Salem Public Space Project is a collective effort to engage residents in understanding and reimagining local public spaces. Past Stories, Present Narratives, Future Possibilities lead to Actions in PublicSpace.
This site is a virtual space to get to know real places in Salem, MA. Places are intriguing, big, small, connecting, alienating, changing, spatial, social, artificial, natural, scary, comforting, complex human constructions. Yes, places are complex.
But, how do you get to know a place? Often it happens without your realization, and soon you know it like the back of your hand. Other times, knowing a place takes effort, but there are tools to help: maps, photos, descriptions, signs, GPS, phone apps, your own eyes, and the friendly residents you may encounter.
The members of the Salem Public Space Project (SPSP) seek to know the public spaces of Salem with the help of all these tools, and especially residents’s dynamic participation. SPSP performs actions, documents, gathers, organizes, and analyzes input to curate the Past Stories, Present Narratives and Future Possibilities of Salem’s Public Spaces – which are, in fact, Salem itself.
It is no easy feat to describe a place or capture its essence. Each public space is unique, but also holds the DNA of the greater area. And just as each place has some autonomy, it is also or interconnected with other public spaces, streets, waterways and infrastructures of the greater city, the region and the world. People are also connected to these spaces; each person using each space also has a particular perspective. In addition, these images change over time, as do both the people and the space itself.
But why document these public spaces? Because they change. And because, the better we know each space, the more meaningful we can make the change.
If you have thoughts, photos, maps, clarifications, criticisms, contributions, ideas, additions or corrections to a particular public space in town, contact us or email at salempublicspaceproject[at]gmail[dot]com.
Salem Public Space Project is created and led by Claudia Paraschiv, a public artist, urbanist, and registered architect in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. After practicing architecture in Los Angeles, she completed her graduate studies in urbanism at MIT, for which she prepared a thesis on Los Angeles’ Public Space as understood through the lens of farmers markets; since then, she has became irrevocably committed to the study of public space. She led a middle school class in the exploration of the immediate environment in Roxbury, Boston. She has worked in Barcelona, Spain exploring the role of communities in determining their physical environment: Public Space and Participation in Fort Pienc, Barcelona is documented at MIT’s CoLabRadio. She has taught a seminar in public space at Wentworth Institute of Technology: Approaches to Public Space, and most recently teaches at the Boston Architectural College. Claudia has recently been appointed to the newly created Public Art Commission in Salem. Contact Claudia with any questions, inquiries, ideas for collaboration: salempublicspaceproject[at]gmail[dot]com