Urban Palpation


Palpation is a medical term defined as a medical examination with the use of hands for inspection.  “Could you cough for me?” says the doctor.  After viewing a TEDtalk on the definition and value of a person’s self, I discovered congruence between physiological vocabulary and thought processes to the way we have been discovering how to “see the Metropolis” in studio this semester.  I will focus on how the relations between physiological vocabulary and the section of our studio dubbed “Structure and Anomaly.”

Everyday, we wake up with our memories, knowledge, and experiences intact.  This may be seen as our internal structure.  In the metropolis of Cook County, the internal structure is the grid.  This grid is namely a square mile and provides the objective for the city.  It has been the prime organizational infrastructure that aids in the determination of properties, zoning, boundaries, etc.  Yet after “palpating” the metropolis through analogous exploration with pen and paper we see that there is a vast amount of anomaly.  Interestingly, it is typically spread evenly throughout and does not appear to be biased in any direction.  It is the same in the northern and southern sections of Cook County: East and West.

These anomalies, like all anomaly, cannot exist without a point of reference.  Therefore, the grid can be said to be the objective, the non-judgmental, non-biased, reference point for the anomaly to occur within, similar to our brains.  It is a platform for our experiences, choices, knowledge to be contained within.  The grid is Man’s platform for the same, but in physical form.  Therefore, it would not be a stretch to say that anomaly is the conscious of the metropolis.  The physical form of culture and collective thought and collective experience.  And if without anomaly, or the city’s conscious, there would be urban anesthesia.

This then begs the question of what makes up these anomalies?  In the metropolis of Cook County, it is primarily nature preserves, transportation, industry, and nearly everything manmade.  They are the physical forms of the commodification of nature, or “Second Nature.”  Anomalies are the insights into human beings relation to nature.  They beg the question what do they do?  What can we learn from them?  what does this say about our collective perspectives of nature?

Come to our studio review in center core Crown on Wednesday at 9 and see!


Artificial turf being installed at Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Center.

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