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The Edmonton Pipelines Project from Edmonton Pipelines on Vimeo.

Edmonton Pipelines is a collection of digital maps and literary provocations by five professors (Daniel Laforest, Heather Zwicker, Maureen Engel and Russell Cobb) and student researchers (Erika Luckert, Joyce Yu, Samia Pedraca, Luciano Frizzera, Anna Sajecki, Katherine Krohn). We use the site-appropriate term “pipelines” (Edmonton is an oil city) to stand for ways of channeling understanding through dense city space. The main objective of the project is to construct a prototype for an interactive digital framework that makes meaning of the open data that the city of Edmonton makes freely available. “Open” in this context means two things: first, it is freely available; second, it is available in multiple non-proprietary formats that permit users to decide what to do with it. We will use this information about urban life and community development, together with theories about the transformation of urban life from the past twenty or so years so as to engage scholars and citizens with an interactive platform for urban storytelling.

Very much a work in progress, this space tracks our emerging projects. If you scroll through the Pipelines/Projects tab above, you will find a range of ideas in varying states of completion. If you look to the “Pipelines Network” link to the right, you’ll be redirected to the separate websites of our most robust Pipelines.  Some are high-tech, some are low-tech; some are primarily cartographic, some are primarily narrative; some deal with the city centre, some with the suburbs. All of these projects focus on the western Canadian city of Edmonton, a strangely under-narrated metropolis of a million people. As a post-war, car-centered, mid-sized city, Edmonton represents both a unique and representative case study. Edmonton is unique in that it is North America’s most northern city of over one million inhabitants but it is also representative of type of urban space developed after World War II based on mobility. These are cities that have been either understudied or dismissed as characterless manifestations of “sprawl.” It is precisely this lack that animates this project. Far from being a detriment to this project, being under-storied is a positive boon, since it means Edmonton cityspace is still malleable, amenable to a plethora of stories that intersect in complex ways.

We are most interested in stories that come “from below,” stories that represent everyday people making ordinary lives in a city that does not always make such living easy. Hence you will find projects that take on queer citizenship, Aboriginal land disputes, animal neighbourhoods, and – perhaps most surprisingly – the exigencies of suburban life.

Each project tab includes a description, method, scope, platform and authorship.