Integrative seminar migrate – urban analysis and methodology


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Integrative seminar migrate – urban analysis and methodology

  1. 1. 1 Integrative seminar migrate – urban analysis and methodology essay Done by: Sarah Lee Shan Yun The definition of mapping is ambiguous in itself. Whether it is about saving memories, deciphering information for another use or for the mere act of collecting, maps are used for different reasons and to differing conclusions. In the context of this project, mapping is a way to consolidate experiences and to summarize it in a single visual. Mapping does not have to be strictly geographical, have a subject or key. It is a way to identify a space with an idea that is unique and individual to itself. The mapping method employed draws from the subject of tourism. Specifically, portraying each division or subdivision of New York City usingbrochures. The front of the brochure is a design work and will include names of 3 to 4 iconic places within each neighborhood, which were mapped methodically as the migration up Broadway was conducted. For example, in figure 1, the following placeswere listed: The New York Stock Exchange, Trinity Church, The Federal Hall National Memorial and City Hall Park. The journey of migration up Broadway is, therefore, captured in ‘snapshots’ of specific neighborhoods (as seen in figure 1, which represents Wall Street or the financial district). At the end of the traverse, all of the brochures will be Figure 1 – Design for Wall Street
  2. 2. 2 consolidated chronologically to create a master ‘map’ – a collage of the journey up Broadway. Figure 2 – Map of Broadway Segments 1. Wall Street (Battery Place to Canal Street) 2. Chinatown (Canal Street to 14th Street) 3. Union Square (14th Street to 34th Street) 4. Times Square (34th Street to 50th Street) 5. Columbus Circle (50th Street to 61st Street) 6. The Upper West Side (61st Street to 116th Street) 7. Harlem (116th Street to 170th Street) 8. Inwood (170th Street to 207th Street) A total of 8 brochures will be created on the 8 neighborhoods we have selected.
  3. 3. 3 Within each brochure, historical information on the specific iconic sites is included, as well as details on how they help shape and contribute aesthetic value to their current climates. With the proliferation of this knowledge, New Yorkers can become more aware of the idiosyncrasy of the many places that make up New York City, perhaps promoting more tourism as well as a sense of consciousness of one’s surroundings. On the subject of data collection and research methods, a more qualitative approach was applied. Information is usually observed through the senses (sight, sound, smell, etc.) as we ‘migrated’ up Broadway first hand, thus more primary data was collected through notes and pictures (see figure 3a and 3b). An empirical data collection method was an essential part of the process, as more unexpected information could be gathered – for example, the symbols used on Chinese shop signs in Chinatown, or the mannerisms of people walking in Times Square. The data Figure 3a – Images of iconic places, Chinatown
  4. 4. 4 collected was also more descriptive, rather than mathematical, as the end goal of the project was to generate a creative design work or campaign.
