Title: Visualising of life-cycle of urban landmarks, and impact on social identity.

Subject Area

The purpose of this project is to develop graphic tools for public engagement and to explore the potential of graphic visualisation to play a new communication’s role in the process of city regeneration. The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement defines public engagement as ‘A two-way process, involving interaction and listening, with the goal of generating mutual benefit.’ The graphic tools focuses on defining and exploring urban-landmarks which confer on a community a significant sense of emotional security through that community’s shared experience of it.



  1. To enrich public engagement processes by developing emotionally driven graphic visual tools that will amplify local voices and enable inhabitants to communicate effectively with commercial and government stakeholders.
  2. To explore how local perspectives of built landmarks have been formed overtime and produced emotional security for individuals and communities.



1) Documental materials of previous public engagement projects will be evaluated to contextualise the research. Then further interviews will be carried out with the current community groups. Consequently, relevant community groups and stakeholders will be contacted to identify important built landmarks.

2) This research will inform the prototype graphic visual tools that will draw on design fiction. ‘The invention, creation and construction of possible futures, which are explored, tested, evaluated and improved’ (Grand and Wiedmer), to allow to use to materialise their central features as stories to present.

3) To engage local communities and stakeholders groups which include local and government stakeholders through a series of workshops. The workshops will explore which built-landmarks are most significant for local people and facilitate them in the creation of their own visual stories as design fictions featuring landmarks of the future. Meetings will be held with commercial and government stakeholders to present the outcomes from the workshops, and the discussions in these meetings will be conveyed back to local residents and workers. This cycle will be iterated and the graphic tools will be refined and synthesised into a design method. Furthermore, exhibitions will be set up in which the previous cycle’s results will be shown and tested, facilitating encounters between the local inhabitants and commercial and government stakeholders.

4) The project outcomes will be disseminated through print and digital media and practical workshops held at both local and international levels.


Historical Context

In general, the public consultation was predominant in UK tick boxes and one-way mechanism that did not involve communities in meaningful way in 1960s. Then the new fresh people trying to think a new way, Proboscis, CABE and Argent will be analysed as three different strategies for public engagement. Particularly, Analysis of Argent’s current urban regeneration strategy in King’s Cross will further focus the research on specific geographic, spatial, social and economic issues.

Contemporary Context

King’s Cross is now in the midst of a transformation into new neighbourhood for central London.with new landmarks, such as Granary Square and the new concourse and entrance to King’s Cross station. The area is undergoing massive change and the skyline and urban landmarks are shifting on an almost daily basis. This can be quite bewildering for both long term residents and newcomers. The rapid change makes Kings Cross a very fertile ground to explore the importance of built landmarks and how residents and stakeholders can have a dialogue about the significance of these landmarks.


Theoretical Context

I am relying on the contemporary work of the Los Angeles School. Particularly, the concept of Thirdspace(Soja, 1996) which will be relevant to my analysis of the image of landmarks in the urban space. Because the Thirdspace is the transdisciplinary challenge to cut across all perspectives and modes of thought.

Also, I will be drawing on Kevin Lynch’s criteria for imageability(1960) to analyse how landmarks function in the lives of urban dwellers.

   Visual Methodologies (Rose, 2003) clearly outlined how visual research can be conducted. I will apply her visual methodologies such as compositional interpretation and photo-elicitation methods.

I also will focus on Jeremy Till’s Spatial Agency that is exploring between scarcity and creativity in the context of the built environment as the project reader of SCIBE



Analysis of public engagement case studies, this will be complimented by interviews with an ethnographical approach will be adopted to identify target local communities and to help draw out latent local perspectives towards towards urban landmarks in the on-going urban regeneration at King’s Cross. The main anticipated target groups are: people living in King’s Cross for over 20 years before the rapid regeneration started people commuting to the area and finally students and staff at CSM.

The data from this human, spatial and historical research will inform the graphic visual story as design fictions to be presented to the community to provoke reaction and encourage engagement.

In the series of workshops,with local people, using techniques of co-design, the graphic visualisation will be developed into creative tools that will enable people to tell their stories visually. I will record all activities in the workshops, and how the workshops will be recorded may be changed from time to time because some people probably do not want to be recorded, or some people may record each other. I will find and develop a co-participatory strategy for recordings.

Then I will analyse them to synthesise to create guidline. Then participants will apply the tools and guideline to express their own narratives as a visual story telling as design fictions. These outcomes will be presented at meetings and exhibitions for comment from other stakeholders.


The tools will be tested in the workshops, it could be evaluated in the exhibitions. then the procedure for the tools will be tested and evaluated in the workshop as open debate.

This project will be disseminated through a regular on-line report and a dossier containing documentation of all the conferences, workshops and exhibitions. In order to facilitate opportunities for encounters between locals and commercial and government stakeholders the exhibitions neighbourhood? It will depend what I will find,


Prediction of the Form of the Final Presentation 

An exhibition and exhibition catalogue documenting of the process, and a written thesis.




Main Study List and Bibliography


• Boyer, C. (1994) The City of Collective Memory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

CABE (2012) the Commision for Architecture and the Built Environment. [Internet] Available from: <http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk> [Accessed December 1st 2012]

• David, J. Hammond, R. (2011) High Line: The Inside Story of New York City’s Park in the Sky : Farrar Straus Giroux.

• Finnegan, R. (1998) Tales of the City. Cambridge University Press,

Grand, S. and Wiedmer, M. Design Fiction: A Method Toolbox for Design Research in a Complex World [Internet] Available from: <http://www.fhnw.ch/hgk/idk/themen/mediendaten_themen/design-fiction-a-method-toolbox-for-design-research-in-a-complex-world> [Accessed January 10th 2013]

• Hoyt, H. (1972) The Structure and Growth of Residential Neighbourhoods in American Cities. Washington, D.C.: Scholarly; Reprint edition.

• Laurel, B (2003) Design Research: Methods and Perspectives. London: MIT Press

• Lynch, K. (1995) City Sense and City Design: Writings and Projects of Kevin Lynch: MIT Press

• Lynch, K. (1960) The Image of the City. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press,.

• Lefebvre, H. (1991) The Production of Space. Oxford: Blackwell.

• Merrick, J (2012) Transforming King’s Cross. London: Merrell

• The National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement (2013) What is the Public Engagement? [Internet] Available from: <http://www.publicengagement.ac.uk/what> [Accessed January 10th 2013]

• Park, E. Ernest, B. Roderick, M. (1967) The City. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

• PROBOSCIS (2012) pioneers of pie in the sky | makers of mischief. [Internet] Available from: <http://proboscis.org.uk> [Accessed December 1st 2012]

• Rose, G. (2001) Visual Methodologies: An Introduction to Researching with Visual Materials. London: Sage Publications Ltd

• Soja, E. (1996) Thirdspace. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

• Soja, E. (2010) Seeking Spatial Justice. Volume 16 of Globalization and Community Series. University of Minnesota Press.

• Till, J. Spatial Agency. The means through which this action or product is achieved. [Internet] Available from: <http://www.spatialagency.net>

[Accessed December 1st 2012]