THE REQUIRED MINIMUM COUNTER TOP WORK SURFACE SIZE IN ALL NEWLY CONSTRUCTED STUDIO APARTMENTS. [16]

As fast food empires rule the streets, and small chain supermarkets become a rare find in the south Bronx, Pat Purcell, an organizer for the Grocery Workers Union, said the discrepancy is inevitably tied to cost. Fast food places can afford to pay higher rent than supermarkets, he said. So they win over the supermarkets with smaller rent budgets. [11]
[ F I G 0 8 - 1 0 ] FIELD NOTES . KELLY TIERNEY & AMY FINDEISS respectively

[ F I G 1 1 ] F I E L D N OT E S . K E L LY T I E R N E Y next page

[12]

FOOD FIGHTS.OBJECTIVE ENVIRONMENTS

[13]

Where you eat matters. Hunts Point is a community saturated in contradiction. Simultaneously silent and loud. Commercial and residential. Connected and lonely. Vibrant and Grey. Walking along Hunts Point Avenue, the commercial district pulsates with the energy of community members until you approach the Distribution Market, where you stand on the margins of development. Carlos, Bodega Owner Born in the Dominican Republic, Carlos is a New York resident and the proud owner of a 24-hour bodega on the corner of Hunts Point and Lafayette Avenues. Carlos and the bodega have been neighborhood establishments for the last 30 years. Although he does not live in Hunts Point he devotes the majority of his time and energy to the business. The challenge? According to the New York City Bodega Owners Survey published by the Bodega Association of the United States, Inc. bodega owners face many challenges. Of the 376 bodega owners who participated in the survey, 61% admitted that their business is in risk of closing now or in the near future. Why? Increased operating costs for small business in NY (including insurance, energy, labor, accounting, advertising, etc) Downturn in economy Unable to compete with larger franchise stores Higher rents & unreasonable lease terms Unable to gain adequate capital to expand or make capital improvements to remain competitive Negative change in quality of life in the community (crime) Unable to make enough profit due to competition from other businesses Increased taxes and fees Immediately upon entering the bodega, customers are tempted by bananas and tortilla pastries. Why? We are Latinos, we like to eat what we eat at home, bananas, tortillas, chips, says Carlos, and confesses that everything is purchased at Jetro Cash & Carry, a wholesale grocery, foodservice and catering supplier located on 149th Street, while he draws the way raising his hand in the air. Though there is one exceptionthe empanadas that
[FIG 12] FIELD NOTES . AMY FINDEISS opposite page [FIG 13] FIELD NOTES . AMY FINDEISS

[17]

53%
EATING ENVIRONMENTS

Carlos prepares everyday. These homemade specialt are placed proudly in a prominent location on the counter. Why chose Jetro when the Hunts Point Market is just around the corner? Carlos explains that the markets sell mostly fresh food, not what his clients want. Flavio, Herbal Lifes Shop Owner At Lafayette Avenue,

What shall we have for dinner? is a seemingly simple question for some individuals. In reality, meals are a complicated and divisive negotiation. What shall we have for dinner? is a recurrent reminder of identity in relation to needs food, shelter, income and and various others dependent on the individual and environment. Food and corresponding practices that allow one to answer the question, What should we have for dinner?, are reflective of and reproduce social relations of power. [09] Beatriz and her friend, Hunts Point Residents Just around the corner from Flavios Herbal Life shop, Beatriz works as a care provider for an older gentleman. She is from Ecuador and is trying to lose some weight. Her friend has a small carriage and we ask what is she selling. Shyly she responds, Tamales. Seven days a week, Beatriz rises at dawn, assembles the ingredients for her day, and travels to Hunts Point, where she sells her tamales until noon. Our conversation evolves around food. "Why would Latinos rather eat junk food than prepare meals for themselves? " Beatriz confides in us that she could cook more traditional meals for herself and a man that she cares for everyday. However, he would rather eat hotdogs, pizza, bacon, etc. Beatriz explains that a friends mother could not believe her eyes upon her arrival in New York from Honduras. This woman raised her daughter on homemade food. Now, her daughter barely cooks. Her grandchildrens diet primarily consists of junk food. Soda and chips are the daily afterschool snack purchased at a nearby bodega. When its time for dinner they are already full with chips and soda, and wont eat healthy food. Beatriz believes that Hispanic-American individuals, born in the United States and those that immigrated long ago, have grown accustomed to junk food. They have lost the habit of cooking. Here even eggs are made artificially, they give something to the hen so she can have eggs without the cock. One, two, three eggs. One right after the other one! exclaims Beatriz, noticeably frustrated. The incentives dont help, adds Beatriz, People with food stamps and Medicare just do not have any motivation to embrace healthy eating habits.

