[작업] Complexity Maps


i. context


Connecting the visible and the invisible



In the last two decades Information Visualisation has emerged as one of the most important techniques for managing data in our present knowledge society, due to its ability to make the complex – accessible, the invisible – visible, and the intangible – palpable. Traditional forms of mapping and representation of cities seem to be inadequate in representing urban space as a living organism.

The complexity of city flows (both tangibles and intangibles) require subtle tools that can visualise complex phenomena without breaking them up, tools that depict qualities of a system which would otherwise not be perceptible and collective visions capable of defi ning and structuring the spaces where we interact.
In this way, the new language of diagrams and maps can be seen as a liminal interface between knowledge and experience, rather than a mere description of reality. This new language constructs visual models that connect the physical realm of cities and buildings with the invisible world of communication, social  networks and human activity. The potential of this new language is to create a shared visual vocabulary that goes beyond just representing systems but also enables the pinpointing of critical pivot points that allow interventions into the system.

The Complexity maps workshop had three broad aims. First, the development of an appropriate way of gathering local information in a consensual way with local stake holders. Second, to produce visualisations that could create new insights into the local dynamics of the site. Third, the creation of new methodological models for the Information Visualisation discipline as a whole.


Visions through perceptions002(3).jpg

Urban policies involve different administrative bodies which are often not co-ordinated and deal with a wide remit from environmental policy to infrastructure, from social integration to public security. The institutional role of the Urban Center Metropolitano of Turin, is to ease the interaction and the decision making process between these different city administration entities, through building scenarios of the future transformation of Turin. The Urban Center were designated as the workshop local client for this project and suggested the target site, Stura Park, in the northern periphery of Turin as one of the last large empty sites in Turin and a location where they predict intense future change (fi g. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). In collaboration with the local government they had been creating strategic plans for Stura Park which included a Golf Course and the building of two nearby Metro stops (fi g. 7). Despite these plans, the Urban Centre had little local knowledge of the site and no contact with local people or organisations. In addition, the Urban Centre had some doubts about the proposal of a Golf Course and wished to gain a much better understanding of local opinions and interactions of local actors.
The aim of the workshop was to identify people’s thoughts, issues and desires and to see how visualisation could be integrated in political and cultural process, providing new elements for a strategic vision of the future transformations of the target area.



Project brief
1. Represent local people’s perception;
2. Create a tool for discussing future change;
3. Develop a methodological critique of the Urban Centre’s current approaches to local sites.
Stura Park is an unmanaged and overgrown postindustrial wasteland bounded by the bank of the river Stura on one side and conduit roads that lead towards the centre of Turin in one direction and Milan in the other (fi g. 8).
What few people seemed to know or acknowledge before proposing this target site for the project, was that the Stura Park is considered by researchers to be the biggest heroin distribution ‘centre’ in Europe.



iii. process

Design Ethnography + Analytical Urbanism & Information Design

The conceptual approach of this workshop used Actor-Network Theory as articulated by John Law and Bruno Latour, translated into a practical form.
The method tried to analyse the project area as a complex entity constituted by the relationship between people (a range of competing actors with different interests), material (places, objects and fl ows) and semiotic entities (ideas and concepts). By seeking connections, analysing relations and describing the systems, the students perceived the area as an intertwined network and assumed to collect the points of view of many actors particularly and citizens.

The students worked in small groups on five topics, strongly linked with the other Summer School workshops design themes, trying to answer and questioning
to the following issues:
_Mobility – Where do people want to get to and how do we get there?
                How is mobility affecting the local sense of place and quality of life?
_History and Future – What is this place? What are the current ideas about the history and future of this place?
                                What do local people think will happen?
_People – Who lives there and where and why do they meet?
                Who are the different groups of people who use and/or own this place?
_Security and Insecurity – What does security or insecurity means in the local context?
                                       What are the local fears and dangers?
_Environment – How are the local people engaged with their surroundings?
                       What effect does the environment have?

