Under Quarantine in a City Project: Stories of Food, Family, Fear and Community

Authors: Solange Muñoz*, University of Tennessee
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural Geography, Qualitative Research
Keywords: COVID-19, Urban Geography, Housing, Infrastructure, Qualitative Research
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 55
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


In the US, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exacerbated health, wealth, and racial inequalities. Although less vulnerable to housing precarity and eviction, public housing residents have been directly impacted by the failure of urban infrastructures and resources. These moments of failure reveal the politics of urban life and offer the potential to critique the current system and reimagine the city. The pandemic is one such moment—exposing the inequities and inaccessibility inherent to current neoliberal urban infrastructures. At the same time, communities remain resilient as they create new movements together to produce alternative resources, infrastructures and access. This chapter takes a bottom-up approach to examine how poor urban residents in the Sun Valley housing project in Denver, CO (US) have experienced their daily life within and through the crisis. Using photo-voice techniques, we were able to document some of the hardships and events that Sun Valley residents experienced during quarantine. Residents’ narratives reveal the many ways the COVID-19 pandemic has affected people’s lives at a personal and a collective scale and highlight how community support, services and infrastructure are necessary for ensuring residents can both survive and overcome public health crises. The stories and knowledge collected from these photographs and interviews can be used to rethink the provisions, systems, and structures necessary for more just and equitable urban infrastructures.

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