STATES REQUIRE CHILD CARE FACILITIES TO FOLLOW FEDERAL DIET GUIDELINES WHEN PREPARING MEALS AND SNACKS. [12]

2/3
HOMES

between Faile Street and Bryant Avenue, is Flavio, equipped with a variety of Herbal Life products. He is not a resident but recognized Hunts Point as a lucrative business opportunity. Why? Because the obesity epidemic is obvious. Obesity is defined by body mass index (BMI), calculated using an individuals height and weight. Any adult with a BMI greater than 30 is considered obese. Childrens BMI also incorporates

OF ALL TOTAL CALORIES CONSUMED BY AMERICANS COME FROM FOODS PREPARED IN THE HOME. [12]

16
SCHOOLS

age and gender into the equation. A child with a BMI greater than 95th percentile for age and gender is considered obese. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, in 2007, the obesity epidemic was rampant in the South Bronx where nearly: 1 in 3 children in Head Start programs

STATES REQUIRE NUTRITION STANDARDS FOR COMPETITIVE FOODS AND BEVERAGES AT SCHOOL. [12]

DINNER

1 in 4 children in public elementary schools 1 in 6 public high school students 1 in 4 adults are obese.[20] Unfortunately the business endeavor has proven more difficult than Flavio imagined. He is frustrated. Its not the money, my products are cheaper than eating pizza or hamburger, its that people like unhealthy food, Flavio professes. People know that they can go to the doctor and the doctor gives them some medicine and they can still keep eating this food, cause the doctor will take care of them! Flavio understands that the purvasiveness of the obesity epidemic. If everyone around you is obese, you dont know there is another way of living, and kids follow this pattern too. They learn from their parents eating habits and these bad habits are passed from generation to generation.

STATES, INCLUDING NEW YORK, ARE AUTHORIZED BY CONGRESS TO SERVE DINNER IN ADDITION TO SNACKS WHERE MORE THAN 50% OF CHILDREN QUALIFY FOR FREE OR REDUCED PRICED SCHOOL MEALS. [12]

[18]

FOOD FIGHTS.OBJECTIVE ENVIRONMENTS

[19]

[FIG 13] EMERGENT FOOD ECONOMY . illustration by amy findeiss

Maria, Cuban Food Deli Cook Tempted by the open kitchen and the sign promising Cuban Sandwich, we hurried into the deli and ordered. While Maria prepared 2 pork sandwiches, we started chatting about food and cooking in Hunts Point. "A couple men in the neighborhood have told us that woman dont want to cook. Is this true?" Maria smiles and without hesitating explains that there is difference between women her age (around 50 years old) and younger generations born in the 1980s. Maria cooks and enjoys eating homemade food. She knows how to combine the ingredients so that meals are nutritional. However, younger generations dont want to cook; they would rather order food to be delivered. According to Maria, this is the issueconsequently kids diets consist primarily of pizza and hamburgers. Maria knows her sandwiches are delicious. The long queue of men craving for her food know too.

