Wednesday, January 18, 2012

DIY City Beautiful in the Pike/Pine Corridor

Alena Griffin, Inness Wragg, Victoria Evert

DIY City Beautiful

For our DIY urbanism photo-diary we explored the two-block segment of the Pike-Pine corridor directly East of Broadway. This is an area set up best for foot traffic, with limited parking and many street-level businesses including retail, restaurants, bars and clubs (as well as street-food vendors that appear on the sidewalk after dark). The area is also bordered by Cal Anderson Park, so that between night and day attractions it is almost always an active, vibrant area. Though none of the artifacts we found were directly related to each other, the proliferation of spaces (small and large) where individuals had decorated this neighborhood created a definite identity for the community. In addition to more long-term art projects, the unusually snowy weather at the time of our walk through the area encouraged interaction in the environment, and allowed for extremely temporary enactments of DIY public art.

Urbanism is seen as the way of life of the people that inhabit cities. Thus we understood DIY urbanism to being how people informally make the city even more of their own. The City Beautiful Movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries attempted to take beautify the city through planning. In a sense, the images we captured were a DIY City Beautiful; people taking what could be lifeless spaces, and making them so much more.

We found that this is especially the case in areas where people walk. There is much more of a connection with an immediate area if people walk through it; it lends time to noticing what surrounds. It creates interaction with the urban space around them. From permanent pieces such as the painted wall to temporary additions such as the snow chair or the snowman head on the Jimmy Hendrix statue to the pieces of art next to the curb, these are ways that people are “doing urbanism”.

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