MACRO UX | Culture Mile - Week 1

Week 1 🗓: 13 Jan - 17 Jan

Brief 🔍

Design a way for people to discover the cultural richness of the City of London

Teammates: 🤝Nancy, Tracie and LuLu


To start the project, we had a meeting with Culture Mile to understand the brief. Below are some key points that I dropped down.


📍Culture Mile Area: From Farringdon to Moorgate

Map of Culture Mile Area

📌Target Audience: Kaleidoscope Creativity, Metroculturals, Commuterland Culturebuffs and Experience Seekers *Kaleidoscope Creativity: Mixed-age, low-level engagement, free local events, outdoor arts and festivals


📌Perception and identity

The City of London as a global hub for innovation in financial and professional services, commerce and culture.


📌New Museum of London

A once-in-a-generation opportunity to reconceive what a museum for London can be opening in 2024.


📌Centre for Music

A world-class venue for performance and education across all musical genres, harnessing the power of three internationally recognised cultural organisations - the Barbican, London Symphony Orchestra and Guildhall School of Music & Drama.


📌5 Unifying Principles for cultural content

1. Connectivity

2. Ancient and Modern

3. Social Mobility

4. Everyday Creativity

5. The Spine

Relationship of Culture, City and Commercial

Research Methods 📚

After the meeting with the client, we understood the vision, goals and objectives. Then we did a lot of research for the first week. We used the "Literature review" and "Observation" methods to start our project. Firstly, we did some online research. We read through all the documents about Culture Mile such as their strategies and previous researches. Moreover, we read some articles and theories about "Creative Placemaking". Our target is to find out how to let people engage with the area and know more about the culture and history. Secondly, we visited there for a few time in order to get some offline inspirations.


📍Route 1 (daytime): Moorgate Station -> Guildhall -> Museum of London -> Guildhall School of Music & Drama -> Barbican Centre

Photos of Route 1


📍Route 2 (nighttime): Farringdon Station -> Smithfield Market -> Church -> Barbican Station -> Barbican Centre

Photos of Route 2


Problem🤔

1. Bad wayfinding

In the beginning, we just followed the Google Map and did not look at the signpost. Even if we tried to find the spot without using the Google Map, it is difficult for us to find the right route by depending on their own signs. Therefore, we believe that this is a challenge for tourists and first-comers to explore Culture Mile area without obvious signs.


2. Lack of vitality

Although the Culture Mile branding is vibrant, you can't find out any related and colourful branding elements in this area. The mood and tone is hustle and bustle. The building and architecture style is in a grey tone. Comparing Culture Mile branding, it is totally different. They also didn't promote a lot in the area so you can't get the energetic mood easily.


3. Lack of narration

Moreover, there are lots of buildings along the street for people to work and places for them to live in the Barbican area. However, It’s hard to know about the culture in the area unless you observe in detail or visit their Museum.


📌Creative placemaking

For the literature review, we found the "Creative Placemaking" definition. It is when artists, arts organizations, and community development practitioners deliberately integrate arts and culture into community revitalization work—placing arts at the table with land-use, transportation, economic development, education, housing, infrastructure, and public safety strategies. Creative placemaking supports artistic projects made in public settings rather than funding artists to create masterworks in isolation. It was conceived as a reaction to a perceived loss of a sense of “place” within the architectural dystopia of the urban renewal era.


📋Case Study

1. “The City needed flavor on the street"

Hence they took up the challenge, launching a citywide Creative Entrepreneur Project (CEP) to nurture artists and link them with the region’s extraordinary technology community. The City now celebrates and sustains Valley artists across disciplines with the artist, business training, professional development scholarships, a web-based resource guide, and commissions for artists on public transportation projects.


2. “marrying art to infrastructure”

These projects not only make Phoenix a more beautiful and vibrant city, but they also expand infrastructure’s very function by revealing processes often hidden from the public eye, celebrating common purpose, history, and community.

