Unraveling Urban Life and Space
Today: Saturday morning, Main Street: around the corner sits something new. Brilliant blue leaps off the freshly painted storefront, its impact dwarfing its modest size. Against the background of dilapidation, color draws the eye. The storefront windows are a riotous display of brightly colored ads and signs for the store’s products, with one window dominated by a flag in stripes of red, white, and green. The door stands open, and customers come and go from cars parked along the street. Their greetings, like the signs in the windows and the store name newly painted across the façade, are in Spanish …It’s a part of Mexico in the Midwest, a place made by outsiders, a landscape reflecting a new culture in an old place, but it is also more than any of these. It’s the one storefront with fresh paint and windows with current displays and signs; it’s the one business with the lights on. It’s a reason to go downtown, a small counterweight against the tide of abandonment sweeping this city. It looks like the future, no more, no less.
- From Chapter 1, Hope and Home.
That “something new” isn’t new at all. Immigrants have always built this country, since before the Revolution to today. That includes projects we don’t see, like moribund shopping areas in small Rustbelt cities, and projects that make headlines. Like border walls.
Want more? Find the complete first chapter of Immigrant Pastoral here.
Also posted on Medium.
Assorted drafts, previews, and outtakes from the book I'm currently writing about the impact of vegetation and neglect on urban life. I also take other thoughts for a test drive here, including nascent design and research ideas.