Audit the Streets

Auditing the heritage landscape of cities to highlight the disparities and gaps in commemoration practices. The "heritage landscape" of a city is the collection of street names, monuments, statues and other markers of history in public space. In this early-stage project, we are exploring ways to audit the heritage landscape of cities to interrogate whose history gets commemorated and whose is omitted, forgotten, submerged, or overwritten.

Civic Imagination & A Useless Map

In 2008, a group called the Institute for Infinitely Small Things published a useless map. From 2006–2008, the Institute held “renaming parties” where members of the public were invited to propose new names for any public place in Cambridge, MA. These submissions formed the basis of the “use-less” map—so named because it would be hopeless to use it to navigate the city of Cambridge. What in Google Maps is called the “Cambridge Common”is referred to on the map as “That Place Where Freaks Gather to Hula HoopAnd Do Other Circus Tricks.” Harvard Square is “Cash Money Land” andMain Street is “Lafayette Under Repair St.” Many places on the map are named after dogs and boyfriends and babies. I am the Director of the Institute for Infinitely Small Things and this is an accounting of the provenance, process and reception of the map of the City Formerly Known as Cambridge.