This map illustrates many services for women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood. I worked with Amy, a social work practicum student at WISH Drop-In Centre Society. WISH provides a variety of services for female survival sex workers within a nurturing and non-judgemental environment. The organization said they needed a large map and corresponding brochure to connect people with the resources they need.
Since not everyone who uses these services has access to a computer, it’s important that materials are also printed and easy to understand.
Information changes rapidly in community social services. Amy phoned organizations to verify phone/addresses, identified what relevant services the organizations provided, if there were accessibility concerns (especially at shelters), and other important details.
I took her big list and sorted it out into 19 different categories. Instead of using lists of words and labels, I used pictures/icons and groups of colours to illustrate basic services. This enables people with a variety of literacy levels to read the map. There’s quite a bit of cross-referencing between the categories, including shelters, health care, dental care, counseling, food, income, transportation, advocacy, showers, and locations of drop-in centers.
The final map is just over 2 feet by 3 feet.
Drawing maps is one of my favorite projects, and WISH does important work: “In addition to meeting essential needs by serving nutritious, hot meals, providing showering facilities, dispensing make-up, hygiene items, and clothing, WISH offers on-site nursing care, referrals to detoxification centres, rehabilitation houses, and shelters for upwards of 120 women per night.”
The matching brochure is in black and white and features a custom illustration of the Carnegie Community Center on the front – the heart and ‘living room’ of the Downtown Eastside.
I’ve removed WISH’s drop-in center contact information from these website images. You can reach them at 604-669-WISH (9474).