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Publication Date

August 2022

Abstract

A city’s ability to sustain a flourishing population is linked to multilayered subjective understandings of its cultural identities (Fincher and Jacobs 1998). As we understand it, Malden, Massachusetts is a rapidly densifying urban area distinguished by a near-majority immigrant population and a landscape fractured by vacated spaces (U.S. Census Bureau 2021). It has a rich socioeconomic footing but lacks public resources for its growing family population. Because current green space is inaccessible or otherwise compromised, our project explores ways that the community can transform idle lots, backyards, and urban poché into wilding spaces, agricultural learning spaces, pollinator connectivity corridors, and spaces for other forms of prefigurative activism (Kato 2020). Using an existing residential yard as a case study, we will investigate the limits of a confined urban space’s ability to host this variety of programs and test access for the growing population. We will collaborate with local schools and foundations to develop a curriculum that best complements the current Malden population through a flexible set of identifying factors specific to the community ecology, such as native food production practices, local artist initiatives, and cultural traditions (Rose 2016, 223–249). Our goal for the Micro Urban Discovery Lab, or MUD Lab, is to develop this methodology in the hopes that it could be replicated for the ongoing reactivation of other post-industrialized cities (Drake & Lawson 2014).

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