Tactile MapTile: working towards inclusive cartography
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This project presents an alternative approach to understanding the pedestrian experience. Challenging the existing primacy afforded to vision, this work takes a tactile approach. Physical abstractions are used as a means to guide people through the multi-sensory environments encountered everyday. Designed as tools that enhance spatial understanding for people within a large range of visual capacities, three-dimensional maps consider circumstances that influence a full spectrum of experience. The maps produced confront gaps in the cartographic record as it pertains to inclusive design, and considers how that is manifest in the lived experience. The project suggests an approach to strengthening the democratic nature of public landscapes including the infrastructure of sidewalks and streets. This thesis project models the remarkable potential of significant collaboration between landscape architecture and data science to address a real-time challenge that impacts the daily lives of millions of individuals. Pairing a participatory, data-driven design approach together with interdisciplinary collaboration, these 3D printed, parametrically designed maps allow for user feedback, and ever changing open-data sets to be quickly incorporated. Furthermore, this partnership underscores how a broader vision of design research can catalyze alternative forms of engagement, by designers as well as by associated scientists.