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COMING SOON: THE PATHS WE TAKE

Ellen M Bozman Government Center, Arlington, Virginia

Arlington is a city of networks, the WMTA underground train system, the focus on New Urbanism that resulted in an interconnected system of transportation including multi-modal paths for pedestrians and bikes, as well as Ronald Reagan Airport which is within the city itself. These paths serve to connect Arlington residents as well as the city to the surrounding area and beyond - physically, socially, and metaphorically. A community that is composed of residents who often remain for short durations, it is in constant flux, always open for new innovation and the opportunity to reflect the dynamics of this constantly changing populace in its physical environments. What then are the identifying traits of Arlington – those elements – visual, historical, or otherwise that make it home to so many? What are the stories that make up this place? What are the things that brought people here and why and what Arlington lives within them forever?

The central artwork at Ellen Bozman Center will take the form of a suspended composition of these numerous interconnected networks, a kinetic array of overlapping paths that depict both the physical connections that make up the city that serves as a framework in which to articulate narratives collected through community engagement. This process took place over the course of several months and included an online survey hosted by the Arlington County website as well as in -person engagement at the Bozman Center and the Arlington County Fair. Participants were offered a map with the instructions:

  • Please draw a special route that you currently take or have taken through Arlington County. The route should be to a place that you find especially meaningful. Examples area park, place of worship, restaurant, friend’s house, bike trail, bench, etc.

  • How do you travel to your favorite place? On foot, On bike, In a car, On scooter, On a bus, On the Metro, By plane, Other.

  • Please tell us your stories, memories, and experiences of this special route.

Together, we were able to gather over 400 responses which were then used to form a composite map of these collective paths. Along with the narratives, they served as base to identify the common crossing points and locations that together create a collective perception of this dynamic place.

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