Jefferson and Lettieri published in The Plan Journal
Lecturer Michael Jefferson and Michigan-Mellon Design Fellow Suzanne Lettieri are featured in the recent issue of The Plan Journal, Resilient Edges. Their article "Other Than Infrastructure: Leaving Room for the Fantastical in the Resilient Project" reflects on delightful and absurd qualities that might be harbored in routine infrastructures.
Through a series of contemporary and historical examples the paper highlights how experience, material quality, narrative, and civic engagement can unlock new potentials in the mundane, and often intangible systems. Understanding first that resilient water-management infrastructures exist along a spectrum of defense, and second that they each participate in their own extensive system of flows and processes, generates a set of opportunities for designers to interject and draw out new possibilities. Locating projects within these systems calls for two approaches: 1. identifying the “objecthood” of infrastructure; and 2. techniques for “unblackboxing” or bringing parts of now hidden systems to the foreground of the civic realm. The paper suggests that these two approaches aid in locating the whimsical within systems and offer calculated ways to confront flood mitigation methods that all too often privilege what is deemed as efficient over what is enjoyable.