Jeff Cohen, The History of Location
(Jeff Cohen, Growth and Structure of Cities)
Anne's notes from Jeff's talk:
- our environment is more defined by what human have done, than by nature
- place is an artifact of what humans create
- there is a "toy store" of resources for figuring out the stories of places
- think of a place as a "palimpsest," with layers of meaning poking through from different parts of history
- civic spaces are palimpsests, assemblies of different human interventions through time
- "imagine that you are a mole": what would you see if you stuck your head up every 100 years in the same place?
- "this is not the pattern you would see in science: humans are more wilful than molecules are
- "a really attentive mole" would notice that people are going in different directions these days: there is more work on the periphery, and so more commuting from periphery to periphery, into areas not served by public transportion
- community is "less centrifugal"
- "transportion can be a social filter"
- make a mental map of the Philadelphia region, then place yourself in it: what are its organizing features?
- "beyond development is where philanthropy happens"
- "maps are our friends"
- "photography usually comes with a motive"
- "how resounding the decisions of developers can be"
- "wonder with me: how did the places you are in take the shape they did? who were the agents of these changes? what were their motives?"
- "think about the reliability of each of the resources you are using: why was it made? to what degree can you trust it? did it have a particular agenda? filter your understanding through those original purposes...."