IARC 599C ST: Mapping as Project

Maps translate and reconstruct a three-dimensional world onto a two-dimensional surface. What differentiates them from diagrams (although one can certainly include the other) is their ability to reduce the world outwardly. In other words, whereas diagrams reduce a unified whole (a building, a site, a city) inwardly to its internal parts, maps reduce that same whole to a smaller part of a larger field of influences and relations. Applied to the city, this makes them powerful analytical and design tools: they have the potential to foreground hidden urban ecologies and to redefine traditional notions of site, place, and identity (AKA the ???olocal??? ) as they reveal complex relationships between thinking and representation, culture and technology, and spatial and aesthetic practices across scales. If maps make the invisible visible operatively, (if behind every map there is a mapper) then the act of mapping is already a project in the making.??? This seminar/workshop explores mapping as a tool to discover and understand the city, to organize that knowledge and to visualize it effectively, and to strategically calibrate design thinking and (potential) design action. In the process, we will discuss histories and theories of maps and cartographic practices in relation to urbanism in general and the City of Scranton in particular. We will map Scranton as a case study.