Welcome to the Parkland Atlas!

This project features work by students in the First-Year Experience at Pacific Lutheran University, in Parkland, WA. (a suburb of Tacoma).* As a classroom assignment turned web-publication, the Atlas encourages students and readers to think deeply about space and community, and to counter easy assumptions about the places where we live, work and/or go to school.

Inspired by Rebecca Solnit’s Atlas Books (The Infinite City and The Unfathomable City) the projects that make up The Parkland Atlas pursue what Michel de Certeau—in his book The Practice of Everyday Life—calls the “swarming activities” of everyday experience. That is, the daily practices of life that make and re-make the world through their very existence—walking, talking, looking, reflecting, and so on. Through the essay and mapping projects, the student authors challenge themselves (and, by association their readers) to think locally and to unsettle their own expectations about the Parkland community—it’s people, spaces, and places—as well as historical and contemporary relationships between Parkland and the university. Essentially, this is an exercise in reading culture, space, and history in order to ask insightful questions and to pursue unconventional research. We hope it is also informative and enlightening.


*Note: this project is not sponsored by PLU; all original work belongs to the student authors. Other sources—where included—have been cited.