Historic Places Merced (Arches)
This presentation shows the advancement of Historic Places Merced project during the second year of the LUCE fellowship (2020). Historic Places Merced is a community-based research focusing on documenting Built Heritage in the area of Merced, CA. The project investigates the relationship between people, identity, communities, and places in regards to the Built Environment.
While collecting data on the number of public service buildings in Merced, approximately 59 churches were identified in Merced via Google Maps search results. Comparatively, 24 schools and 18 community clinics were also counted using Google Maps, suggesting a predominance of churches within the City of Merced. This study seeks to investigate the role of churches in Merced neighborhoods through resident attitudes on the accessibility of churches and the memories attached to these churches. By examining the role of churches in Merced’s community and the significance behind their predominance, it is possible to not only examine how these factors contribute to Merced’s social identity, but future steps can also be taken to bridge the gap between the City of Merced and UC Merced through church-based programs or activities.
The historic building survey of the City of Merced started in 1977 and it was retaken in 1984 with a more comprehensive survey including architectural descriptions, major alterations, and general data about the building ownership. However, there are no images and no record of the changes in these buildings since 1985 when the survey was finished. It is important to keep track of the preservation of these buildings, however, one of the challenges is the extensive list of building addresses. Therefore is interesting to explore less expensive ways using tools such as automation, web scraping, and convolutional neural networks to acquire and analyze data on a big scale.