However what we need to bear in mind is the “aesthetic of belonging” to guard against the impulse to use creative placemaking as an excuse to make places over according to a racist, exclusionary image.


Hacking (2016) calls this process “making up people.” As he explains: “Social change creates new categories of people, but the counting [of them] is no mere report of developments. The act of classifying people actually “changes the space of possibilities for personhood,” It elaborately, often philanthropically, creates new ways for people to be”.


The key drivers of successful creative placemaking are longevity, community standing, trust, and local control of the process. This notion of remaking a place, or making up a place is a central concern of community-based actors. In the wrong hands, it is not only the placemakers who are “made up” but the places themselves.


Instead of abiding only by expert knowledge, we can embrace the “double-loop learning” in which knowledge is contested and modified based on the active input of multiple classes of participants.


📝Future Plan

After doing the observation and literature review, we set up our future plan. We target to enhance new audiences by giving culture mile characters and a sense of belonging. We hope that they can feel the culture of London by exploring the story of the local citizens, like a musician, artist, performer, businessman, etc.


To achieve our objective, firstly we will enhance the colour in that area by adding the culture mile’s brand colour because the area is a little bit too pale and boring. We would like to make good use of their brand colour in order to change the perception from boring to vibrant. Secondly, we will set up better wayfinding by making good use of those characters. We will design colourful characters and place them in different spots so people can recognise the place more easily. Thirdly, we will add the narrative stories for each character to present a concept about “Human to Human” instead of only “Space to human”. We use characters to represent the spaces and aim to engage audiences with the characters. For the medium, we are thinking like doing AR, projection, sculptures or mixing light and character together, or some characters wayfinding experience for the audience.

Group Discussion of our future plan

🙌Presentation

We created a map to record our journey of the first week. It combined our observation, literature review and the narrative character idea in our map. Then, we presented to our classmates and got a lot of useful feedback.

Culture Mile Map

Project feedback & Reflection

We received some valuable feedback from our classmates. In the beginning, they like the map we did and our idea of creating the narrative elements. However, they thought that it is so early to make a direction of creating characters as our main theme. Also, for the literature review, our professor suggested us, not only look at the Creative Placemaking and case study but also the culture and history of different buildings. So we can have a more comprehensive analysis of this area. We found all the comments very useful, and help a lot for improving our planning. We fine-tuned our direction and revised our project in the next few weeks. Please have a look at the next blog for further progress.


References 📖

Anya, P. (2012) Urban Lighting: Planning for Public Spaces in Vancouver’s Southeast False Creek. [online]Available at: https://qspace.library.queensu.ca/bitstream/handle/1974/7464/Paskovic_Anya_L_201209_MPL.pdf?sequence=1 (Accessed: 15 January 2020)


Alexander Miller (2018) How we made an interactive, projection-mapped topographic installation. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07hiEtggHXw&feature=youtu.be (Accessed: 15 January 2020).


Bruce, M. (2016) Urban Design: Patterns, Scale and Places for

People. [online]Available at: https://www.svsapa.org/images/svs_pc_2016/svsapa_pc_urban_design_2016.pdf (Accessed: 15 January 2020)


Fender, A., Herholz, P., Alexa, M. and Müller, J. (2018). OptiSpace: Automated Placement of Interactive 3D Projection Mapping Content. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’18). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Paper 269, pp.1–11. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/3173574.3173843


Jones, B., Benko, H., Ofek, E. and Wilson, A. (2013). IllumiRoom: peripheral projected illusions for interactive experiences. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems(CHI ’13). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, pp.869–878. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/2470654.2466112


Krishnan Nambiar (2016) Amazing 3d mapping room. Available at: https://youtu.be/hqCeFdPoQLc (Accessed: 16 January 2020).


Leva (2018) Amazing 3d mapping room. Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbHiXc6DH8c&feature=youtu.be (Accessed: 17 January 2020).


MagicInnovations (2016) Amazing 3d mapping room. Available at: https://youtu.be/3WGZIc5El8g (Accessed: 18 January 2020).

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