Transecological Imaginations: Spatial Theory and Transformative Practices


Transecological Imaginations is conceptualized as a working group that bridges spatial theory and transformative practices to imagine equitable futures. Transecological ethics is an embodied relation to place which is attuned to histories of difference in all its forms, especially the ones that challenge binaries such as nature/culture, female/male, etc. This framework aims to resist a planetary future centered on anthropic exceptionalism that hierarchizises life according to colonial, racial, and gendered forms of violence and perpetuates precarious life. We attempt to conjure a postanthropic vision to build a future where justice dwells.

We will focus on a building at the intersection of Turk and Taylor streets, in the Tenderloin neighborhood, San Francisco. This crossroads was the site of a queer grassroots uprising against police brutality, the Compton’s Cafeteria Riot of 1966. The riot at Compton’s was spearheaded by street youth and gender-nonconforming people three years before the Stonewall Riot in New York. Today, the three-story building is operated as a “halfway house” by GEO Group, a for-profit prison company. Our goal is to research the material necessary to collaboratively envision a speculative design proposal that decarcerates the historic building and resurfaces its legacy of resistance.

Transecological Imaginations Events

3-23-2-23 Public Forum Flyer

(Re)Imagining Trans Anti-Carceral Resistance in the Tenderloin

3.23.2023 | 5:30 - 8:30 PM | CRG Research Working Group Event |In Person w/hybrid audience - 121 Bauer Wurster Hall (Gallery)

(Re)Imagining Trans Anti-Carceral Resistance in the Tenderloin

Join the Turk and Taylor Initiative for a forum and conversation on coalition building centered around the future of the Compton's Cafeteria building at 101-121 Taylor St in San Francisco's Tenderloin District. This event is open to the public and includes space at the end for Q+A, where the audience is encouraged to ask questions.

This landmark incident, known as the Compton's Cafeteria Riot, is now recognized as a turning point towards militant resistance in the LGBTQ community, particularly trans people. It occurred three years before the Stonewall Riot in New York, which typically marks the beginning of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. This event had been lost to time until historian Susan Stryker researched and uncovered its importance in the Emmy-award-winning documentary, Screaming Queens, The Riot of Compton's Cafeteria (2005). The building's historical significance has recently been nominated as a local landmark and a National Register historic site. However, in Stryker's more recent article, "At the Crossroads of Turk and Taylor: Resisting Carceral Power in San Francisco's Tenderloin," winner of the Arcus/Places Prize for Gender, Sexuality, and the Built Environment, she explains how the building that housed Compton's Cafeteria at street level is now operated as a "halfway house" and owned by GEO Group, one of the largest for-profit prison corporations. She argues that the exact mechanism of police harassment that was happening in the 1960s is still operating in the same location.  Learn more.

This event is presented in conjunction with We Are The Voices, a Mellon Foundation-funded project for Higher Learning, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, the Center for Race & Gender, and The Joan E. Draper Architectural History Research Endowment at the College of Environmental Design, and UC Berkeley Arts + Design.