As a project for my writing class at American University, I was asked to go out and explore D.C. in search of areas/common places/locations and try to understand the “Complex Local Systems” in which they happen to be in. The task was to map a “common place” and understand the location as thoroughly as possible: culture, history, physical surroundings, and social aspect such as housing, income level, crime rates, etc. Through my adventures scouring the city, it wasn’t hard to come across the infamous “14th and U street” corridor. Once a street famous for drug running and prostitutes, to then harboring many of the immigration into the city, has now turned into a vibrant, young, rich, and “chic” place for those in search of a little excitement in the nations capital.
As I walked along 14th Street i came across a small, un-gentrified location, that had dark windows, called, “Lalibela Ethiopian Restaurant”. Amongst the abundant buildings undergoing renovation, the rising apartment complexes, and the opening of new expensive and trendy restaurants, this place seemed authentic. It felt as if it was the only place nearby that wasn’t trying overcharge plates for the sake of crowed selection, and wasn’t advertising anything new or upcoming to the neighborhood or the restaurant itself. Lalibela is truly like walking into a little Ethiopia, the crowed you can find in this small place, within a rapidly changing neighborhood that is focused on attracting young affluent individuals, one can only wonder how Lalibela has managed to remain full, at low prices, without changing its original, not so fancy and chic, exterior and interior look, that drives the new crowed migrating to the area insane, and not for the good of the restaurant.
Below you can find a Link to my “Project: Mapping Common Places” and a description of the train of thought that led to this project in “Project: Rhetorical Analysis of Text”. As well as further extensions to digital archives, built environment descriptions (Lalibela), and listed Annotated Bibliography.