  5. 5. 5 Figure 3b – Handwritten recording of experience at migration sites
  6. 6. 6 On the other hand, some quantitative data was gathered as well, although notably less with respect to qualitative data. Information on specific racial population sizes and income levels lent a beneficial perspective when trying to section or identify the different neighborhoods of the city (see figure 41). Furthermore, this information gave us ideas on why and how a neighborhoodhas evolved to be what it is today, lending to the historical aspect of our project. Secondary data in the form of internet sources and historical literature was also crucial to the development of the project, specifically in the understanding of the iconic sites. The goal was to sift out information that answered the questions: why 1"Urban research maps." The changing city at the sweep of your mouse: Block by block demographic changes mapped across New York, 2000 to 2010. Center for Urban Research, The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), n.d. Web. 19 Oct 2013. <>. Figure 4 – Block-by-block demographic changes mapped across New York 2010
  7. 7. 7 does this place look like the way it does? How is the aesthetic of a building influenced by its history? Following the research, a short write-up on each iconic place is included in the final pamphlet of the neighborhood, along with images and a map of the sites themselves. For example, Licoln center was designed in the 1950s to 1960s as part of an urban renewal project, with the purpose of becoming a cultural hub for fine art and performance2. Thus its design was constructed around the ideas of sophistication, refinement and meticulous detail and was inspired by Michelangelo's Campidoglio in Rome3. Lincoln center, as an iconic site, thus contributes to the majestic and cultivated aesthetic of the upper-west side. 2Roth, Leland M. (2001). American Architecture: A History. Boulder, Colo.: 3Magnet, Myron. n. page. <>. Figure 5 – Architectural planning process for the Lincoln Center inspired by Michelangelo's Campidoglio in Rome
  8. 8. 8 Moving on to the more aesthetic aspect of the project, several representational methods that were employed during the creation of the brochure covers will be discussed. Since the medium selected was 2-dimensional image designs, an abundance of visual cues and details could be employed. This also allows the viewer to differentiate and distinguish one poster from another as the visual detail creates the main contrast between them. They make each brochure individual and unique to the specific neighborhood of interest, thus creating an array of differing aesthetics and subsequently, a ‘collage’ of the city. Firstly the use of symbols and imagery played a significant role in the designs. For example, the use of the iconic Union Square subway station in the Union Square brochure design makes it instantly identifiable (see figure 6). Furthermore, the choice of hand-drawn sketches of the subway station, the equastrian portrait of George Washington and the water-color tiles creates a certain antiquity,suggestive of stamps, lending to the Figure 6 – Design for Union Square
  9. 9. 9 iconic history the location. Proceeding from that discussion, the use of color in the designs was arguable the most critical indicator for the sites themselves. As seen in figure 7, the use of traditional chinese colors of prosperity (red and gold), made more striking in contrast to the desaturated background picture, was employed to suggest the distinctive visual quality of Chinatown. They were inspired by the shop signs, building colors and customary décor of the area surrounding the iconic sites. In other posters, such as the one of Wall Street (see figure 1), the colors black, white and silver were utilized to describe the masculinty, dominance and severity of the place and industry – colors that are associative and evocative rather than self- evident. Symmetry also played an important part in the designs. For example, in the Chinese culture, symmetry invokes balance and peace (see figure 7). The assymetric buildings in figure 1 suggest the aggressive competition to constantly ‘construct’ higher, bigger, stronger brands, metaphorically represented by the ‘competing’ buildings. Lastly, the use of typeface and language in the designs is essential in embodying Figure 7 – Design for Chinatown
  10. 10. 10 the character of the places. Chinese calligraphic fonts were used in the Chinatown poster to appeal to the cultural significance of the chinese language. The font chosen for figure 1 (the poster of Wall Street) was inspired by the typeface used in the Wall Street Journal4. A homogenous brochure layout was created to make the brochures cohesive and consistent in design (see figure 8). A description of the surroundings, a brief history of the location, interesting facts on the iconic sites, a map and a tourist business contact card was included to create a complete pamphlet. In conclusion, the mapping medium, content, research method and representational techniques were all considered, examined and utlized as methodologies for the planning and creation of this mapping project. 4Garcia, Mario. "The Wall Street Journal." Font Bureau. The Font Bureau Gallery, inc., n.d. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <>. Figure 8– Brochure layout
  11. 11. 11 Appendices Figure 9 – Brochure cover designs Figure 10 – Final brochure designs
  12. 12. 12 Bibliography "Urban research maps." The changing city at the sweep of your mouse: Block by block demographic changes mapped across New York, 2000 to 2010. Center for Urban Research, The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), n.d. Web. 19 Oct 2013. <>. Roth, Leland M. (2001). American Architecture: A History. Boulder, Colo.: Magnet, Myron. n. page. <>. Garcia, Mario. "The Wall Street Journal." Font Bureau. The Font Bureau Gallery, inc., n.d. Web. 20 Oct 2013. <>.