In November 2011, funded by a National Endowment for the Arts “Your Town” grant, a community design workshop will be held to develop design solutions to address a number of challenges within the town of Mart: a deteriorating main street and downtown core; a lack of community gathering spaces to facilitate participation and social capital; a history of racial segregation and the division of the town along a color line; and a psychological and physical disconnect of community-identified sites of memory throughout the town. The Design Theory and Method class of Fall 2011 (UT Austin Department of Art & Art History) was invited to participate in the mapping-based research leading up to the workshop. We used this opportunity to explore mapping as a creative design process described by landscape architect James Corner, a “collective enabling activity” that involves “digging, finding and exposing on one hand, and relating, connecting and structuring on the other.”
Our first mappings were based on an initial field trip and subsequent research of Mart. Working in teams of three, we researched and recorded (using photos, sketches, drawings, notes) the following topics: signage & typography, empty buildings, Wise Cemetery (Happy Hollow Road), things to do in Mart, and sacred spaces.
Our second maps were visualizations of existing data freely and publicly available online: US Census, County Tax Appraisal, etc.
Our third maps were developed in collaboration with students from Mart High School, and emphasized a subjective, “psychogeographic” approach.
For more information contact Peter Hall