Sunday, July 20, 2014

Time to Change Service Signage



Planned service changes are often cause for panic and confusion for new New Yorkers and visitors. Navigating the subway can be a stressful challenge when everything is running smoothly, so the added advertisement of an additional degree of difficulty is not a welcome one. 

Upon seeing one of these service change signs riders essentially ask themselves the following two questions in order to determine if it’s cause for concern, and it’s information they need to absorb.

1. Does this affect this effect
my current subway journey? 

2. Is it likely to effect a future
journey I might take?


What is the most important information to intake in determining if a service change effects your journey? 

Narrowing it down by train line would seem good, but there’s for the most part there are only 3-4 different trains on a give platform, [sorry MTA I doubt anyone pays attention to these when there’s a wall of 10 of these elsewhere in the station—it’s overload] so you’re really only cutting it down from 3 or 4 trains to 1. Never the less it’s a important reference point for people, and should still have prominence. 


I’ve found the chief factor is time of day. Regardless of train line, date, weekday or weekend, it’s the most effective determinate I can use to rule out whether or not I need to read further, and worry about the service change. 

99 times out of 100 I can check the time and immediately disregard the rest, and go back to watching rats on the track. In fact as much as possible service changes are scheduled for the late night when they’ll have the least amount of impact. For commuters and those who aren’t often out late at night, planned service changes will probably rarely effect you at all. But it took much longer than it needed to to train myself to look for the time of day first, because of current design flaws. 

The current design [above] buries time of day, and the service change “No _ trains at the station” [Oh No!] for example, is given a lot of prominence by being very large and bold. Even though it is clearly secondary and only needs to be read and understood if you actually will experience said change during you current journey or a expected future one. 

That said with this in mind here are a
couple of improvements I’d suggest:


*This split should really be drawn according to peak travel times, which I haven’t incorporated here, as this is just a sketch for conceptual purposes and for I’ve split the day evenly.

­—And yes trolls, this is a cherry picked example, and sometimes the service changes are more involved with a lot more instructions etc. I don’t purpose this as bullet proof template that would work for every situation, to work out all the design requirements for that would take more free time than I have! That said I think some of these broader points about the average rider’s decision process, design hierarchy and emphasis; Stand on their own and could be useful.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

"A long time me look for the I"


Rockers, made in 1978, it's a fairly authentic portrait of Jamaican musician life at the time, from wikipedia: "The main rocker Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace, for example, is shown living with his actual wife and kids and in his own home. The recording studios shown are the famous Harry J Studios where many roots reggae artists recorded during the 1970s including Bob Marley." The film features a lot of musical talent, for example the better known Gregory Issac, Big Youth, and Jacob Miller, would die 2 years later in a car accident at the age of 27*. It's worth watching for the 70s style and it's musical moments. It also feels artistically constructed in a way films rarely are anymore. From Horsemouth's hat to records themselves, circles are a reoccurring element in the film. *(here's Horsemouth in 2012 talking about Jacob Miller and claiming a policeman who tasked with taking Jacob to the hospital post car crash, first stopped for a beer, in part because he was a Rasta).

If you know much about Jamaica, you're probably familiar with the trope of the rich "society" people and or the police being corrupt and predative. It's a common theme seen in a lot of Jamaica's cultural output, even today. Rockers is one part the bicycle thief and one part Robin Hood, and is driven (all be it slowly) by this trope. In this case a well to do Jamaican who runs a resort catering to white tourists is also stealing all manner of goods and storing them in a big warehouse, presumably to be turned around resold on the street.


The fact that Rastafarians are marginalized and occasionally run into discrimination is touched upon too. At one point in the middle of the film, Horsemouth is pushed to the ground, only to get up an turn to the address the camera about how as a Rasta he would never resort to violence. However, later when getting his robin hood like revenge, he and others can be seen beating people up. It seems to suggest at a bit of hypocrisy, or at least question whether it's possibly to stay so virtuous in a corrupt environment.


When the robin hood quest is complete, the hot items are re-stolen out of the warehouse and put on the street for free. Even though it's a victory, there's a sense that there is one more circular element for us to discover, and that's the tit-for-tat viscous cycle of injury and retribution, one that has the ability to lead to greater violence, like in the 1976 and later 1980 elections when Jamaica had it's share division and tit for tat (serious) gun violence. Up next for me is the earlier [and probably stronger] film "The Harder They Come" starring Jimmy Cliff.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sub Urbanisms

Sub Urbanisms is a show I co-curated with Stephen Fan and currently up at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum in New London, CT. The show explores the Chinese immigrant casino worker community that lives in Uncasville, CT. Detailing how suburban homes have been rethought and reused for multifamily living, front lawn gardening, and frugal communal living in general. It also takes a look at how Chinese cultural norms play into their usage of space, notions of public and private life, the gambling industry in United States, American notions of the manicured front lawn ideal, the workers themselves in the form of portraits. And a architectural/city planning project of Stephen's that takes a lot of knowledge gained and puts it to use in a hypothetical development set in downtown Norwich, CT. PHOTOS BY STEPHEN FAN We also have a book in the works: More info on the book here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Zealand (South Island)

Queenstown, Highway 8, Lake Pukaki, Lake Tekapo, Rakaia Gorge, Birdlings Flat, Banks Peninsula, Christchurch, NZ Blue Penguin (world's smallest). Not in order.