Situating Flyover Territory

LAST Lab alum and Illinois graduate Grant Penfield-Haugen (MLA ’17) recently completed a traveling fellowship title “Situating Flyover Territory: Identity + Mobility in the Midwest.” His visits to Cleveland, Kansas City, Minneapolis, and St. Louis included interviews with business owners, politicians, and civic leaders, as well as photography. 

Below is a copy of his research statement:

“The continual urbanization of the United States is leading to the emergence of megaregions throughout the country, including the Midwest. Despite its common pejorative as the flyover country between the East and West Coasts, the Midwest is too large to be recognized as a stable or singular identity. What and where is the Midwest? 
This project explores the intersection between identity and mobility in “Flyover Territory,” deploying various mapping techniques and methods to understand both territory and urban space by the networks that pass through them. By spatializing the flow of people, critical nodes, synergies and actors are revealed, illustrating how these infrastructural networks influence the identities within Flyover Territory. The essence of place within this region is explored, illuminating how natural landscape and physical dimensions come together to influence the identity. When assembled, these cartographies serve to produce a new imagery of Flyover Territory. 
Furthermore, this project investigates entrepreneurial and economic opportunities using four Flyover Territory cities: Cleveland, Kansas City, Minneapolis and St. Louis. As the price of living becomes increasingly high on the East and West Coasts, coupled with the detrimental effects of climate change and natural disasters that are so pervasive on both of these coasts, it’s inevitable that the middle of the country is well situated for future growth. By visiting these cities, underlying conditions upon which new realities will be written are exposed, demonstrating the evolution of urban territories and how new settlement patterns are shaping the urban core.”

Conor O'Shea
Landscapes, Health, & Healing Symposium

On Saturday, July 1st, Conor O'Shea and LAST Lab research assistants Zoey Wang and Grant Penfield-Haugen presented at the Landscapes, Health, & Healing Symposium, hosted by the University of Illinois Department of Landscape Architecture. Their presentation, "Logistical Strategies," proposes new visions for North American logistics landscapes.

Conor O'Shea
Conor O'Shea Receives Graham Foundation Grant

The Graham Foundation has awarded Conor O'Shea a grant for the book Dialogues on Urbanization: Emerging Landscapes. The forthcoming book is co-edited with Martin Felsen through Actar Publishers.

"Since the turn of the century, the design disciplines have increasingly adapted their research and design methods to tackle the complexity and speed of twenty-first century urbanization. Among architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, and planning, landscape has emerged as a common framework for understanding and designing urban processes. Dialogues on Urbanization: Emerging Landscapes takes stock of recent advancements in landscape architectural research methods, design strategies, and representational modes by featuring eleven pairs of built and speculative projects, accompanied by interviews between their designers and the editors. By providing an overview of the recent past, the book serves as a foundation for new lines of inquiry from the design disciplines into twenty-first century urbanization. The collection underscores landscape architecture's considerable contribution towards reimagining urban systems, such as mobility networks, agricultural production, and waste flows, at multiple scales, from the planetary to the local."

Zoey Wang
Sasaki Day Award: Zoey Wang

LAST research assistant Zoey Wang has received a Sasaki Day award from the University of Illinois Department of Landscape Architecture for her thesis "Butterfly / Urbanism."

"Butterfly / Urbanism proposes to enhance the Monarch Butterfly habitats through a new approach to agriculture economy as well as strategic urban design. This project asserts that, in order to integrate Monarch Butterfly habitat with a new urbanism system, precise ecological, unconventional agricultural, as well as social/economic design strategies must first be developed. The project reflects the migration of the Monarch Butterfly as a dynamic flow which could elicit economic opportunities in the territories they stopover. By strategically planting milkweeds and nectar plants, this project controls the Monarch Butterfly migration route by manipulating the proximity to their habitats and catalyzes the food chain. What comes with the catalyzed food chain are opportunities of milkweed economy and entomophagy economy which piggybacks on the existing economic system."

Zoey Wang
The Logistical City Workshop

On Tuesday, February 7th, Conor O'Shea presented at The Logistical City Workshop at the UIC Institute of Humanities as part of a day-long workshop organized by Clare Lyster, Associate Professor, UIC Architecture.

"We live in an era where logistical systems have become central to how we work and live. We now think nothing of dropping a priority package in a drop box in Chicago at 9:30pm knowing it will arrive in L.A. by 7:30am the next morning. Talking in real time with a friend in a remote location via video-telephony is taken for granted, using nanosecond transmission signals is fundamental in the financial industry, while ordering groceries with an app and having them delivered later the same day is the norm rather than the exception. Given there is so much material and information flow in and around the spaces we inhabit, one could argue that infrastructural systems and their associated procedures are now the primary shapers of the urban environment. Yet, there are few, if any, intellectual models in place for architecture to contemplate the city from this perspective.

The one-day workshop, featuring national and local scholars as well as faculty from the UIC School of Architecture will review the social, political, material and cultural implications of logistical procedures for architecture and urbanism and debate ways in which logistical intelligence could be deployed, or re-routed toward the future design of the city. Speakers will be asked to present a definition of the Logistical City through the lens of their own unique research.

 The workshop is sponsored by the UIC Institute for the Humanities as part of the initiative, Cutting Edge Issues in the Humanities and run in conjunction with a year-long graduate research seminar and design studio, titled, The Logistical City, currently being conducted by Associate Professor, Clare Lyster, at the school of architecture in 2016/2017." 

Conor O'Shea