POSTMARKED - VAIL COURT
Each day we walk by silent buildings and lots. Absent landlords, hibernating developers, abandoned lots—their impact as part of the patchwork is subtle but real. Be they eyesore or brownfield, SPACES ARE REACTIVE. Unused spaces trap the vitality of the neighborhoods they surround. For the last 15 years, Vail Court has fallen into disrepair. The 24-unit housing complex is uninhabitable and unsafe as a structure while the rest of the property acts as a weekday parking lot. Attempts have been made to move forward—both by the property owner and by neighbors—but as far as the public knows, there have been no plans for the space since 2005.
This project asks neighbors and frequent passersby to fill in postcards that are mailed directly to the property owners. I was enamored with the weight of postcards: How does the sender’s selection of a design suggest something personal? A postcard has more weight than a petition signature and gives flexibility to write a lot or a little, to illustrate concepts and/or capture them in words. It is a dynamic physical artifact. Some of the postcards are pre-designed to trigger the imagination. Most are blank for senders to dream up other possibilities. Vail Court has been a topic among Cantabrigians for many years. Conversation continues to swirl within the community, but how does the conversation flow back out—beyond the city councilors to the decision-making owners? These postcards capture the lived experience and hopes of those who share Vail Court in common. The postcards and process are documented on a site before being mailed—two cards per day—with an invitation for the owners to respond to the community online.