A Legend in the Making
April 20, 2006 10:44 AM   Subscribe

You are taking a walk around a public place in your city or town. This place is relatively new to you. If you had the opportunity to annotate a map and 'mark up' five categories of interest or experience, which five categories or types of sites might you choose to identify? Sensory experience? Social interaction? Sites of commerce? None of the above? Be as specific or general as you please.
posted by pinto to Society & Culture (19 answers total)
I'd suggest clarifying the reasons why you're asking this question, lest it be deleted as "too chatty."
posted by odinsdream at 10:49 AM on April 20, 2006

New places I visit always seem to have a specific smell to them, especially the more exotic the location is.
posted by nitsuj at 10:50 AM on April 20, 2006

I wasn't aware that every question necessarily warranted a rationale. I am developing a game for an urban public space, and I am asking this question as part of my pilot study, in order to gain insight into how people conceive of public space and might document their experience.

now that a certain creative ambiguity has been lost, i pray the metafilter admins will let us proceed.

heaven forfend chattiness!
posted by pinto at 10:51 AM on April 20, 2006

Bah. I'd want more dimensions. For example:

1. Park/open space
2. Museum or other site of cultural significance
3. Retail
4. Commercial
5. Residential

Overlaid with

1. good hangout
2. interesting architecture or sights
3. wifi hotspot
4. cellular dead spot
5. dangerous neighborhood

Ideally, I would want more than five choices in each dimension, but probably fewer than ten.
posted by adamrice at 10:56 AM on April 20, 2006

pinto, I didn't mean to gripe - I just hate seeing questions deleted because the poster wasn't familiar with deletions in the past. And yes, this seems like one of those questions that, had you not further clarified, could have been deleted.
posted by odinsdream at 11:03 AM on April 20, 2006

I'd be most concerned about meeting my personal needs. Where may I sleep? Where can I find food? Where can I purchase/obtain various necessities? Where may I relieve myself? After that, it would depend on my other goals or purposes. Do I need to earn money? If so, I need to find a place where jobs can be obtained. Am I looking for socialization? I'd need to go where other people hang out and socialize. Recreation? I'll need to know where people go to have fun. And so on from there, attending to my most basic and personal requirements before branching out.
posted by Faint of Butt at 11:05 AM on April 20, 2006

FOOD. That's what I want to experience when I go to a new place. What is the regional cuisine, and where can I experience it? I want a cheese steak in Philadelpia, baked beans in Boston, a slice of pizza or a bagel in New York. Where do I go to get the quintessential cheese steak? Not a fancy restaurant, but regional food, as eaten by regional people.

I also like seeing regular folks doing their thing, shopping, hanging out, whatever. When I have friends come to town, I take them to the museums and stuff, sure, but I also drag them to Eastern Market, to show them that DC is not all politics and dinosaur bones. I'm not into sports at all, but I could see a visit to a popular sporting venue as satisfying this criterion, too. I like going to malls and even Wal-Marts in different areas, as well.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:12 AM on April 20, 2006

1) public toilets
2) cool cemetaries and churches
3) good, cheap food
posted by small_ruminant at 11:20 AM on April 20, 2006

Is this some place I live? someplace I'm visiting? Some place I might live? And partly it depends on what is there - in some downtowns I'd want to know where stores are (San Francisco for example) but in others it hardly matters (Detroit).

I'd want to mark churches/places of worship of all types (can tell you a lot about a neighborhood, and for finding places to worship personally). I'd want to know where the parks/bike paths are. I'd want to know where wi-fi access is. I'd want restaurants.

In my own neighborhood what I'd like is more specific things - names of people/families/pets, and the types of trees/flowers they've got!
posted by dpx.mfx at 11:40 AM on April 20, 2006

1) "how can I be here for a while?" nice places to sit/rest and possibly eat/read [both with people and without people]
2) "I need something." place to get food/bathroom/reading material/electricity/internet/water/correct time/map
3) "what's this all about then?" place to learn more about where I am and where it could lead to (can I hike? can I swim? can I see a play? can I shop? what happened here in the past? what is the significance of this place?)
posted by jessamyn at 11:44 AM on April 20, 2006

1 - clean, easily accessible bathroom
2 - great cup of coffee w/wireless connection, preferably free
3 - someplace with trees, birds and maybe water that is quite and serene.
4 - nice dive bar
5 - tasty food from family run shop

I'm not too sure what you are asking for, but these are all things i would love to pointed out to me on a map.
posted by jessica at 11:46 AM on April 20, 2006

If I had a map that showed a public space and I was recording five things on the map about that space I would want to include information in the following categories (in no particular order):

1. any interesting artistic/sensory features (be they proper art (a big sculpture) or more a feeling (I like the pattern of shadows on the piazza or the gurgling from the fountain))

2. the feeling of safety (am I happy to linger here without getting hassled?)

3. the ability to stay for a while (can I sit/lean/perch here?)

4. the availability of food/drink (can I eat/drink while I stay for a while)

5. people watching possibilities
posted by patricio at 12:06 PM on April 20, 2006

I went to an event once where people marked up a map with "best places to kiss" -- that was fun. Why not be whimsical? "Where the spies would exchange packages." "Best spot to plant a tree." "If I were [spiderman / king kong / able to], the building I would climb."
posted by salvia at 12:10 PM on April 20, 2006

- daily life: coffee place w/ WIFI / lunchspot / resting place next to zipcode (office, home, errand, public transit)
- must try once: famous spots, beautiful garden, etc, specificality food, tourist
- of interest to ___, or networking for __ (literature, architecture, lectures, exhibits, coffee shops for writers)
- free events or places to hang out, more interesting route to walk to get from A to B
- nightlife: music, vibe, drinks
posted by ejaned8 at 12:11 PM on April 20, 2006

The Project for Public Spaces talks a lot to these issues. To see the what-not-to-do, check out the Hall of Shame page
posted by lois1950 at 12:55 PM on April 20, 2006

My wife, an urban planner, often rates public parks by the number of couples making out. I'm not kidding.

Few or none and the space may be unsuccessful for some reason. Several and the space works and makes people comfortable. Too many and the place has something else going on.

She's also a disciple of the Project for Public Spaces.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:45 PM on April 20, 2006

1) examine the skyline, note any landmarks, way signs and snipers
2) note the direction and grade of any slope(s)
3) check for washrooms, payphones, mailboxes and public transit
4) any chicks?
5) rate the place based on my estimate of the chances of finding any loose change
posted by shoesfullofdust at 4:50 PM on April 20, 2006

If you haven't looked around SF0, you should. The folks there have done a lot of thinking about interesting ways to think about and answer this question.

This semi-radical essay on the dérive was particularly enjoyable.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:03 PM on April 20, 2006

I just moved to a new neighborhood, and I've been thinking of making a map of:

* Houses being rennovated.
* Houses for sale.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:52 PM on April 20, 2006

« Older Firefox-arrrgghhhhh!!   |   the cold water faucet is having revenge on me :-( Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.