Making Policy Public

The Center for Urban Pedagogy in New York has a program called Making Policy Public, which focuses on educating people about places, and the ways places change. The program has produced issues that explain complex issues into a well-designed brochure infographic, such as this one on NYC street vendor regulations:

Vendor Power! decodes the rules and regulations for New York’s 10,000 street vendors so they can understand their rights, avoid fines, and earn an honest living. Did you know you can get a $1000 ticket for parking more than 18 inches from the curb? It doubles as a poster on the rich landscape and history of vending in the City.
"Vendor Power! decodes the rules and regulations for New York’s 10,000 street vendors so they can understand their rights, avoid fines, and earn an honest living. Did you know you can get a $1000 ticket for parking more than 18 inches from the curb? It doubles as a poster on the rich landscape and history of vending in the City."

Other posters/issues include predatory equity, globalized shipping network, and social security.

Sustainability Infographics

I’ve been looking for examples of meta-diagrams, or at least how others have tried to explain complex issues into a simple infographic. I stumbled across this collection of infographics trying to explain “sustainability.” It ranges from the the technical bubbles and lines, to pretty charts, and finally to more savvy illustrations.

New Zealands Ministry of the Environment
New Zealand's Ministry of the Environment

Link: Visualizing Sustainability.

Literary Map

Stefanie Posavec - On the Map
Stefanie Posavec - "On the Map"

Maps can also be generated from fiction. Using Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Artist Stefanie Prosavec studied the book for its rhythm, structure, and  literary themes. The results of her careful annotation are presented in interesting and creative ways.

More at notcot and Museum Sheffield.

Downtown LA Homeless Map

Homeless population density in Los Angeles
Homeless population density in Los Angeles

Cartifact, a map making firm in Los Angeles, partnered with the Los Angeles Police Department for several months to create the Downtown LA Homeless Map. From November 2006 to June 2007, for twice a month, the LAPD would survey Downtown LA and make notes of the homeless population’s location, gender, age, and shelter type. Using this data with ArcGIS (one of the mapping tools mentioned by Matt Ericson) to show the population shift over time. Through several visualization techniques, this data becomes a compelling way to present data on the problem of homelessness, especially in Los Angeles.

Though the map is not interactive like the ones compiled by the NY Times, this map’s animation still gets the point across.

Neighborhood Maps

Ork Designs Neighborhood Map of Chicago
Ork Design's Neighborhood Map of Chicago

Ork Design, based out of Chicago, makes neighborhood maps. They’re rather beautiful and organized in such a way where neighborhoods are (somewhat) in their correct position, with interesting typology mashed in.

As we read in Mark Treib’s “Mapping Experience,” maps are about the experience and intentions of the designer and the user. When Ork’s Los Angeles map was released, LAist.com interviewed one of the designers about how the maps are made. With the Los Angeles map in particular, certain aesthetic judgement calls were made to make neighborhoods fit harmoniously. This ultimately led to the omission of certain neighborhoods, and other generalizations were made. Regardless, all of Ork’s maps are beautifully done.

And according to their website, a Philadelphia map is coming soon!

Mental Mapping

Kevin Lynch Sketch Map of Boston, 1955
Kevin Lynch Sketch Map of Boston, 1955

On the topic of mapping experience, Kevin Lynch is known in Planning for his maps, most notably how people conceive and make sense of space. From Wiki:

Lynch’s most famous work, The Image of the City published in 1960, is the result of a five-year study on how users perceive and organize spatial information as they navigate through cities. Using three disparate cities as examples (Boston, Jersey City, and Los Angeles), Lynch reported that users understood their surroundings in consistent and predictable ways, forming mental maps with five elements:

  • paths, the streets, sidewalks, trails, and other channels in which people travel;
  • edges, perceived boundaries such as walls, buildings, and shorelines;
  • districts, relatively large sections of the city distinguished by some identity or character;
  • nodes, focal points, intersections or loci; and
  • landmarks, readily identifiable objects which serve as reference points

Unicorns and Flow Charts

How to feel on Inauguration Day
How to feel on Inauguration Day

Flow charts are incredibly simple to follow along, but after really looking at one, they’re really hard to make. The design of this one is really simple, only using black and white. One could theorhetically play with colors, shapes, background shading, line weight, etc. But after a simple Google image search for “flow chart,” I discovered two main things. First, there are standard design guidelines for flow charts. Who knew? And second, that there are a lot of really ugly – and confusing – flow charts out there. Repeat offenders seem to be flow charts graduation requirements for the sciences.