I recently illustrated a map of the Vancouver-Hastings provincial electoral area for a member of the Legislative Assembly.
I love organizing information, and maps are one way to visualize neighbourhood assets.
This time I photographed my process before it hit the recycling bin.
For this project, the final image was going to fit on an 8.5 x 11 inch page, so I got out paper that’s about 1.5 times as big. Working from an Elections BC map, I sketched the map as a rectangle and put in the boundaries. I had a list of icons that were going to fit on the map – community centres, the library, other resources – and I wanted to see where they spread out.
Drawing it in a big square helped me see where things were placed in the neighborhood, but it was a bit boring.
Next, I redrew the map slanting with a perspective towards the water. It’s more interesting and the buildings were going to give it height.
The next draft I thought I’d add people or symbols for each building: books at the library, recreation at the community centre … and dropped that idea once I realized I couldn’t encompass the diversity of activities. That would have to wait for a different type of mapping project – social mapping or community mapping, and not just a location-based map.
Getting closer …. There were a few edits made at this stage: moving the Vancouver East Cultural Centre to the correct side of Hastings (oops) and adding the high schools.
Next up: a cleaner copy to show the Vancouver-Hastings Office.
The last step was to get up early, make coffee, clean all my tools, and carefully paint it in watercolour and ink a little bigger than the final image size. Then I taped it down, photographed the watercolour outside on a cloudy day, and brought it into Adobe CS6 for the final work. You can see this painting is a little more brown than the final version, which was given more pops of red and yellow.
And here’s the final image again:
There’s richness in maps as a community-building tool. They’re a powerful way to find out about communities. It’s often called community-based asset mapping and here are some quick resources on that topic:
- Asset Based Community Development Institute (NW University) http://www.abcdinstitute.org/publications/
- Vibrant Canada: http://vibrantcanada.ca/resource-library/community-asset-building/using-asset-mapping-asset-based-community-development
- Langara College often has lectures or courses about this in the sustainability program: http://www.langara.bc.ca/continuing-studies/community-lecture-series/index.html