Beyond demographicswant versus need...and then desire. Food insecurity in Hunts Point is not the result of scarcity. Food insecurity is the result of uneven resource distribution which privileges certain sectors of our societal hierarchy those living Jose and his friends, Hunts Point Residents and Street Merchants Jose, a 29 year resident of Hunts Point, has established many individual connections throughout the community. We met him on Hunts Point Avenue where he was talking to his friend, a street merchant selling fruits and vegetables. Jose is an incredibly friendly man and a self-proclaimed "good person, who lives a good life". He works hard and helps his friends. His wife cooks meals for him and several of his friends, many of whom are without jobs or illegal immigrants who are denied access to food stamps. He believes himself to be a fortunate man for many resons, including that fact that he loves homemade food and his wife likes to cook. Jose explains that the majority of younger women in the community dont enjoy preparing and cooking meals. Joses friend, a street merchant busy selling fruits and vegetables, describes his home5 bedrooms, a living room and kitchen complete with a refrigerator, washing machine and good space for cooking. He shares his apartment with 2 other couples and 3 single individuals, the majority of which are related. Each bedroom is equipped with a mini-refrigerator, So each one can have his private food storage. A woman whom is like his sister cooks for him and everyone else living in the apartment.
[20]
FOOD FIGHTS.OBJECTIVE ENVIRONMENTS

above the poverty line. Therefore if hunger represents a sign of absolute powerlessness then this data suggests that persons with disproportionately less power include those marginalized because of political, economic and social factors. [02]

[21]

WORKS CITED

01

Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Vintage, 1992. Counihan, Carole. The Anthropology of Food and Body: Gender, Meaning, and Power. New York: Routledge, 1999. New York State Department of Transportation (2006, August 21). Bruckner-Sheridan and Access to Hunts Point Peninsula EIS. Presentation to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, New York, NY.

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02

03

Story, Mary, Karen M. Kaphingst, Ramona RobinsonO'Brien, and Karen Glanz. "Creating Healthy Food and Eating Environments: Policy and Environmental Approaches." Annual Review of Public Health 29.1 (2008): 253-72. French, Simone A., Mary Story, and Robert W. Jeffery. "Environmental Influences On Eating And Physical Activity." Annual Review of Public Health 22.1 (2001): 309-35. "Hunt's Point Neighborhood in Bronx, New York (NY), 10459, 10474 Subdivision Profile - Real Estate, Apartments, Condos, Homes, Community, Population, Jobs, Income, Streets." City Data. 23 Feb. 2011. "Hunts Point, Bronx." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 23 Feb. 2011. New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development. HPD Design Guidelines for New Construction. 1 August 2000.

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04 New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 2000-2008 Asthma Hospitalization Tables and Figures. Rep. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. 05 Fernandez, Manny. "A Fumeless Delivery Truck Plies Hunts Point Streets." New York Times [New York] 02 Oct. 2008. 06 Galtung, J. "Violence, peace and peace research. Journal of Peace Research 6.3, 1969, 167-191. 07 Geertz, C. Thick description: toward an interactive theory of culture. In R.M. Emerson (Ed.), Contemporary field research: perspectives and formulations (2nd ed. pp. 55-77). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press Inc.

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17 "NYC Zoning - Glossary." New York City Department of City Planning. NYC.gov. 3 April 2011. <http://www. nyc.gov/html/dcp/html/zone/glossary.shtml>. 18 Bloomburg, Michael, Mayor of the City of New York R. Hunts Point Vision Plan. Rep. Hunts Point Task Force, City of New York, Fall 2004. DSM Environmental Services, Inc. Hunts Point Food Distribution Center: Organics Recovery Feasibility Study. Rep. New York: New York City Economic Development Corporation, 2005. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Obesity in the South Bronx: A Look Across Generations. Rep. New York: Bronx District Public Health Office. "Section 8 AssistanceNew York City Housing Authority." New York City Housing Authority. NYC.gov, 2011. <http://www.nyc.gov/html/nycha/ html/section8/section8.shtml>.

