When I was moving to Milwaukee, WI from Minneapolis, MN in August 2011 I struggled with where to start looking for apartments. I had moved for my job and not owning a car made being within walking distance of the office a good starting point, but what were the other driving factors behind my location decision? Where do I buy groceries? Where is the best nightlife? What will I do for recreation? These all were prominent factors that made finding my new neighborhood possible.
Now that I have lived here for over six month and “learned” my city I have noticed all the information I didn’t consider. Simply living near nightlife wasn’t enough but it took learning where the theaters, restaurants, and pubs that I enjoy are. As I fell into new social circles I learned where they liked to gather. It quickly became clear that my neighborhood wasn’t in the right spot.
Just like the experiences of living in a city taught me more than could be understood through simple mapping and research prior to moving, there are constantly forces that are changing a community’s business, social, and environmental relationships. In systems analysis these are referred to as leverage points, and are where small things have a massive effect on complex systems. For an introduction to leverage Points and how they impact urban systems read Donella Meadows’, Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System. While not every changing force in a city has a massive impact, they do in some way reshape the relationships that are occurring.
Each week this blog will explore a trend in social media, new technological development or urban developmental focus to imagine how applied locally it may impact and engage with the existing city. Nothing created here expects to be a silver bullet, but instead a chance to imagine how simple changes can improve business and social relationships in a artful and exciting manner that can lead to an evolutionary change in an urban environment.
While this first week is more of an introduction to what I hope to do than an example (check out next Monday’s post (5/28/2012), the first of many that will explore parking lots — my FAVORITE urban site to play with!!!), I invite you to also check out the resources page which contains some of my favorite useful and obscure mapping sites.
Enjoy and have a great week.