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SITE: Students in the East



Off the map: alternative cartographies of UCL’s Bloomsbury campus

By ucfapay, on 21 February 2017

We are all accustomed to looking at maps. In a city like London, consulting a map can often form part of the daily routine (normally on your phone, when you’re overly flustered and blocking a flow of enraged pedestrians). Multiple maps depict UCL’s Bloomsbury campus. From them you can learn the location of different buildings, the distances to nearby travel hubs, and perhaps begin to plan particular routes around the area. However, there are many important aspects of UCL these maps do not show.

What if we could create a map which captured students’ experiences of Bloomsbury and UCL: places with particular meanings, memories or frustrations; connections with local community groups; events and gatherings? What new information about UCL could be produced? What would visualising information in this way mean, and what could it achieve?

Maps enable people to generate new kinds of knowledge about a space. Maps can act as a catalyst for change, by creating shared portals of information that can demonstrate problems or issues. Maps encourage different people to come together and collect information around a shared topic of interest. Maps help us to see what’s around us differently.

SITE are in the process of building an online map of Bloomsbury. We want this map to be used by students, for students. Once up and running, this map will permit people to share photos, comments, current events and activities, and projects with links to the local community. We plan to connect with different social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, to encourage the sharing of photos and other media.

Our hope is that by collecting previously unexamined information about UCL’s Bloomsbury campus, we can spot patterns in how the area is used, identify places that are problematic, and uncover new ways of thinking about the space.

Watch this space! Our map is coming soon.




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