"The Middle" [an impromptu name for my research] takes up the question of middle-urbanism, i.e., contexts which can neither be described as urban, suburban, or rural, or the endless classifications to prop up over the last several years. As the urbanization of the world become more prominent in architectural discourse and beyond, the middle-urban sites pose somewhat of a conundrum. Rather than hold the metropolis as the holy grail for urbanism, The Middle highlights cities whose positions are integral to local economies, yet have no particular impetus to grow, densify, or urbanize.
Quad Cities envelopes the Mississippi River, comprised of Davenport and Bettendorf West of the River in Iowa, and Moline and Rock Island on the East side in Illinois. And it just so happens that Rock Island Arsenal, the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing site in the country, sits squarely in the middle of the mighty Mississippi. Although the arsenal is quite a lot to wrap one's head around, Quad Cities holds several peculiarities that refer back to the problematic scalar definitions. Although comprised of individual municipalities, the cities' economies, cultures, and residents are inextricably linked, softening political boundaries of city, county, and state.
Out of curiosity, I've been searching for the term "middle-urbanism" in architectural discourse, and have yet to find anything. Now's probably a good time to coin the term.
Now that I'm post-graduate-school, and [for the time being] post-architectural-practice, I'm using this blog as an outlet to generate meaningful conversation on the limitations as well as latent opportunities in architectural practice. Co-Founder @anewyorkagency