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Technology, Markets, Space. Lessons from the Calumet Region. Myths of the Information Age. Geography is irrelevant Race, class, and gender are irrelevant Frontiers are empty places

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Technology, Markets, Space

Lessons from the Calumet Region


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Myths of the Information Age

  • Geography is irrelevant

  • Race, class, and gender are irrelevant

  • Frontiers are empty places

  • Persons are powerful as individuals: My Yahoo! Where Do You Want To Go Today?

Free Corporations and a Wonderful Future will be Created


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Network Society

The space of flows is made up of discontinuous locales whose function

and meaning depend on their positioning and repositioning in a network of instrumental flows.

Manuel Castells, sociologist of the Informational City


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Thesis

Market incentives force corporations to transform environments into sets of manageable resources.

Unorganized individuals are not free to resist this logic.

Social worlds created by unfettered markets are not the kind we would choose to inhabit.


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Making Flows Visible

Myths of the Information Society

Make Flows Invisible

History of the Calumet Region

Make Flows Visible


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Steel as Key Technology

There is a mystique involved in the steel industry that makes it a symbol of economic strength all over the world. The great industrial economies that emerged in the nineteenth century were built on steel, and wars were won with it. For more than a century, both politicians and economists have regarded steel capacity as a measure of industrial progress and a source of geopolitical power.

Business Week, 1977


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Networks of the Calumet Region

The city of Gary was conceived in the counting rooms and born in a jungle. It was nursed on faith and schooled in the fiery furnace of toil. It is peopled by men and women of every living tongue and creed, while in marts of the world, it stands as the horoscope of good or evil symptoms in the final aspect of Christendom. As steel goes, so goes the world, and Gary is its prophet.


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Calumet Region Parallels

  • Frontier

  • Global Village

  • Leading Edge Technologies

  • Economic Driver

  • Largest Concentration of Industry on the Planet


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Promise of the Calumet Region

Optimistic observers hail Gary as the ‘City of the Century’ an industrial utopia made real by American technology. “Gary will be the most picturesque city of them all” wrote one booster wrote in 1909. Another admirer in 1911 wrote that Gary presented the most wonderful record of growth, in the shortest period of time, of any town or city in the civilized world.

Raymond Mohl, Steel City


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Myths of the Calumet Region

We may assert that the Region has indeed produced its own myth, that of a cultural desert peopled by blue-collar workers living in the midst of polluted skies, garbage dumps, and violent ghettos.

Richard Dorson, oral historian, Land of the Millrats




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Regional Flows

  • Access to Customers

  • Access to Chicago Rail

  • Access to Iron Ore

  • Access to Coal

  • Access to Labor

  • Access to Empty Land

  • Access to Water






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Dunes Environmental Flows

  • Boundary of Eastern Forest and Western Prairie

  • Boundary of Northern Boreal and Southern Warm Climate

  • Varied Local Topography

Third among all national parks in biodiversity. Over 1300 prairie, deciduous forest, bog, rainforest, desert, and arctic plants in only 13,954 acres.


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Jens Jensen

The dunes of northern Indiana are one of the great expressions of wild beauty in this country. They are the greatest of nature’s expressions of this beauty in the Middle West and as a type of landscape they are unequaled anywhere in the world









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Birthplace of Ecology

A keen observer, walking inland from the water’s edge, could trace a pattern of ecological succession in space which paralleled the development of vegetation in time.

The engine of progress was not so much competition between individuals as experiments by pioneering associations of organisms in more adaptive reciprocal relationships with one another and their environment.

Dr. Henry Cowles, 1896



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Culture of the Calumet Region

  • Biology: Henry Cowles Founds Ecology

  • Sociology: Chicago School+Biotic Principle

  • Architecture: Prairie School, F. L.Wright

  • Poetry, Painting, Sculpture




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Invisible Flows

Without organized resistance,

corporations face imperatives

which force them to transform

their environment into a set of resources.

