How can access to the Soundview waterfront be facilitated? How the connection between Soundview residents and the waterfront can be strengthened in order to increase the community’s environmental consciousness?

Proposal: Thematic Trail Maps for the Bronx Compass school

Students: Sophie Hou, Elsa Kaminsky, Cristobal Oltra, Emily Santoro

The project brief was to engage the Soundview community with the waterfront at their nearby park, where the Bronx River meets the Long Island Sound. We partnered with a local public high school, Bronx Compass, and created “Thematic Trail Maps” using a playful analog map-making toolkit deployed in Soundview Park, entering the acquired data via a LOCAST interface accessed in their classroom. The students were highly engaged with the analog toolkit and equally enthusiastic to translate their experience digitally. The phases of the activity were seamless, from classroom discussion of waterways and ecological consciousness, to a class trip to experience the park in all its potential, to bringing their experiences back to the realm of information technology, an aspect of the school’s curriculum. Even if during the development phase, the team did not distribute the digital maps generated by LOCAST to a larger audience, the hypothesis is that this step would integrate well and enhance the students’ overall learning experience. Communicating and sharing their new perspective on the park and its waterfront with a larger community of friends and family through LOCAST has realistic potential to bring a greater sense of engagement, and stewardship, to the residents of Soundview.