In my reading, I could make a link between how the production of place through race is arguably emblematic of how non-white populations become symbolic of 'pollution'/'toxicity' thereby diminishing the liveability of a place. A comparative analysis of marketing of cities and demographics can contribute to determing the racialisation of that liveability placemaking discourse. I am not really sure how the text about climate action connects in. I find the ties bewteen the different elements in the image somewhat vague. Or I am simply missing something. Sorry.
The image, at its very least, makes you stare at the uncomfortable ease at which toxic substances, like plastic products, infilitrate spaces and ecosystems that are at the same time understood to be "protected" from the extensions of human activity.
This visualization and caption suggest that by manipulating public environmental datasets, it can be learned how toxics share multiple geographical points of intensity in the region. These intensities include many forms of clustered harmful substances which undoubtably combine in the atmosphere, ground, and water, in long-term exposures for the surrounding residents and communities. The map raises a number of questions about the knowledge production of toxic emissions, and how a public’s “right to know” can or cannot lead to meaningful forms of environmental justice depending on how it is combined with various forms of technoscientific data within the limits of which types of data are available. It speaks powerfully about the intergenerational embodiment of toxicants, revealing how by 1990 in Los Angeles, the absence of preventative approaches to exposure resulted in widespread forms of state-sanctioned, and racialized embodiment, of toxics.
This visualization parallels how PM 2.5 is trapped in the semi-permeability of a HEPA filter to the porosity of the lung organs, as well as the rest of bodily tissues. By extracting the lung from the body, its significance for human life is foregrounded without markers of race, class or gender, which creates a compelling contrast to other residues of colonial rule.
The visualization shows how intensities of toxic contamination are treated as exceptions, and as “sites” to be remediated, rather than as sources of contamination which can migrate into water systems, the atmosphere, and into many lifeforms. It raises important questions about the consequences of scales of attention paid to places of the highest concentrations of contamination, rather than other distributions of toxicity which impact the surrounding community. Contributing a visualization of an entire city that is toxic allows for the scale of corporate toxic manufacturing and supply chains, such as GM, to be further queried. It shows the emplacement and displacement of these corporate forms of contamination on the earth.
This visualization shows how different conceptions of social and material toxicants play a pivotal role in strategic narrativizations of community. The opaque notions of blight and urban renewal are used to justify violent actions against raced classed and gendered tenants—thus, toxicity becomes a rationalization for oppression. Whether its actual existence is real or imagined, the supposed need for building material “renewal” obscures other violent motivations for tenant displacement.
The use of words like, "defunct" "postindustrial" "long history" against this image of a man in a wetsuit, his face covered in slag, renders the question of time and timelessness critical for making sense of the toxic histories of shadow places. This visualization raises so many interesting questions for further exploration.
I really appreciate the historical contextualization provided in the choice of visualizations and captions here. It almost seems to write against spectacle... or at least, its general privileging in discourses on toxicity and disaster. Slow violence is certainly relevant here, although I don't feel like that fully encompasses the phenomemon you're getting at in Flint.
These images strikingly demonstrate how there is no one way to "know" toxicity - it is experienced from a wide variety of perspectives and scales. It also can rarely be contained... it leaks, no matter our efforts to stop it.
That toxic places can refer to an absence of something as well as a presence of something.