Thursday, January 19, 2012

DIY Dumpsters

By Easton Branam, Vera Giampietro, and Annie Chung

Garbage is an inevitable byproduct of urban living. Cycles ofconsumption and production that take place in physically constrained locations (cities) depend upon practically infinite access to resources produced in geographically distant locations. “Since nearly all possessions end up asgarbage, the trash universe as a topic is virtually infinite.” (Chase 54) Consequently, what urban consumers do with their trash has virtually infinite implications for the spatial reality of a city. Garbage cans, rubbish bins, dumpsters – whatever you call them, they are everywhere. The receptacles for consumed articles are large and ubiquitous members of the landscape. To some, these receptacles are present only on trash day, when they must be hauled out to the curb for pick-up. For others they are a livelihood, a source of food, or a canvas upon which to mark territory or display art. The aesthetics and location of trash containers (variations from the standard being the DIY Urbanism concept for trash) also help determine the function and character of a space, as well as marking what areas are publicor private. Our photos reveal the additional (if they exist) functions of various trash bins, and the impact of their presence on the character and use of that space.

Looking for and appreciating the mundane or overlooked is what everyday urbanism is all about. What do we want to ignore more than our own trash? Trash as DIY urbanism can reveal opinions of how closely one should interact with or acknowledge their waste. Giving trash bins an additional function such as acting as a canvas for advertisement or personal expression directs our attention toward them. Decorating the trash can,the dumpster, and the alleyway (the realm of the trash receptacle) can be a celebration of that lowly part of our consumptive process – waste – and a direct acknowledgement of its importance.

View DIY Urbanism - Trash in a larger map

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