Project Examples

In this section of the blog I will post projects that are similar to what I hope to do for Utica and evaluate their effectiveness.

A brief overview of my concept: I hope to create a map of Utica with which you can click on a location of a warehouse and see information about it (e.g. year built, companies there, year closed, year re-used).

1. Green businesses in Detroit: http://detroitgreenmap.com/map.php

This map is exactly like what I am envisioning for Utica’s warehouses. By clicking a pin, you get the business, its address, and a link to the business’s website. What I would have in the information from each pin would be the date the warehouse was built, the company (or companies) that used that space, when the warehouse shuttered its down, and its current function. One caveat with my map idea, however, is that I was thinking of shading in the spaces where warehouses are. That way you could easily see just how much physical space in Utica is occupied by a warehouse, and considering Utica’s smaller geographic scope than Detroit I think this would be feasible.

This map, however, is more informational than anything else. It does not suggest too much about Detroit’s culture or what these businesses mean for Detroit–it just shows where they are. This issue harkens back to the city of fact–we lack the emotional and critical understanding of a city when we do not have the city of feeling with it. As such, in my project I hope to include an anecdote–from an old newspaper article or a company document–from someone who worked in the warehouse or who was affected by the warehouse closing.

2. Startups in New York City: http://www.digital.nyc/map

Although Utica is clearly superior to New York City, it sometimes helps to look to an inferior city for inspiration. This map has different colored dots to show where certain start-ups and incubators are, and when you click on a dot you get a link that takes you to a page dedicated to what’s there. I like the idea of the different colored dots–I could organize certain types of warehouses with the same color, and link information to each dot when one clicks it. That the dots cluster together when you are higher up is also helpful, and something I should try to emulate.

With my project I could incorporate the visual medium. The 1939 “The City” documentary and the Manhatta film are intriguing in large part because we can simply see the city. When I was home I took video of a lot of warehouse spaces in Utica. It would be great for someone, when they click on the warehouse and see a text box or a page dedicated to that site, to also have a brief video of it or at least a picture.

3. 1963 Detroit Urban Renewal Map: http://detroitography.com/2014/06/25/map-detroit-urban-renewal-projects-1963/

This map is not interactive but is still helpful for my project. Having the redevelopment sites listed on the map makes it easy to, at a quick glance, see which sites are being focused on. Detroit is a city similar to Utica, beset by rust belt economic realities. This map shows efforts to mitigate the city’s decline, to “renew” the city. My map aims to show where this is happening at the moment in Utica, NY.

This map relates to “The Lost Tiki Palaces of Detroit” and Detropia not just because it focuses on Detroit. All three pieces engage with Detroit’s industrial character and a sense of loss–the city needs to be renewed, the tiki palaces are long gone, and Detroit is struggling. Uticans likewise have experienced tremendous loss with the departure of textile and then high tech manufacturing.

2 Responses to Project Examples

  1. Sherry Linkon says:

    These are cool maps, but both also offer pretty limited information, and their creators’ analytical and interpretive thinking about the cities isn’t emphasized. How will you adapt this genre in a way that will let you not only show some specific aspects of Utica but also show your analytical thinking about this place and its representations? I’d encourage you to think about how you can not only show where the warehouses are and what’s happening there, but why they matter, how they fit into the larger landscape of representations of Utica, and how they do or do not reflect ideas from our course.

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