January 4th, 2007


Wiki wars over Urban Decay

There is a long debate at wikipedia over having a category for "Urban decay." I'm often a lone voice who gets shouted down in these kinds of things. I do think both sides have points, but in the end it is subjective weather or not a category is 'based on a point of view.' All categories are based on a point of view. There is so much meaning carried in the ways we try to group ideas together. We think that norms are set in stone, but the context of history books, the structure of encyclopedias all represent a kind of world-view that is present even before you get to the content.

In this encyclopedia we can find information on "crime" on "mortgage discrimination" on "racism" on "housing projects" on "freeways" but nothing ties these ideas togather. They aren't a part of a grouping of ideas that represents a felid or subject of study. They are compartmentalized with no relation to the rest of the story. This is why people seek to address just one of these problems and often fail. They fail to see the complete picture and the way that the symptoms of urban decay constantly reenforce each other.

That's why I think it is important to participate in projects like wikipedia. Not so that I can further any agenda, but so that at least I can have some influence over finding that middle ground.

I'm really excited about this project of grouping togather all of the aspects of urban decay and I hope that it won't be deleted. The debate over the inclusion of this topic is outrageously long! And it is still going on! I never suspected it would cause this much controversy. But, in a way, I think that is a good thing. Please consider adding your voice to the fray whatever side of thise debate you support.

I'm also shocked to find that one or two people had a hard time seeing the connection between the ideas in the topic. But, I guess, this is a kind of reality check for me. Most people don't obsess over these things as much as I do and I guess that saying that "freeways" are a part of "urban decay" sounds at first to be contradictory. "Don't new roads improve cities?" I think that's what people must be thinking.

We shall see if this category is wiki-worthy.

(By the way many of the topics under this category need a lot of work-- I want to make this body of knowledge *sparkle* with sources and clarity. I think that it could really have an impact on how people doing research on these topics come to see urban decay.So if you are inclined please help out!)