Still Not Good At These Titles | Micah Epstein Industrial Design ’19
Alright! I’ve officially settled into this fellowship for the summer. I would say that the “honeymoon phase” of the summer has finished, which comes with some perks, a couple learning lessons, and, as always, some shiny examples of my latest projects!
I feel like this period is defined by consistency. I’ve established a consistent schedule, and become comfortable enough with my supervisors and coworkers to tweak what times I can come in and leave the office. I’m really thankful that this type of flexible scheduling exists at the city level, and speaks a lot to the progressive nature of this department.
Part of this flexibility has come out of my most recent project – fieldwork in the major commercial corridors of the city, identifying possible locations for bike racks.
Feeling very official with my city-provided clipboard. The second map shows all the places I have gotten to survey. Doing this all by bike has been a really good workout and a really good way to explore the city.
This project has taken me all over Providence, allowing me to see wards, streets, and communities that I never knew existed! RISD is a prestigious and innovative institution, but this often times mean its community can be a bubble. Because of this, I’m really thankful that I have gotten the opportunity to explore Providence in this way, at this stage of the fellowship, to build a broader mental map of the city I am designing for.
I personally believe that experiencing the breadth of your city firsthand is fundamental to good urbanism, for civic professionals and citizens alike. I also believe that cars are actively detrimental to those experiences; Making neighborhoods blend together to the drivers while compromising the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists who seek those experiences. One of my biggest takeaways from this project has been the awful impact that automobility has on our cities. Cars blow past me, honking at me for inconveniencing them from reaching speeds that can kill. But by no means is this the driver’s fault! Vital businesses like clinics, grocery stores, pharmacies, and discount stores are far away from where people live and work, yet often grouped together, two or three to the same block.
I’ve gotten into the habit of taking pictures on my phone during this project. Cities designed around cars have a lot of places that no one would choose to go. However, I wanted to highlight places that I thought had interesting colors or configurations that with some small interventions might be more inviting and useful to humans.
My last and longest term project has been the traffic education campaign that I mentioned in the last post. I am now just putting on the final touches and integrating the Spanish translations, and then we will be getting ready to build a landing page on the Providence site and begin sharing on social media.
I’m really happy with how these turned out. I think the visual language is both eye-catching and referential to traffic signs / signals, and I’ve really enjoyed thinking about multilingual design (something that’s really important for city-distributed resources like these!)
I think I’m still struggling to think about how to distribute these beyond the social media follower base of the city. The difficulty here is a lack of budget for the project, meaning I have to stay digital with it (printing can get expensive fast!). Let me know in the comments below if you have any ideas for further reaching digital distribution!
That’s all the project news I’ve got for you. On a personal note though, today is my 21st birthday! It’s a perfect day for it. Friday the 13th is actually an auspicious day for lots of Pagan belief systems (its unlucky connotations are patriarchal and Christian dogma). Not only that but its also just a Friday! Definitely lucky that my first foray into drinking culture falls on a day where I don’t work tomorrow 😉
I’ll post pics from tonight when I have them!
Thanks for reading! Until next time.
// micah epstein //