IN CONCLUSION

Food is power. And currently the scales of power in our Nation, as illustrated in Hunts Point, are grossly imbalanced. The major obstacle to achieving equality in health status is a belief in its impossibility, based on a deeper belief that progressive social change is impossible. It is not. [10]

08 Mitchell, D. Cultural Geography; A Critical Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. 09 Freedman, Darcy. "Politics of Food Access In Food Insecure Communities." Diss. Vanderbilt University, 2008. 10 Hofrichter, R. The Politics of Health Inequities: Contested Terrain. In R. Hofrichter (Ed.), Health and Social Justice: Politics, Ideology, and Inequity in the Distribution of Disease, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, 2003, 1-56. Senyei, Kelly Ann. ""Perfect Storm" of Factors Leading to Expanding Waistlines in the South Bronx." 27 Mar. 2009. <kellyannsenyei.com>.

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MOVING FORWARD

If a successful ethnographic investigation consists of entering an environment with a topic and leaving with a question, then we offer the following: How might we absolve Politic from the role of urban planner? And in doing so, give agency to the community in order for individuals to emerge from the system to construct an environment that addresses their immediate needs with consideration for future desire?
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[FIG 13] FIELD NOTES . AMY FINDEISS opposite page

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[ W H A T' S T H E P O I N T ]
L EVERAG I N G S I L EN T S O CI AL AG EN CY T O REF RAME HAB I T U S

We are all storytellers. There are the stories we tell ourselves. And there are the stories we tell ourselves about each other. Stories define us. They are embedded in our psyche. They are part of our soma. They are inscribed in our landscape. Each memory is a negotiation of time and place, past and present, agency and structure, speaker and listener, spoken and unspoken, fact and fiction. Memories are born into and out of society. And currently the scales of power in our Nation, as illustrated in Hunts Point, are grossly imbalanced. Maurice Halbwachs, the grandfather of modern theoretical frameworks of memory, posited that memories are inherently collective, constructed out of shared data or conception. It involves reiterated practices of belonging and organized forgetting. To forget a period of ones life is to lose contact with those who surround us. (Halbwachs, 30) The individual as inextricably linked to society. Halbwachs framework can be dissected into three primary componentsindividual, society and memory. However, in order to gain deeper insight into the tangled web of Hunts Point, we must employ a more explicit lexicon:
IDENTITy

Individual and society are inextricably linked. Therefore, identity is inherently a social construction. At its best, identity exceeds the actual and harnesses the potentiality of individual and collective capacity. Identity encompasses physical as well as psychological factors that influence attitudes, motivate behaviors and define culture.
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FOOD FIGHTS.OBJECTIVE ENVIRONMENTS

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ENVIRONMENT

Environment is a mnemonic landscape that embraces the perceived, conceived and lived aspects of space negotiated by ruling social forces. (Lefebvre, 1996)

The violence of power, as outlined by Derrida, is the silent perpetuation of social injustices which have paralyzed Hunts Point. The Point is You.

[FIG 01] FIELD JOURNAL . KIERSTEN NASH 2 FEBRUARY 2011

MEMORy

The Point is Me. The Point is your neighbor. Although we are all storytellers, the majority of us are Unheard, Uninvited And Silent.

Memory, a diverse set of cognitive capabilities, is the living manifestation of social power that transcends time, constructs identities and permeates environments. Types of memory include but are not limited to episodic, autobiographical, traumatic, procedural, habitual and semantic. Memory serves as a feedback loop in this perpetual dialogue between identity (individual) and the environment (society). The dominant feedback in Hunts Point is currently negative. Explicit and implicit reminders of individual placement in the bottom strata of societal hierarchy are pervasive in and around the community. Law enforcement decorates the streets. EBT and WIC advertisements decorate retail facades. Local news channels broadcast tales of robbery, crossfire, and the asthma. National media aggrandizes prostitution. when it comes to influencing a cognitive map, what matters is not merely what is publicly discussed, but also what is not mentioned in public...The most successful ideological effects are those which have no need of words, and ask no more than a complicitous silence. (Bourdieu, 1977) The collective memory of Hunts Point that feeds identity and constructs the environment straddles fact and fiction. As active and silent social agents navigating this narrative landscape, we personify the past, present and future. Stories are memories. Memories are power.

