The Los Angeles Conservancy, the largest local historic preservation group in the United States, produced a terrific online multi-media exhibit of Wilshire Boulevard called Curating the City. Using motion graphics, mapping, text, photographs, and digital hotspots, the program explores the history and geography of one of the nation’s iconic roadways, the West Coast equivalent of Detroit’s Woodward Avenue or Philadelphia’s Broad Street.
What’s so cool about this example of multi-media storytelling is how quickly it loads and how easy it is to use. The prompts are readily visible, and the graphics are strikingly good. The public interest measure of this application, moreover, is how Curating the City invites viewers to consider visually how much of Wilshire Avenue has resisted decades of change even as it’s undergone momentous transformation. It’s that knowledge of place that drives how metropolitan regions react to the myriad forces of change that are ever-present. Using multi-media tools to enable people to see the context of change is vital to making measured decisions in all the realms of urban design.