Cities and Bodies: Mapping the Boston Metropolitan Trail
This seminar is an introduction to urban design anthropology that takes the Boston suburbs as its prime object of investigation. Students will participate in the design of the Boston Metropolitan Trail (BMT), a projected grid of twenty-four trails connecting sixteen bus, subway, and commuter rail stations around Boston (see map below). The BMT is a slow transportation infrastructure that connects some of the main public transit nodes of the greater Boston area. The BMT is also an art installation that critiques and displaces the image of Boston, which is still dominated by settler colonial fantasies centered on the Boston peninsula and Downtown Cambridge. In a way, the BMT is an anti-Freedom Trail. It takes its users to the Deer Island colonial concentration camp, to the Middlesex Fells and its racialized “Anglo-Saxon” and “Aryan” landscape , and to the 1 holes punched in the urban fabric by mid-century urban renewal. The BMT gives visibility to indigenous lives, to African-American, Muslim, and Asian-American stories, and maps out different mobilities and spatialities.