But according to Claude Lefort, the silent social agents are the most valuable assets within the democratic machine. It is precisely these community members that possess the knowledge capable of causing a delay in the feedback loop perpetuated by memory in the ongoing dialogue between identity (individual) and the environment (society). If a balancing feedback loop, in this case memory, experiences a delay, it is possible that the entire system will oscillate. If the delay is sustained over time, it is likely to cause significant change in the behavior of the system, i.e. identity and environment. According to sociologist Anthony Giddens, sustained dissociation with the established culture long enough to cultivate an unanchored subjectivity. Giddens also asserts that disassociation is advanced with relative ease given societys current rates of mobility, information and communication. (Santos, 2001)

The Point is to find your voice.


Mobility is not the first word that comes to mind upon reviewing the research presented thus far. However, the rate of communication amongst community members is relatively high. But the chatter is silent. Information is flowing not from individuals mouths but from their fingertips.

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FOOD FIGHTS.WHAT'S THE POINT

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[ F I G 0 2] TACT I CA L F R AM EWO R K

When we change the way we communicate, we change society. The tools that a society uses to create and maintain itself are as central to human life as a hive is to bee life. Though the hive is not part of any individual bee, it is part of the colony, both shaped by and shaping the lives of its inhabitants. The hive is a social device, a piece of bee information technology that provides a platform, literally, for the communication and coordination that keeps the community viable. Individual bees cant be understood separately from the colony or from their shared, co-created environment. So it is with human networks; bees make hives, we make mobile phones. (Shirky, 2008) Text messaging is the most widely used mobile data service, with 74% of all mobile phone users worldwide, or 2.4 billion out of 3.3 billion phone subscribers, at end of 2007 being active users of the Short Message Service. (Wikipedia, 2011) A 2010 Pew Research report found that 44 percent of African American and 35 percent of Hispanic teens use their cell phones to go online, compared to 21 percent of white teens. (Sprung, 2011)

[FIG 03] "SO IT IS WITH HUMAN NETWORKS; BEES MAKE HIVES, WE MAKE MOBILE PHONES." SHIRKY

Own it.
PREFERRED

Share it.

Imagine it. Construct it.

At Bronx Regional High School, 8 out of 10 randomly sampled students have smart phones with internet access, 50% own a BlackBerry. (Sprung, 2011) Eight of the 10 Bronx Regional students interviewed said they use their phone for texting a lot more than calling. More than half the students said they send and receive
Write it. Speak it.

at least 100 text messages per day. One student, 18-year-old John Cain, said he sends and receives at least 300 text messages each day, which equates to approximately 109,500 text messages per year. (Sprung, 2011)

People are talkingsilently.


Live it. Breathe it.
E X I STI N G

Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody. (Jacobs, 1961)

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FOOD FIGHTS.WHAT'S THE POINT

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[ F I G 0 4 ] A R C H I T E C T U R E O F PA RT I C I PAT I O N

DESIGN STRATEGy

Based on our selected sub-topics of focus we strategically canvas the community. Bus Stops & Empty Storefronts Vinyl aerial maps of Hunts Point are applied to the glass partitions of bus stops and empty storefront windows throughout the neighborhood. Above each map, "What's The Point?" (including the sub-topic selected from the workshop) invites community members to reflect on their individual opinion. With a dry erase marker a dry erase marker, citizens highlight areas they value within their community, by physically mapping the neighborhood with their personal perspective.

