Mapping a Declining Quality of Life in Parkland

For our final project, we are working on a cartographic representation of a diachronically deteriorating quality of life in the Parkland neighborhood. A key conceptual assumption behind our project is that a decline in the number of business and food sources translates into a suffering standard of living, which I believe to be true. The primary question that we seek to answer, or aid in answering, is IF the economic decline caused by the 1968 riot had long-term ramifications for the area’s business landscape. The other piece of the puzzle is white flight, which is a less sudden process than the uprising and developed over time. The tracking of number of businesses, number of food retailers, and the ethnic make-up of the community over three or four census years should yield a definite answer to the question of economic decline. The spatial expression of deteriorating or stagnating conditions should also be reflected in the maps we will produce. The inclusion of exclusive food-related business as a mapping category serves to reinforce the notion that a declining retail sector impinges on standards of living, as nobody can argue that food is not a primary material need but a consumerist penchant.

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The Symbiotic Relationship Between Storytelling and Technological Change

The first part of the book, Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Soundcovers the emergence of documentaries in radio, a relatively recent phenomenon. Besides the storied stigma against ‘documentaries’ of any kind in Reagan’s America, one of the main reasons for the late establishment of this airwaves sensation is the recent invention of accessible and portable recorders. The fact that sound can be recorded anywhere, on the move, and by almost anyone, changed the nature of the medium in some ways. The networked society we live in favors this fusion of new and existing technologies to create something completely new, beyond the expectations of the engineers and industrial designers that put them together in the first place. Imagine if FDR’s fireside chats had been recorded in the open, while surrounded by some of the struggling Americans he intended to inspire, their voices echoing in the background.

A similar development of different technologies and techniques coming together to revolutionize a medium is found in movies. While films can be essentially defined as a series of still pictures that, when shown on a screen, create the illusion of moving images. However, the gradual development of filming techniques, acting and storytelling skills, camera angles and points of view, color images, and finally digital technologies, moved the art-industry complex beyond the bare-bones projection of a motion-picture illusion.