Short term profits are maximized

at the expense of social welfare.


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Social Disasters

Early Decisions Maximized Corporate Resources

at the Expense of:

  • Poor Urban Form

  • Social Segregation

  • Structural Racial Inequality

  • Environmental Devastation

  • Labor Crises



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Original Gary Urban Form

  • Social Segregation

  • No Lake Access

  • Uniform Grid

  • No Public Spaces

  • No Green Spaces

  • No Diagonals

  • Rail Disruptions



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Because of U.S. Steel’s limited concept of town planning, two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.

Planned Social Segregation


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1937 Zoning two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.

The impact of HOLC in Gary, it should be clear, was to consign the city’s black sections, as well as adjacent white sections, to a future of physical decay and increased racial segregation.


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Broadway 1908 two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.


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Broadway 1990 two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.


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Gary Streetscape two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.


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Union Station Gary two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.


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Downtown Hammond two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.


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East Chicago two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.


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Grand Calumet 1900 two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.

Historically, the Grand Calumet River supported highly diverse, globally unique fish and wildlife

communities.


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Industry on the Grand Calumet two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.


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Grand Calumet River two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.


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Grand Calumet River Pollutants two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.

  • Among the most widely polluted waterways in the world with 423 hazardous water sites listed under RCRA.

  • Entire bottom is composed of minute iron particles.

  • 90% of the river’s flow originates as municipal and industrial effluent.

  • PCBs, PAHs, Mercury, Arsenic, Copper, Cadmium, Dioxins, Chromium, Lead and 3,100 pounds of Cyanide.

  • Not even sludge worms can survive, lab animals exposed to sediments had a 100 percent mortality.


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Calumet Region Air Pollution two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.

This is not to be a

smoky city, modern

methods enabling the

extraction from the

smoke of all gases

and fumes.

1908


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US Steel Air Pollution two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.

U. S. Steel’s

Gary Works

is the single

largest air

polluter in the

United States.


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Race, Class and Pollution Intersect two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.

The residents of Altgeld Gardens, a public housing project on the far southeast side of Chicago are mostly black and Latinos. To the west of the housing complex are steel mills. To the south are two landfills. To the north, a sewage treatment plant. And to the east, a paint factory, two chemical plants, and a chemical incinerator. There are 52 abandoned landfills documented in the area and a high rate of cancer and birth deformities. Local activists call it the Toxic Doughnut.


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Getting to the Bottom of Things two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.

The refineries were we loaded and unloaded our cargo were enormous, hellish structures, labyrinthine networks of hissing pipes and towers of flame, and to walk through one of them at night was to feel that you were living in your own worst dream....The ugliness was so universal, so deeply connected to the business of making money and the power that money bestowed on the ones who made it--even to the point of disfiguring the landscape, of turning the natural world inside out--that I began to develop a grudging respect for it. Get to the bottom of things, I told myself, and this was how the world looked.Novelist Paul Auster


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Cityscape as Visible Flow two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.

Stripped down to their essences, leftover buildings and discarded spaces form cityscapes of great power. While they last, we have our ruins and the immense longings they instill in us. Even at risk of bodily harm, we need to hear the elemental chant that comes from our skeletal neighborhoods. The ‘City of the Broad Shoulders,’ and ‘Steel City,’ sing about the shortness of life, the awesome beauty of our creations, and our abject failure to create a just society. With their chant they beckon us to come home and perhaps try again.

Camilo Jose Vergara


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Virtual Society Disasters two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.

Decisions Made Today Give Shape to the Information Age

  • Poor Urban Form

  • Social Segregation

  • Structural Racial Inequality

  • Environmental Devastation

  • Labor Crises


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Policing the Information Society two strikingly different Garys emerged: one neat and scenic, the other chaotic and squalid.

Like the 1919

steel strike in Gary, state power maintains

urban tranquility in 1999 Seattle.


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