Wk 6. Reading Response

In thinking about the issues of mapping for the Waste Management System in New York I was particularly interested in “The Agency of Mapping” by James Corner. I thought it interesting for all of the reasons that we know mapping to be an act of power etc. but also because of what we have read (and heard) about the inequality of distribution of waste transfer stations within the city.

In particular I was interested in Corner’s view that maps were “doubly operative : digging, finding and exposing” and “relating, connecting and structuring” This was interesting because from our interviews we understand that the city is looking to restrict the zones of travel that commercial trash haulers would be able to move within. We also learned that the city was in the process of studying urban relationships to define private carting zones. Corner’s article made me think of the number of ways in which specific maps could both make the argument that certain neighborhoods are disproportionately overburdened by land transfer stations (i.e. "digging, finding and exposing") and map unseen factors to suggest potential zones within which private haulers could operate (i.e. "relating, connecting and structuring").

I am not sure what these maps might look like, but I was especially interested in Corner’s suggestion of how “temporal, systemic, performance networks can be rendered distinct from traditional cartographic concerns with static space” this seems to really resonate with the potential for our subject. We have been told that the issue is distinctly a systemic one and I have begun to think that the problem people have with the new Marine Transfer Stations seems to be a problem of traditional perceived proximity of so called “static space”. That is to say that when you look on a traditional map, the neighbors fear the proximity of a Marine Transfer station and object to it. They object to it even though nothing about the transient and nocturnal nature of NYC waste carting suggests that it would have the same prevailing negative presence/impact that people perceive from viewing a map of the traditional “static space”. It seems an interesting opportunity for what Corner describes as the value mapping for designers as “not invention of novel form but in the productive reformulation of what is already given” which is to reveal existing adjacencies and benefits to the city by reconceiving of what is actually proximal in waste management and when.

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