Information Design in Urban Settings

The presentations in Urban design interfaces included three projects: Rural Habitat Development Program, Uptown Whittier Specific Plan and Beyond Intentions: Consequences of Design.

The Rural Habitat Development Program

The Rural Habitat Development Program took place in Aga Khan Gujarat, India. This project investigated the transformation of urban spaces and the impacts on the lives of the people living there. The foundation developed better infrastructure and reinforced existing networks. The project had to deal with many difficulties including natural disaster and most importantly the lack of clean water.

The experts helping the village did not just go there and impose their way of thinking onto an existing society. They worked with the people living in the village, listened to their needs and wants. The villagers did not feel like they were forced to change their way of living, they felt acknowledged and the participatory component made them more likely to accept help and sustain the new structures even after the experts are gone.

Beyond Intentions: Consequences of Design

In the 1990s Boston was known as a city of concrete and steal structures. By removing the highways the city was transformed into the iconic American city we know today. With the removal of bridges a lot of space opened up, and new greenway structures could take their place. From originally 4 billion US-Dollars expenditure jumped to 22 billion US-Dollars, tax payers were not very pleased. In earlier decades Boston was a city with a high crime rate, and criminal activities taking place in the shadows of the bridges, definitely not a place one wanted to be. Through the central artery removal it was possible to reconnect neighborhoods and create a friendlier city. Quality of live increased and it has become more pedestrian friendly.

Just the removal of steal and concrete architecture can change not only the face of the city, but the feelings associated with the city. Water fronts are sunny, and a place for families to go, the inhabitants of Boston feel proud of their city and identify with the new structure.

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