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Chinatown Invisible: Hybrid-mapping and making-do

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This article is a proposal to address visual mapping as a means to reveal the interrelationships between a place represented, a place lived and a place perceived. A form of critical cartography called hybrid-mapping is used to interrogate the combined sociocultural and biophysical legacies of the continually changing landscape. This approach expressly facilitates a focused interpretation of the everyday lives of urban dwellers and the nuanced connections between landscape, history and culture. Offering to a larger conversation about landscape representation, this article introduces, situates and analyses the application of hybrid-mapping in a creative research project entitled Chinatown Invisible about Manhattan's Chinatown. The Chinatown Invisible project uses hybrid-mapping to interrogate the quotidian practice of 'making-do' to adapt existing urban structures to fulfil everyday needs. Capturing and understanding making-do is vital because it sheds light on the ways in which residents informally claim space and how they shape the ongoing physical evolution of their neighbourhood, establishing their 'right to the city'. Chinatown Invisible shows how hybrid-mapping unveils the dynamics between culture and landscape in an urban setting, bridging critical geography and landscape representation to examine multiple ways in which we can interact with the processes of real, imagined and perceived space.
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Keywords: Chinatown; critical cartography; everyday practice; landscape representation; makeshift; mapping; maps; the everyday

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Associate Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Cities have been increasingly at the forefront of debate in both humanities and social-science disciplines, but there has been relatively little dialogue across these disciplinary boundaries. Journals in social-science fields that use urban-studies methods to look at life in cities rarely explore the cultural aspects of urban life in any depth or delve into close readings of the representation of cities in individual cultural products. As a platform for interdisciplinary scholarship from any and all linguistic, cultural and geographical traditions, the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies prioritizes the urban phenomenon in order to better understand the culture(s) of cities.
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