This map of an urban riverfront is a glimpse at the design process in action.
During a design process, sometimes it’s difficult to make the creative leaps between the rigorous research phase and concept development. I like to call this “analysis paralysis”. Visual tools in the design process can help designers bridge that gap.
I created this map for an urban riverfront redevelopment project along the Wabash River in Indiana, which affectionately became known as the “butcher's map” for its resemblance to butcher’s cutting charts. Here, riverfront development meant to fuel economic, ecological and cultural growth among the two towns that bracket the river has to delicately manage dozens of owners and uses, from pharmaceutical operations to a college campus to municipal stormwater treatment plantsand a river that regularly floods.
In an effort to stem analysis paralysis as we moved forward with generating design alternatives, I parsed the project area into zones based on landscape types, use and ownership. Then, I evaluated these zones according to five different development themes, such as its potential to have buildings, to be a restored landscape, or to host recreational or cultural amenities. The result is, the higher a zone’s score, the hotter the color, and the more potential it has for sustainable development. Ultimately, this process resulted in a visual, hierarchical agenda for concept development.
Work done while at WRT.
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