Monday, November 10, 2008

The Necessary Jackson Discussion

Today that BIG EAR was featured in the Clarion Ledger.

Our letter to the editor:

What’s wrong with Jackson? It’s unsafe. It’s boring. Its politics are divisive. It’s hot and humid. There’s nothing to do after 5pm. Underneath the misconceptions and overstated rhetoric lies a truth: Jackson and the perception of Jackson are in need of improvement. Since the 1980’s, population has been declining. Suburban sprawl has increased the size and wealth of suburbs, but the city itself has seen limited development.

The condition of Jackson is not unique; similar cities all across America suffer from the same deadness. Just like many other cities, Jackson has great potential. What do we do? Listen. The typical master planning exercise often comes from a problem-solution approach. Experts are brought in to propose answers to problems that often aren’t understood. Instead of proposing solutions, we are listening to the problems. We are finding the trajectories that make up Jackson, specifically the State Street corridor. We are uncovering the past and present in order to better understand the complex situation in which we participate.

We are That BIG EAR. That BIG EAR is a group of 5th year architecture students from Mississippi State University located at 509 East Capitol Street, and we are in the process of an urban analysis of the evolution of Jackson, MS and the State Street corridor. We want to know what the community thinks. We want to hear stories about your experiences in Jackson. We want to hear about Jackson’s past. We want to know what you think is good and bad about Jackson now. We want to hear how you think Jackson should develop. Let us know what you think by joining in the discussion at our blog ( Take our surveys. Speak out about your city and keep your eyes peeled for big ears.

Written by Bryan Norwood, that BIG EAR

Click here to see our letter on the Clarion Ledger website.

Can architects solve crime?

"What would it take for you to move back to Jackson?"
Answer: "Navy least 12 of them" - anonymous survey respondent

In our survey we ask questions about the main problem Jackson faces...almost 70% of Jacksonians who have responded have said "crime" and "bad leadership" are the main contributors to the current perception of Jackson. As an architect, these two problems create an interesting predicament. What can an architect do to address these problems?

Social implications of what we design as architects are just as (if not more) important that the aesthetics. No one will inhabit the buildings we design if they don't feel safe.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tell us the history of Jackson!

We have been getting some great feedback from all of you and we are hearing some stories that are unwrapping the "real" Jackson. For those of you we haven't heard from, here's your chance!

Post a story here that you think explains or contributed to the development of Jackson as it is today.