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Positive Tension

The forces at work in a site affect the degree of tension that exists at any given time. The Great Fall draws people into both the area and to the site for aesthetic reasons (its beauty) and because it is a resource (water). People, in turn, replicate this dynamic in a number of ways. They have built a school, factories, and a stadium. Those constructions have added new tensions to the area and altered others. The school pulled on people to remain in the area while the factories drew people in from outside (providing opportunities). Gathering in a stadium allowed for a reprieve, while also permitting the strengthening of relations between certain groups. The proximity of houses to one another has influenced the relationships between those groups as well. creating tension (e.g., from one another’s noise) and reprieve (e.g., from the ability to talk to one another). None of this, however, produced an immutable state of affairs. Central to the operative tension in the area is the social norms at play. Ideologies of exclusion reduced opportunities in the area, as well as overall cohesion in the community. Such ideologies have strained the site’s natural resources (e.g., through who gets access to land) and its artificial ones (e.g., through norms relating to who gets what opportunity at what compensation). Dominant forces at the site, therefore, include resources, both natural and artificial; and norms, especially those relating to access, opportunity, control, and exclusion. Because we aim to create positive tension at the site, we must find a way to harness the site’s resources to establish and promote norms that can endure. My thesis, in a word, is that we can make positive tension at the site by creating communal spaces that people want to inhabit-spaces that possess utility for them. My goal is to replicate the Great Fall: to draw people in on aesthetic grounds because the grounds provide a resource that all can construe as their own.