Monthly Archives: October 2009

Reading

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Filed under research & consultation

An indication of some of the research reading going on behind the scenes. As you can see it’s a mix of theory, exploring what others have done and trying to keep an arts perspective. The latter is important as there’s always a temptation to get so absorbed in the cartographic process or the ‘what if’ dreaming of a grand wayfinding system for the town that we lose the unique flavour of the project. That’s why Richard Long and Hamish Fulton are currently in there and also Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy which I’m planning to re-read -  I seem to remember there’s a fantastic story in which journeys are walked in order to spell out a message.

Most engaging at the moment however is Kitchen and Blades’ Cognition of Geographic Space. The first half of the book compiles some often disparate research on cognitive mapping in an attempt to draw up some conclusive theories. It’s interesting to be reading this as we lead the workshops and see some of these theories in action as people describe navigating the town. i’m particularly intrigued with the alternative to the ‘landmarks’ and ‘routes’ theory which most intelligent wayfinding/map systems (such as Legible London) currently follow – that of navigating via snapshots of vistas. i think the young people especially describe journeys in this way.

what can you see?

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Filed under research & consultation

from here you can see the rotunda, an independent gallery, the grand hotel and a ‘secret’ bridge! workshop walk 24-10-09

Journey’s and jammie dodgers

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Filed under research & consultation


Map based on three consecutive journeys planned with pupils from The Woodland School


Walking the route, spotting the cultural places


Members of the Civic Society ponder the instructions they’d give to help someone get from one point to another


The journeys


Discovering local, historical and official place names and boundaries

Workshops

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Filed under research & consultation

Today we have the first of our our workshops with local groups. First up are the Civic Society, people from the Renaissance Town Team and pupils and staff from Woodlands School. On Saturday we’re working with tots and parents from Skylark Day Nursery and hopefully a local Girl Guides group. We also have the renaissance Urban Space Group pencilled in for sometime soon and an event with creative coast network on 10th November.

We have a few ‘tasks’ for the adult groups based around cognitive mapping in which we hope to discover some of the common landmarks and routes people use in navigating Scarborough – we’ll be asking them to take a mental journey without the aid of maps and describe the route. We’re also keen to develop a picture of how people identify or name the various areas of town – official and historical identifiers plus colloquial names. We’ll be doing this from memory and then with some de-labelled maps to scribble on.

Workshops with younger people involve a challenge to see if they can work out how to get from one place to another (using photos, above, as prompts), a walk around some less-travelled parts of town and a quiz to see what they remembered. There’ll be nice things to sup and nibble on for adults and young folks alike! Participants will also have opportunity to ask questions about the project, it’s aims, philosophy and our findings and ideas so far.

Legible London

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Filed under research & consultation

Our research trip to London was time well-spent. It was an opportunity get an inside view on the project and our questions for Kristy, the project’s communications officer, were answered candidly and with enthusiasm. We tested out the pilot scheme in Oxford Circus area for ourselves and compared with the current signage around the South Bank area which is earmarked as a functioning pilot scheme by the end of the year.

The day has prompted much conversation and thinking about our own, somewhat smaller scale project, not least the emphasis in London on ‘villages’ and neighbourhoods as a means of linking areas of the city in peoples minds. We clearly don’t have the same problem to solve in Scarborough but are thinking that a similar neighbourhoods approach will help people recognise what exists in different parts of the town beyond their usual routes, not least for visitors mostly focussed on the seaside aspects of Scarborough.

I’ll blog some more Legible London-prompted thoughts along with images over the next week.

Treading carefully

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Filed under research & consultation

Dorcas and I are looking forward to meeting Kristy at Transport for London on Wednesday to talk about the Legible London project. Keen to make the most of the opportunity to understand some of the factors that have influenced the development of the project I’ve been mulling over the sort of questions we might get chance to ask.

One of those will do doubt be as to how the key buildings and labelling of shops etc are chosen. I’m intrigued to whether they come from user research (ie. the most identifiable shops according to steet surveys), if they’re chosen by retail sq ft or visibility of building or even branding. This partly rises out of experience of a map that we produced a couple of years ago which got one retail outlet owner asking the criteria by which their retail outlet wasn’t identified on the map. We’ll be road-testing (or, as Legible London is aimed at pedestrians, path-testing) Legible London ourselves whilst in the capital to see if those choice seem intuitive and help our personal navigation.

[image: detail from the map of South Cliff Gardens including the sea front at Scarborough. Original drawing by Richard Flowitt]

Getting it 'Out There'

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Filed under progress

Just had a meeting with Paul Grahamslaw from Lighthouse Media & PR to talk about increasing public awareness of CHART Scarborough and to decide how to get more local people on board through the local press. We’ve come up with a plan (always a good thing). If you want to find out more about how we work, drop me an email: dorcas@chartscarborough.com.

Arts Council thumbs up!

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Filed under progress

Had a meeting with our Arts Council Officer on Thursday to keep him updated about what’s happening with the project. Positive response to our plans….