Christine White

I am looking for another way to assess the value of land. To do so, I need the help of participants to highlight and consider the emotional sound quality of their residences in such peculiar times. To do so, I repurpose the city of Montreal’s economic forms commonly used to create the property assessment role. With a new approach to these forms,I ask “How can land value be expressed beyond currency?” Can extracting value from land be less about property and more about reciprocity? What are the qualities and feelings associated with one’s residence, and can this be measured?


After being introduced to the financial mechanisms of real estate, I was curious to understand more on fiscal urbanism and the role of the city’s assessment of land value. City assessment forms are filled with rows and columns of predetermined variables, represented through numbers and currency. More specifically, Montreal’s form “Statement of Income and Expenses of the Immovable” is designed to assess specific physical elements such as the number of rooms, the building’s condition or operating expenses. These are all tangible and measurable characteristics that can easily be quantified into monetary value. But within the confines of these forms I see a missing value—fluid, intangible and perhaps immeasurable: our emotional experience with land.


The main task I set out to accomplish was to avoid binary, linear and numerical representation via form. It is difficult to escape the grid, not only technically but also epistemologically. It is also worth mentioning that this exploration took place in my own home during the COVID-19 pandemic. As others stayed home too, so did their cars. I noticed a huge difference in the ambient sound of my home. As urban life paused, so did the machines that pound the earth to build the next tallest skyscraper. Because I am spending much more time at home now, I notice a change in sound quality and, as the city sleeps, so can I. This is what inspired me to create my own version of land value assessment. With this two-part form, I encourage others to reflect on the sensations that arise in relation to what they hear in their homes.

The first section “Statement of Sounds and Emotions of Residence” includes guidelines on how to assess and record the sounds that arise in one's living space, along with the emotions associated. This includes recording variables such as frequency, magnitude and duration. The second part, “Visualization of Sounds and Emotions of Residence'' offers guidelines on how to translate the recorded experience into data-visualization inspired by the work of Giorgia Lupi and Stefanie Posavec in their book “Dear Data”. This form is meant to encourage others to go beyond the graph and into something a little less finite. Perhaps it is these in-between spaces on the form that allow us to depict value that exceeds currency.