For decades, Birmingham existed because of and for iron and steel production. As the South’s only truly industrial city, the confluence of geographic, social and economic factors created a peculiar place, too urban and industrial for the South, and too rooted in Southern culture and geography for the North. But as heavy industry fell apart locally, and companies like Sloss downsized and eventually closed their doors, and the Civil Rights Movement took hold nationally, Birmingham’s social cohesion came apart at the seams. The intervening 50 years is the story of Birmingham’s attempt to make sense of white flight, widespread political corruption, and economic malaise.
The Heaviest Corner on Earth is devoted to the critical study of the contemporary city of Birmingham in light of this past. With an emphasis on urbanism and cultural geography, we trace the ways in which the historical patterns of the city continue to influence the city today. Through this process, The Heaviest Corner seeks to inform the discussion of what Birmingham could be through an analysis of what it once was. If we are critical and hard upon the city of Birmingham, it is only because we believe that it has a potential, manifested in its original urban design, that can only be realized if we are as hard upon Birmingham as Socrates was upon Athens.
About the editors:
Brad is a Birmingham native and city planner based in Denver, where he focuses on how open access to information, innovative strategies for communicating complex data, and new ways of engaging communities can improve decision-making in planning contexts. He previously worked for an architecture non-profit in Seattle and graduated from the School of Architecture at The University of Texas-Austin.
Amos is currently pursuing a graduate degree in urban planning from Tufts University in Boston. He holds a bachelor’s in philosophy and English and a master’s degree in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His poetry has been published in Aura and the Birmingham Arts Journal; he is currently at work on several fiction projects and is also a co-founding editor of the White Whale Review, an electronic literary journal. His author website can be found here.