Learning From South Phoenix

Who am I?

My name is Rachel Gregoire. I am 20 years old and live in Glendale, Arizona. I am a sociology student at Arizona State University West. Besides studying, my life currently consists of working with Young Life, organizing mission trips for New Life Community Church, and spending time with my loved ones. If you would like to know more about me, please feel free to send me an e-mail.


My Memory Map

At the beginning of this class, I drew a memory map of my childhood home. The following is the explanation I wrote after completing it:

I grew up in a small, growing housing development tucked into the Estrella Mountains. I lived on Dreamy Drive—an appropriate name as I reminisce of my childhood there. My block was filled with kids both younger and older, but most of them were in my class at school. We would spend our afternoons and vacations either enjoying each other’s company or resolving our social “dramas”. Just north of our houses, was a lake surrounded by grass and a pathway. For us, it was an oasis tucked into the dry and rugged desert. Just east of our houses, was a wash. It was filled with limitless adventures. A new fort, a fascinating creature, or a strange type of rock was among the many curiosities to be discovered. I drew my memory map of this world—a square mile that holds so many fond memories.

As I drew my map, I became aware of how significant the urban landscape was to my experience as a child. Many of my experiences, such as playing in the wash or walking around the lake, would not have occurred had we lived in an area with a different landscape. In fact, I found that many of my memories were just as tied to the surroundings as they were to the people who were with me. The features of the land, the arrangement of the houses, and even the property values had a huge role in shaping the social environment of the neighborhood. It influenced the type of people who moved there and our interactions with one another.

In drawing this simple map, I was not only able to enjoy fond memories, but I realized how the environment shaped many of my experiences. This makes me question the affects of different urban environments on the people who live there.

Return to My Home Page   Contact: rachel.gregoire@asu.edu