Critical appraisal

For this project I opted to take on the "practice ethos" role, as I wanted to do something that was new to me. To begin with I struggled with this concept as we were four different people with different ideas about what we wanted to do. In the end it came together organically over the course of the project.

The name WJIM (initials of our first names) came about as it had a nice unusual ring to it. we didn't want to have a name that was too conceptual as this might pigeon hole us.

We started with Mike and I designing a logo and visual concept for the website. This helped us think about what kind of practice we wanted to be. We decided that, most importantly we would be community focused. This meant the public image of our practice had to be accessible to all. Not exclusively trendy. That’s not to say it couldn’t be trendy. We wanted it to be fun and a little bit different, which would reflect another side of what we do.

The format of website was used rather than a blog because we felt this gave us more freedom to design a site that reflected what we wanted to show ourselves as. I already knew how to build websites so I built the main structure of the site which would have links to various blogs which could be added and edited by everyone else.

We decided to base our practice in a studio on Ridley Road Market. It so happened that I share a studio space there with some friends and it seemed like the perfect location for a new practice who want to get involved in exciting community projects.

For the feasibility study Jason and I devised an interview to conduct with people who were passing through the area around the site. If we wanted to live up to our practice ethos we had to talk to the community. We kept the interviews short with room for the conversation to diverge. And we filmed the interviews so that we could present them on the website in an engaging way.

The interviews could be combined in a film which could be used as an introduction to our study of the site. I had recently stumbled across a short film about Birmingham narrated by Telly Savalas (serch ‘Telly Savalas Birmingham’ on youtube) which was very amusing in it’s self. If the audio was edited to suit a film about the Kings Cross area, it would give an entertaining edge to a film that otherwise wouldn’t attract much interest. So I returned to the area around the site to get more footage that would fit with the voice over. If this study was to be used as part of a public consultation, an entertaining film would help to engage people in a discussion about what is needed for the area.

To support the interviews we did, I looked at the feedback from the consultation Argent had done for the Kings Cross development which I found on the Camden website, as this would inform us to social and political issues. From this I counted up and categorised points people had made. I plotted these on a bar graph showing how frequently each issue had been raised to clearly show what was of most concern to people living in the area.

To study the transport and local routes in the area I started by plotting a map showing all parts of the area around the site which are accessible by the public, to help us understand the area in terms of moving through it on foot. Onto this I overlaid suggested cycling routes from Transport for London cycling maps. For this map, and all the other I produced, I was presuming that the argent development had already been completed as this would most likely be the case if anything was to happen from our study.

I also plotted maps illustrating public transport links in the area to demonstrate how well it is served and how people might need to move around to get to bus stops and stations. i tried to keep these maps visually easy to read and also keep them within the visual style i had developed for WJIM

If we were to improve our website, it would be through presenting some of the information we have in a better manner and making it more relevant to the study or to us. There is a great deal of information that is very dry needs to be edited down and re - presented. For example, the research Mike did on Live/work policy is very relevent to our proposal, but we needed to pick out the parts that were relevent and present them in a way that e=demonstrates this clearly.

site photos

if only it WAS sunny in birmingham

a nice little installation i wandered past somewhere in the backwater that is the south london cycle network. could have been done as graffiti, which is a fun idea, though i suspect it's a commissioned piece of artwork or a student piece. it's subtlety and simplicity win it for me. feel free to let me know of it's origins (maybe it is fungus)