Final Essay: DUE May 07

DIY Cartography Final Essay
Due May 7th by 5pm

For our seminar’s final deliverable we would like each of you to craft a 500-1000 word, 3-part essay that address the following prompts. Feel free to augment your text with your sketches, diagrams, and drafts/process work from the course as well as precedent images from other designers or cartographers where relevant.

Through the structure of this seminar we asked each of you to begin with a broad lens through which to study the city.  Each of you zoomed into a topic and explored that topic through a variety of research methods (exploring mixed methods, historic, case study, and ethnographic research),  data types (utilizing geospatial, demographic, photographic, archival maps/documents, and observational data), and visual structures (testing scale, orientation, framing, measures, hierarchy, proximity, isolation, and juxtaposition).   An objective in the course was that through iteratively working with these diverse research methods, data sets, and mapping structures you would explore how mapping can serve as an integral part of a divergent, reflective, and reflexive research process- not just as a form of communication and externalization which happens at the end of a project.  Another objective of the seminar was to explore the value of history in unpacking our present urban landscape’s patterns and speculating on how we as designers might use this new understanding in proposing our future design interventions.

Reflection: Research + Visualization

Over the course of the seminar did the act of visualizing information help construct new knowledge for you- beyond what you found in your research alone?

  • Did mapping provide you with the ability to see patterns that weren’t apparent otherwise from your research?
  • Did the act of mapping steer your research direction and open new directions?
  • Did the act of testing different mapping structures (geo-spatial, temporal, network, observational) and attributes (scale, orientation, framing, etc.) change your understanding of your research? Contradict previous findings or assumptions?

Reflexivity: Transforming Practice

Throughout this course we have discussed how the tool of mapping can help us be reflective and reflexive within our design and research practices.

  • Have the mapping processes introduced and explored in this course changed your approach to your design practice and/or research practice beyond the course?
  • How might you introduce them into your own practice in similar or different ways to how we have done it in this class?
  • Do you anticipate they will change your approach to your field moving forward?

Speculation: How is our history relevant to our present and future?

  • What is the value for designers to understand history of a place?
  • How has your research (and that of your classmates) changed your reading of Raleigh’s urban fabric, social structures, and ecological networks?

Due Date: May 7.