Geographies of Trash
Geographies of Trash was funded by the University of Michigan Taubman College Research on the City.

Project Team:
Rania Ghosn + El Hadi Jazairy
Hans Papke, Jonathan Puff, Aaron Weller

“Burn it, Bury it, Recycle it, or Send it on a Caribbean Cruise,” these are the four things Ed Koch, former mayor of New York City, said could be done with garbage in the wake of the roaming Mobro4000 episode of 1987, when 3000 tons of trash were hauled from New York to Belize and back until finally incinerated in Brooklyn and the ash buried where it originated. The Mobro4000 episode speaks of the geographic scale of waste flows in a “clean urbanism,” which rests on the city’s capacity to divest itself of the costs of waste management by externalizing them to the region and territory.

Geographies of Trash spatializes the political, ecological, and formal imperatives of waste systems at a geographic scale to inscribe them within design practices and through that to bring urban externalities into visibility, dissensus, and praxis. The research represents the waste disposal system in Michigan to project five strategies of trash-formations in the American territorial grid. The design methodology follows a threefold approach, 1) to conceptualize and historicize the spatial issues imbricated in the burial, mass burning, abandonment, recycling, or exile of economic excess; 2) to represent relations of trash and space at different scales – from the block, township, territorial grid, state to continental flows; 3) to design alternative strategies, rituals and imaginaries that reclaim trash as “matter in place” and bring the production of the urban into the domain of public controversies. The project proposes five situated yet generic architectural strategies of trash-formations throughout the American territorial grid. The five discrete projects, Cap, Collect, Contain, Preserve, and Form, engage alternative imaginaries for landfilling, recycling, burning, re-using, dumping and valuing.

Publication Details
Graphic Design: Luke Bulman, Thumb
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: self-published (November, 2012)
Language: English
Dimensions: 10 x 8 x 0.5 inches

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