Edmonton Pipelines is a collection of digital maps and literary provocations by four collaborators: Daniel Laforest, Heather Zwicker, Maureen Engel and Russell Cobb.
We use the site-appropriate term “pipelines” (Edmonton is an oil city) to stand for ways of channeling understanding through dense city space. Our goal is to produce a series of interactive digital maps of the city of Edmonton in which the rapidly growing sets of civic data recently made available to the general public will be represented, repositioned, and recontextualized as part of a number of creative and critically-oriented narrative projects. The projects all find a common ground in that they address under-valued and under-represented urban experiences with an eye toward the specific forms these experiences will take in a western Canadian city like Edmonton at the dawn of the new century.
As a post-war, car-centered, mid-sized city, Edmonton represents both a unique and representative case study. Edmonton is unique in that it is North America’s most northern city of over one million inhabitants but it is also representative of type of urban space developed after World War II based on mobility. These are cities that have been either understudied or dismissed as characterless manifestations of “sprawl.” It is precisely this lack that animates this project. Far from being a detriment to this project, being under-storied is a positive boon, since it means Edmonton cityspace is still malleable, amenable to a plethora of stories that intersect in complex ways.
We are most interested in stories that come “from below,” stories that represent everyday people making ordinary lives in a city that does not always make such living easy. Hence you will find projects that take on queer citizenship, Aboriginal land disputes, animal neighbourhoods, and – perhaps most surprisingly – the exigencies of suburban life.

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