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Landscape challenge #5

Depending on how much you already know about your city, this task will involve a fair amount of research and perhaps some site visits. There are three parts.

1) Confect together a fantasy itinerary for a CLUI tour of your city.

Where are the wastewater treatment plants? Where does your trash end up and where are the places they used to go? Where are the abandoned landfills, those now capped with park or forest preserves and possibly leaching toxic chemicals into underground aquifers?

Where are the water purification plants? Does your city get its water from hundreds of miles away? From another country? Where are the pipes, canals and aqueducts? Any reservoirs? Are there dams nearby? Desalination plants? Where are the control rooms surveilling the whole system?

Where is the electricity coming from? Nuclear, solar, hydro or oil? Are there oil refineries anywhere?

Where are the communication antennas showering the whole landscape with electromagnetism? Do you live in a city that's at one end of a submarine communications cable? If so, where does it enter into the continent? (Taryn Simon photographed once such entry point.)

How is your city managing to stay solidly in place? Where are the levees and flood control? Where are the avalanche tumuli, debris fields, anti-tsunami warning and protection system and wildfire surveillance network?

Any military bases nearby? How about abandoned ones? Or how about abandoned ones that's been adaptively reused or been sown with a replicant pre-settlement ecosystem? Among concrete bunkers and silos, wildlife now flourish.

Are there stone quarries, coal mines, steel mills, lumber yards, shipyards, Supermax prisons, land art?

The headquarters of supranational megacorporation? National science laboratories and testing grounds?

Look through CLUI's Land Use Database to see what could be considered CLUI-esque.

2) Map out these places.

It's simple. Just go to Google Maps, and below the logo on the left is “My Maps”. Click that link and then “Create new map”. The rest should be easy. It'll simply be a matter of searching the site and then tagging it with a placemark. The learning curve is low.

3) Let everyone know about it.

You can do so by leaving the link in the comments. If we get a good amount, we'll collect it all into a new post.

This is optional, but we do want to know about these places and so will others. It'll be interesting perusing through these fantasy itineraries, going on late-night scopic drives through CLUIrome and CLUIlondon and CLUIlosangeles. CLUIhongkong! CLUImexicocity!


  • Blaize
  • May 3, 2009 at 12:05:00 PM CDT
  • I have repeatedly given two different Santa Cruz Super-Secret Staircase Tours, of two different parts of town. They are historical, experiential, and (I don't know why) popular.

    The tours are basically a researched and organized presentation of "what I think is interesting" to groups that range from 5 to (this was the first one) 114. Evidently Super-Secret Staircase Tours constituted an unmet need for Santa Crucians.

    After I had given them each a few times, I realized they are CLUI-esque, in that they (among the various esoteric things I talk about) treat of the interaction of the built and natural environment. Venetian Water Carnivals, grazing rights, readings from Frank Norris, old newspaper articles about carriage mishaps, and where the waterways used to go are all part of my tour.

    Therefore, I have the information to complete the above assignment, and I would love to do it, but a. I suck at things like Google mapping, and b. I'm leaving on Tuesday for a 6-week trip to Tajikistan.

    When I come back in June, I would love to map my town, and I'll let you know how it turns out.

  • Alexander Trevi
  • May 3, 2009 at 9:32:00 PM CDT
  • Blaize, the staircase tours sound amazing. Definitely Google map it as well as CLUIsantacruz. Looking forward to see both.

    Google Map is fairly easy to learn, though I'm quite adept at such things, having interned once as a GIS mapmaker. So it may not really be easy for first-timers. But it's the searching and scanning that frustrate people, not the learning-to-do-it part.

  • Georgia
  • May 4, 2009 at 12:51:00 PM CDT
  • Challenge accepted (is there a deadline?).

  • Blaize
  • May 5, 2009 at 1:38:00 AM CDT
  • Thank you. I have thought of mapping the tour before, and now I will have a good excuse to do so.

    If you are ever in Santa Cruz, I'd be happy to give you a Super-Secret Staircase Tour.

  • Rita and collaborative authors
  • May 6, 2009 at 1:18:00 AM CDT
  • As part of place blogging MNLY blog, at Manly Beach, Sydney, au has used Google Maps in two ways:

    Documenting landscape/ecological vandalism and posting 'before & after' pictures.

    Google MNLY Maps:
    Mnly on Google Maps 07:
    Before & After:

    It would be interesting if place bloggers and map developers could merge their objects into one application.

  • namhenderson
  • May 8, 2009 at 11:08:00 AM CDT
  • Took me a while.
    No good Web 2.0+ features (pics etc).
    Still was fun.,-82.344117&spn=0.017818,0.027466&t=h&z=15

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