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gaspar - Searching Out the Lines Whether or not we...

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11.948 Power of Place S01 Anne Whiston Whiston Spirn, Professor Searching Out the Lines Final Project by Christine Gaspar Searching Out the Lines Whether or not we acknowledge them, the lines do exist. Some lines are man-made, like the grid of an eighteenth century city. Others are formed by natural processes, like the river carving its path as the hills around it deposit their waters. Other lines are imagined or experienced, such as the route that, in one's mind, links home and school. Still others are invisible, covered over, rejected, forgotten. In West Philadelphia, such a line exists. Invisible to most, the line of Mill Creek - buried in a sewer pipe - makes itself visible to the careful observer and to the occasional victim. Vacant lots, cracked walls, pools of water, flooded basements are signs of a natural process that continues below ground. The story of Mill Creek reminds one that city and nature are inseparable. The city exists within the natural world - is a creation and an extension of it. Ignoring natural processes or attempting to subvert them, as with the burial of Mill Creek, leads often to disaster. This proposal, created through a graduate course called The Power of Place in MIT's School of Architecture and Planning, is an effort to make visible the line of the Mill Creek and to reinforce the relationship between the built environment and natural processes. Searching Out the Lines
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