Following the concept of "thick mapping" developed by Presner in Hypercities(2014), our project, for the first time, uncovers temporal and historical dynamics of urban planning, gentrification, and countervailing advocacy efforts in Los Angeles by creating a digital repository that allows users to explore the multiplicity of interwoven narratives, audiovisual materials, and oral history recordings we gather from local archives. It is different from traditional mapping projects such as those of the Mapping Slavery NL or The Atlas of the Conflict Israel-Palestine in that its primary mode of presenting archival materials will not be maps, though maps will be one way of organizing information and for users to navigate through the archives.
In our online repository we collect and store images, videos and oral history footage from the Los Angeles Public Library, UCLA archives and Special Collections, and University of Southern California Special Collections, and other local archives. Our goal with this project is to provide a resource that would first, document the intersections of freeways, racial justice, and urban social movements in an easily-accessible website and second, promote sustained research and activism relating to this topic. Through the Scalar interface, users are able to curate their own path through the repository in a way that is best suited to their needs. For example, they may navigate through a timeline, map, images or scroll through archival records linked to particular subjects arising within an oral history, all the while developing relationships between past and present inhabitations and practices related to shared civic and community space. This history is illuminated through the activation of archival documents, video footage, and oral history interviews with individuals who have been involved in the historical development and issues of access intertwined with Los Angeles highways.