TRACES: THESIS PROJECT
It’s too easy to view our own city as a purely utilitarian place, composed of standard routes, shopping stops, and favourite hangouts. We can become so comfortable with our day-to-day routines that we almost never set out to have new experiences. The relationship between people and their urban environments is both complex and personal; each person experiences the same city with a completely different perspective.
Traces focuses on the relationship between the two and how it affects the way we interact with each other. My objective is to create a platform for people to connect with their communities and each other through stories connected to common spaces. The goal is to encourage sharing of experiences in order to facilitate a community bond. Rather than the commercialized and sometimes impersonal process of creating reviews, business/service searches, and “check ins” that are instantaneously shared, Traces focuses more on the personal aspect of collective spaces, individual experiences, and community stories.
Since my objective is to encourage and document the physical interactions people have with these spaces, I began my thought process with the relationship between collective memory and valued spaces. I thought about the spaces people occupy and how that relates to the experiences they have there. The first area I explored was how people connect with their urban environments. I asked myself, What places have the greatest value for individuals? Collectively, what does that mean for the city?
I narrowed down my ideas to two key words: collective memory and common spaces. Living in a city, of course there are going to be overlaps in the spaces people occupy and experiences they have. These are an integral part of community growth and connectivity. I thought about the things and spaces we value, and how being there and occupying these spaces gives us a sense of place. Then I thought about how certain places can be important to an individual. We bond with places because of specific experiences and memories we have there. Then I thought about how certain places are important to a community. These places give us a place to gather, a safe area, interaction with people and the environment, and shared experiences. Even further, I thought about how certain places are important to a city. Common spaces connect residents as locals, as insiders.
The main task I envisioned for my project is creating and viewing collections of stories within their communities. This has potential benefits of discovering new places, more exposure to nature, promoting local businesses, learning local history, discovering connections, and encouraging physical activity. People can use the app in order to connect with their neighbourhoods, to share places and experiences that are important to them.