I study literacy, or literate acts in the midst of broadly defined genre ecologies happening in a range of media.
For the last ten years, I’ve focused my research on streets and street design. I have been interested in how we move, in who has the freedom to move, and how our car-centric road design in the States affects our ability to encounter a safe transportation environment. I spend my time looking at how people read the road, and how we might create a multiple use street design, allowing more of us options for how we move.
Specifically, I’ve been curious about the use of social media and online advocacy arguments for cyclists’ and other wheeled alternatives (mobility scooter riders, electric wheel chair users, skaters, etc). I mostly want to know how individuals/designers and companies suggest alternatives to current car-centric design on line; how they offer a glimpse of a radical traveling alternative from the one most of us encounter when we decide to move within our daily networks of work, home, school(s), social, or shopping spaces. I think here in terms of social media, content strategy, and shifting digital literacy concerns, and the range of strategies used based on our individual and collective relations to Audre Lorde’s Mythical Norm.
I end up watching a lot of video, looking at a wide range of visual arguments, with authors mostly trying to say — we could have so much more pleasure if we could alter these existing streets, shifting away from automobile-only design. I love logging the attempts made trying to suggest what safe design feels like. The challenge to convey an alternative infrastructure and its visceral experience is real. There’s a true challenge in trying to use only two senses — sight and sound — to try to convey visceral/sensory embodied moves. How do you suggest the pleasure of moving in a space where you feel safe and cared for in the design? How do you suggest that if we gave up our car-centric indoctrinations, we might find pleasure in safer mobility choices. How do you speak to the implications for those of us who live outside the mythical norm? And how do these advocates tilt that car-centric ideology in the midst of odd perceptions of risk and pleasure?
I study these visual arguments because I want to understand how people are trying to advocate for change in the United States, how they hope that street infrastructure could reflect more viable and sustainable values. I’m interested in how our ways of moving on our nation’s roads (our literate mobility acts) shape our understandings of agency, of our right to safety.
This webspace functions mostly as a testing ground for me and has since 2003. Content here, for the time being, is mostly about how throwing pots influences my understanding of design, usability, risk discussions, and visual rhetoric within technical communication.