The week long workshop was split into two phases. In the fi rst part, local people were interviewed and data collected on the project site in Turin, while the
second part was focused on synthesizing, analysing and visualising the information collected (fi g. 9).


Design Ethnography:
looking as an outsider, thinking as an insider
The fi rst three days were spent interviewing more than 100 local people, considering them as experts on the local context. A large number and variety of stakeholders were interviewed (local government, environmental agency, area planners, local shopkeepers, residents, gardeners, drug addicts) (fi g. 10, 11, 12): but students were well-aware that quality shall be preferred over quantity. Moreover, the students refl ected on their own thoughts and perceptions since they, as outsiders, could perceive the area as a “whole”.
In addition tests of soil and water quality were taken from the target area since there were some concerns about possible environmental pollution.


Analytical Urbanism and Information Design:
looking for patterns to narrate a meaningful story
The second phase started with the analysis of the huge amount of data collected (fi g. 13, 14, 15, 16). Different qualitative approaches, such as Discourse Analysis, were introduced to sieve and cluster information. Local and national newspaper databases were analysed, as well as some background demographic reports. The key activity was fi nding patterns and connections between offi cial data and the ones collected on field. At this stage the initial fi ndings were shared among the student groups and a large number of common issues emerged from the different starting themes.

This part of the work explored how to visualise and communicate the fi ndings: from a descriptive and analytic understanding of the forces that shape the local context, to developing a visual narrative that uncovers the local urban and political reality.




iv. results

A design system for local informational empowerment
Each project group developed their own map with its own results:


Mobility Group


History/Future group


People group

Security/Insecurity group

Environment group
This group combined physical pollution testing with qualitative analysis of the stakeholders’ perception of the local environment.
These methods lead them to conceptualise the site as a space where the local actors of government administration, media as well as local citizens are in confl ict.
The main conclusion of this group was that the fear triggered by the media representation of the area as “Drug Park” overshadows all the local environmental
issues such as the new allotments where people are growing food in possibly heavily polluted soil.

Participants group A: Beatrice Lerma, Luca Masud, Francesca Vargiu.
Participants group B: Hanna Kim, Hyebin Park.





The workshop highlighted a unique series of complex local dynamics which began with the urban readjustments related to the Turin Olympics that have turned the Park into what is today known as the European capital of heroin dealing. Interestingly, after the workshop, none of the students thought that there were any external political or design interventions that could improve the local situations but that the local community had to be supported in creating their own solutions to these issues. In fact all the groups identified that since the 1960’s external interventions had been disrupting a local equilibrium between the different actors.

Starting with the central concept of the local network of experts, the Community Mapping project revealed the dynamics behind the physical location of Stura Park and made these dynamics visible and discussable. The workshop articulated a new concept of Embedded Design, which formulates a vision of the designer that becomes literally embedded with the social and political microcosm, he or she deals with. The designer needs to identify with the local context through full mental, bodily and emotional involvement. The designer’s role shifts to becoming a local expert who, just like other local experts, is involved in problem identifi cation, communication and problem intervention. A new role for the design discipline seems to emerge: the possibility to intervene at the informational level into the dynamic of a local system and to create empowering knowledge resources that enable collaboration between institutions, organisations and citizens.



teaching staff

project leader

Christian Nold
Designer, UK

project leader assistant
Jim Sergers
City Mine(d), Brussels, Barcelona and London

metadesign leader
Paolo Ciuccarelli
Associate Professor, INDACO Department,
Politecnico di Milano, Italy

metadesign leader assistants
Donato Ricci
PhD candidate in Industrial Design and Multimedia
Communication, INDACO Department,
Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Gaia Scagnetti
PhD INDACO Department, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

local client
Antonio De Rossi
Urban Center Metropolitano, City of Torino, Italy

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  • 영민 2009.11.17 23:54 ADDR 수정/삭제 답글


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