RESEARCH PRECEDENTS TXT UA L H EA L I N G , PAU L N OT ZO L D 1 5 MAY 2 0 1 1 I N T E RV I EW

Whats The Point? redefines the community board as a responsive social organism, nourished by the silent agents through social media, that permeates that perceived, conceived and lived environment. Whats The Point? reflects the past, present and future memory of Hunts Point.
BEYOND

Following are a few of the gems that paul imparted: Use the community as facilitator/host Impact of the performance transcends the event Open ended statement are best devise when attempting to solicit a response Yes or no questions are the worst devise for initiating a conversation Yes, individuals will inherently test the system. Embrace it. It builds trust. Kinda like fishingthrow out the line and get a few bites equals a good day.

TACTICAL FRAMEWORK

If design is the ability to take something from an existing state to a preferred state, as suggested by Herbert Simon, then lets consider how we might we shift the dynamic and ignite new voices into the current conversation?
BOROUGH

[Ignite: Focus the conversation] A series of workshops with community groups such as Urban Word NYC and Beats, Rhymes and Life, whose members are active community members, aim to hone the dialogue within the context of defining Hunts Point (i.e., Whats The Point?). Participants will explore areas
COMMUNITY S PAT I A L CO N TXT, A N DA F R E N C H + S T U D E N TS 26 APRIL 2011 INTERVIEW

Community Board Faade A location, date and time are selected from the Bronx Community Board 2 meeting calendar. Whats the Point?, the corresponding sub-topic, and performance particulars are disseminated through various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and text messaging. The seed is planted. A mass of community members gathers outside of 1029 East 163rd Street, home to the Bronx Community Board 2. [Insight] At this stage, two things are important to consider. First,

Questions developed in conjunction with elementary school Say Yes to Education program: What do you like about Syracuse? What do you want to be? [received most responses] What should we do with the abandoned houses? Why smoke? Couple hundred responses received in all Tweet, Text Each individual who answers a question will receive an automatically generated response with inviting to view the video display at the museum. Primary responses via text

of primary interest through a mapping exercise that begins to contextualize the larger meta-narratives. Particular attention is given to the topics outlined on the Bronx Community Board 2 upcoming meeting agenda. Participants form groups around selected sub-topics in order to further develop associated questions and provocations that might best ignite a community response. A singular sub-topic is selected and amended to the over arching question Whats The Point? [Invite: Build An Architecture of Participation through the Logic of Complexity (Shirky, 2008)] In a group, other peoples relationship to you isnt all that matters, instead of counting people, you need to count links between people. (Shirky, 2008)

NEIGHBORHOOD

how might we establish the trust necessary to foster engagement? Second, as outlined by Foucault, fearless speaking is not spontaneous rhetoric. So, how might we prepare fearless speakers to emerge from a sea of silent social agents in order to embrace their new role as community participants?

May 4 Compilation of the communitys responses to the questions will be on display for the public via video projection on the Everson Museum exterior.

ME
I N TE R P E R S O N A L

Whats the Point? is a loose framework that fosters development through performance and community through participation by uniting existing networks of communication through the use of computers, mobile phones, and for those without digital capacity, spray paint, chalk, and markers as the transitional
YOU
INDIVIDUAL

PLAY!
Within the framework of a game, we safely test individual boundaries. Its not pure and simple. But if everyone comes out at the other end, we will have established trust that tempers anxiety, fosters play and spawns creative risk.

objects of critical participation.

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[ F I G 05, O6] BUS STOPS & EMPTY STOREFRONTS BUILDINGS & BROWNFIELDS

Our facilitator is an active community participant from the workshop, who has a pulse on, can communicate with and inspire participation form the community. The players are those gathered in addition to those students, wanderers, teachers, business persons, mothers, fathers, et al. that begin to fill the space.

