Reading Response Week 6: Process and Layering

Denis Cosgrove’s chapter “Moving Maps” simultaneously praises modern cartographic techniques when he says it has revolutionized mapmaking and it reduces human error, at the same time that he criticizes it when stating that they impede the possibility of critical cartographic analysis due to its apparent “truthful vision” that deters a possible continuous analysis. An interesting take away from his article is his statement on the importance of process over product, where the survey and data compilation is crucial. In the theme of waste management and the discussion of marine waste transfer stations, the attention to process is important because it might impact the assertion that we make from the maps and how it can potentially lead us to further sequential maps. When describing the process of surveying Denis describes it as an activity that requires direct contact with what it is to be mapped and that human body is the most reliable agent for recording information. This week’s exercise of interviewing agents that help us gather information and thoughts about our themes relates to the statement that human eye still remains critical.

James Corner’s article “Agency of Mapping: Speculation, Critique and Invention” similarly to Denis, also reinforces the importance of maps that instigate other maps and have an open ended characteristic that “unfolds”. Among various strategies, two compelling techniques described in the article can be used and might help our narrative, are layering and game- boarding. Layering is about the superimposition of various sets of information, in our case it might help us solidify the evidence of the current unbalanced waste management system and the disproportion between waste tonnage and marine transfer station facilities. Game-boarding is about the possibility of creating a common ground between opposite groups, which is exactly the reality of the waste management theme. It is an extremely polarized subject with advocacy groups, council members and protestants, on one side, arguing against the Marine Transfer Stations, that they implicate health and air quality issues as well as noise and traffic problems for the nearby residents. While on the other hand, other advocacy groups and the Department of Sanitation are for the marine transfer stations and rail-based systems, arguing that they bring borough fairness and equity as well as improve the environmental emissions that trucks currently do. So, this option of balancing out both sides and potentially “play out various scenarios” brings an interesting tactic moving forward.

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