Field to Garment
Author: Erin Eubanks
Institution: Louisiana Tech University
Instructors: Thomas Provost and Brad Deal
Studio: Atlas / Operative; Undergraduate Architecture; Fall 2020
My project aims to set a precedent for a new fashion manufacturing industry model in America. Current manufacturing depends upon outsourcing labor, materials, and finished products, which has a detrimental impact on the lives of underprivileged workers, on America’s economy, and on the global environment. I will be designing a manufacturing campus in Detroit, Michigan that produces biodegradable garments from its own fields. The campus will provide jobs with ethical working standards, operate by sustainable, clean manufacturing and farming principles, and create garments that prioritize the earth throughout their life cycle.
My project hones in on the Kettering neighbourhood of Detroit. This area has suffered in recent years - many buildings have been abandoned and left in disrepair. It’s also in a low income sector of the city where very few businesses are based. Kettering residents will benefit from this facility as a source of employment, and therefore income, and as a community network. To combat the issue of becoming a big company which alters the neighbourhood for its own benefit, the manufacturing center will place an emphasis of giving back to the Kettering community. Programs that rededicate portions of public land for the actual public, like small parks and community gardens, will be put into place. The capability of growing crops and processing it into garments in a travel radius of less than one hour greatly reduces carbon emissions. Manufacturing centers such as this will become vital as America strives to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.
It is indisputable that human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change. Be it our attachment to abundances of ‘stuff,’ or our non-stop pursuit of ‘more’ in every imaginable way, we pursue excess as a foot-in-mouth badge-of-honor! Dangerous levels of excess cause many documented upsets to the health of our planet; as Bataille says, our disregard for the material basis of our life still causes us to err in a serious way. If our behavior is left unmitigated, what will this do to our frontline communities? How can we reconcile our technological capabilities with the need to zero greenhouse gasses? Can we envision a future without compromise to systemic injustices? What does it take to support the health, wealth, and stability of our environment? This quarter, we are participating in the Landscape Architecture Foundation’s Superstudio initiative in which allied design studios simultaneously work to translate the goals of the Green New Deal – decarbonization, justice, and jobs – into actionable design projects across the fields of urban design, landscape urbanism, urban ecology, social practice, architecture, public policy, etc. We will draw out the entangled relationship between things, places, and systems. We will consider the deep-time implications of matter, energy, industrial & manufactured goods, etc. We will learn from places like Centralia, the Rust Belt, or the various forests across the USA. We will interrogate existing systems and systemic injustices, be it social, racial, agricultural, economic, immaterial, or omnipresent. In every case, we will foreground the concept of justice in our spatial propositions. Atlas / Operative tags: climate change, urbanism, landscape, ecology, human activity, anthropocene, architecture, regions, pockets of density, nature, behavior, mobility, transport, scale, atlas, narrative, storytelling, home, homeless, jobs, labor, profit, entropy, indemnity, reciprocity, spatial justice, equity, community, mapping, volatility, collectives, communication, dynamic factors-at-play in public life today.