Visceral approaches in planning practices : a study of neighborhood centers in Austin, TX

Rakes, Kayla Renee
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Bodies are a social construction with expected trajectories based on their physical, social, and economic positions, and planning has often been a tool to control bodies in public space without considering these diverse experiences. Visceral methodologies use embodied practices to collect data concerning feelings and emotions, which can give depth and clarity to socio-spatial issues (Sweet & Ortiz Escalante, 2015). As the 2012 Imagine Austin comprehensive plan is being implemented, this study tests a visceral approach to investigate the relationship between the physical social spaces, and how people using the spaces feel internally, i.e. sensations, moods, physical states of being. Individual experiences and feelings are collected and analyzed to understand the economic, social, and political landscapes of three Neighborhood Centers as their physical landscapes change. As planners utilizing visceral methodologies, this study’s hyperlocal evaluation gives insight into how visceral methodologies can be used in the planning context and illuminates larger implications for the planning practice.