Spatial justice in the city and rethinking memorial public spaces as regenerative

Authors: Rebecca Sheehan*, Oklahoma State University, Jennifer Speights-Binet, Samford University
Topics: Cultural Geography, Historical Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: memory-work, public space, Confederacy, regenerative design, spatial justice
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon A2, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


While cities have begun to think their parks in sustainable and perhaps even regenerative terms, especially regarding agriculture and carbon off-setters, city public spaces such as squares, places, and monuments that memorialize tend to lie outside the reach of ideals concerning sustainability and perhaps far outside ideals of regeneration. For by definition, memorializing is inclined to set in time and space a portion of the public landscape. Often times, these public spaces are quite literally set in stone, disregarding the physical landscape as well as restrictive interpretation of that which is memorialized and in fact limiting the epistemology of memorializing. However, this is a missed opportunity for cities to showcase regenerative thinking for both the physical and cultural landscapes that supports spatial justice. Indeed, if memorializing landscapes were designed as ongoing dynamic processes, both physical and socio-cultural, then more progressive, yet stable, inclusive public spaces could emerge. In this paper, we first review a historical geography of memorializing in public spaces, especially those to the Confederacy in New Orleans. Then, we apply the potential of regenerative design principles to approach the reworking of these public spaces to include dynamism associated with human and natural geographies that memorialize. Our ultimate aim is to show an avenue to create memorial landscapes that are regenerative public spaces.

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