Establish Trust Workshops in conjunction with The Point CDC Refine Framework Prototype

[ F I G O7] C O M M U N I T Y B O A R D FA A D E

The stage is set. And the question is posed. Develop Metric of Success and Test Prototype Large, bold letterforms spelling Whats The Point? are emblazoned on the architectural faade of the 1029 East 163rd Street via light projection. As encouraged by the facilitator, players furiously text their responses. VOICES EMERGE! transforming the identity, environment and memory of Hunts Point. [Change] Data is aggregated to inform the political players with seats at the community table as a virtual portal for continued discourse. Performances are repeated until culture is affected. Reflect...and repeat. Lay Foundation for Participation: Launch Prototype

ONWARD

The major obstacle to achieving equality is a belief in its impossibility, based on a deeper belief that progressive social change is impossible. It is not. (Hofrichter, 2003) Shifting cultural paradigms is a daunting task that demands careful negotiation, reflexive ideation and repetitive performance in order to challenge the visibility and credibility of authority. This is the first step towards an interactive culture that inhabits the perceived, conceived and lived space of Hunts Point. The following outlines the agenda moving forward: Cultivate Relationships with Engaged Social Agents silent as well as active

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BIBLIOGRAPHy

Bauder, Harald, and Mauro Salvatore. Engel-Di. "Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography." Critical Geographies: a Collection of Readings. Kelowna, B.C.: Praxis, 2008. 23-27. Bourdieu, Pierre. Outline of a Theory of Practice. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge UP, 1977. Counihan, Carole. The Anthropology of Food and Body: Gender, Meaning, and Power. New York: Routledge, 1999. Fernandez, Manny. "A Fumeless Delivery Truck Plies Hunts Point Streets." New York Times [New York] 02 Oct. 2008. Foucault, Michel, and Colin Gordon. Power/knowledge: Selected Interviews and Other Writings, 1972-1977. New York: Pantheon, 1980. Freedman, Darcy. "Politics of Food Access In Food Insecure Communities." Diss. Vanderbilt University, 2008. Gabriel, Trip. "Speaking Up in Class, Silently, Using the Tools of Social Media." The New York Times [New York] 13 May 2011: A1+. Galtung, J. "Violence, peace and peace research." Journal of Peace Research 6.3, 1969, 167-191. Geertz, C. Thick description: toward an interactive theory of culture. In R.M. Emerson (Ed.), Contemporary field research: perspectives and formulations (2nd ed. pp. 55-77). Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press Inc. French, Simone A., Mary Story, and Robert W. Jeffery. "Environmental Influences On Eating And Physical Activity." Annual Review of Public Health 22.1 (2001): 309-35. Gladwell, Malcolm. "Small Change: Why the Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted." The New Yorker, 4 Oct. 2010. Harvey, David. Spaces of Global Capitalism. London: Verso, 2006.

Hofrichter, R. The Politics of Health Inequities: Contested Terrain. In R. Hofrichter (Ed.), Health and Social Justice: Politics, Ideology, and Inequity in the Distribution of Disease, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco, 2003, 1-56. "Hunts Point, Bronx." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 23 Feb. 2011. Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American Cities. New York: Vintage, 1992. Lefebvre, Henri, Eleonore Kofman, and Elizabeth Lebas. "Lost in Transposition-Time, Space and the City." Writings on Cities. Cambridge, Mass, USA: Blackwell, 1996. 3-62. Meadows, Donella H., and Diana Wright. Thinking in Systems: a Primer. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Pub., 2008. Mitchell, D. Cultural Geography; A Critical Introduction. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2000. Phillips, Patricia. "Creating Democracy: A Dialogue with Krzysztof Wodiczko." Art Journal 62.04 (2003): 32-47. Santos, Myrian Sepulveda. "Memory and Narrative in Social Theory: The Contributions of Jacques Derrida and Walter Benjamin." Time & Society 10.163 (2001) Shirky, Clay. Here Comes Everybody: the Power of Organizing without Organizations. New York: Penguin, 2008. Story, Mary, Karen M. Kaphingst, Ramona RobinsonO'Brien, and Karen Glanz. "Creating Healthy Food and Eating Environments: Policy and Environmental Approaches." Annual Review of Public Health 29.1 (2008): 253-72. Winnicott, D. W. Playing and Reality. New York: Basic, 1971.

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