Choose your mission:
- You are a government certification agency charged with ensuring that architectural design and urban planning are sensitive to the needs of (1) the agoraphobic (those who fear crowds and potential entrapment), (2) the misophonic (those who are triggered by particular sounds), or (3) the elderly and mobility -challenged. Explore a circumscribed environment: the University Center, the intersection of 5th Ave and 14th Street, or some other nearby location. You migth: note sites / passages / zones / etc that would not be appropriate for your constituents; and sketch out recommended circulation routes, work spots, socialization areas, etc., that might be particularly appealing to them. Your challenge is to create a means of cartographic communication that conveys the importance of these concerns to various stakeholders: activists, city administrators, planners, contractors, etc.
- Your international student-exchange group has just time-machined in from 40,000 BCE Eurasia. You can’t read, you’re not familiar with modern technology, and, honestly, all the conventions of urban living are pretty baffling to you. You’re Neanderthals — literally. How do you create a map to help your successors find their way from the Union Square subway to the University Center cafeteria?
- You’re nominating Union Square in a global competition for the Earth’s Happiest Places (…or “Safest Places,” or “Most Legible Places,” or “Most Inclusive Places”). You must include a map with your submission. How do you compellingly capture the Park’s superlative qualities?
As you create your maps, you might draw from today’s readings in considering:
- What particular paths, edges, nodes, landmarks, districts, or other “species” of space might guide your constituents’ way, as they did for Lynch’s research participants?
- How might your subjects’ navigation become a social activity, as it is for the Perfect City Working Group?
- How might your constituents, like the Polynesian wayfinders, use the stars — or some other architecturally-, infrastructurally-, or environmentally ingrained markers or cues — to find their way around? How might they rely on their own spatial memories?
- Do they, like London’s black cab drivers, have strategies for finding the “shortest and most elegant line between points” or employing other navigational rubrics or schema?
- How might your constituents denote those places best avoided? Why are certain sites, routes, or regions topoi non grata? What are the ethical implications of “blacklisting” particular terrains, and how can we grapple with those concerns through our cartographic codes and aesthetics?
- What other strategies might folks employ to make the building or the larger terrain “imageable” and “legible”?
Try sketching out some rough maps representing your cartographic subject(s)’ “sense of place.” You might draw inspiration from Lynch’s maps, but you’re free to develop your own legends and visual language. Consider also integrating or adapting some of Lynch’s other methods – like photography and inventories – or inventing your own.