New Places, Red Carpets, Smart Maps
The project critiques our experience, and the ways we transit, of new places. It views the commons as an agile, kinetic, and smart phenomenon, looking to all kind of spaces, both physical and digital, that can give us a feeling of collectivity.
Our collective experience of Amsterdam Noord was of the unavoidable bicyclists and inescapable bicycle-lanes, which we affectionately described as ‘red carpets.’ And it wasn’t just the continuity of colour that we found common, it included the connectivity of these lanes, their textures, the interactions of bicyclists, their local shortcutting, the networked arrangement of adjacent spaces, a skeleton to leftover spaces, and its spiderweb-like diagram.
Our investigation begins with this approach: the bicycle-lane, and its streetscape, as a sort of common. It takes seriously, however random it may appear, a given route provided to us by GoogleMaps, and begins to draw out the realities and potentials along this urban realm. As is now common, we located on our smartphone and laptop devices our start (ferry point) and end (NDSM) destinations, our method of transit, and our preference for speed or scenery. The results (routes) were unknown to us as newcomers to this city, and yet we trusted Google’s directions.
We, of course, opted for a route favourable for a bicyclist, and the fastest option. Our route starts and ends at two areas of strong collectivity. At the ferry point people collect and at NDSM people connect. We see the space in-between, a skeleton of spaces yet to be fully developed, as a place of charged opportunity and future possibilities.