Parsons School of Design

BFA Communication Design

Thesis 2018

Lanie Nowak
Mapping Manhattan
Lanie Nowak
Mapping Manhattan

When thinking of powerful personal experiences, we often think about the specific locations that have shaped our memories. Over time, memory has been proven as a tool to place our experiences and when we revisit certain locations, emotions are triggered, transporting us back in time.

Mapping Manhattan is a location-based app, allowing users to discover memories from various New Yorkers. The app notifies users when they are in the geographic location of a recorded memory, and allows them to move through that memory. The app is a collection of archival photographs that leads to the written and aural recording of an experience. As the user moves through the images and quote, the larger picture from the past is revealed. The final piece of the experience is an external article that expands on the quote, providing more insight into each memory. The past is highlighted in this app to emphasize how much New York City has changed architecturally and culturally as a city. The color blue is utilized throughout, highlighting the modern architectural infiltration alongside shades of gold, symbolizing the 1970s and the past.

Manhattan is an island of memories that are inextricably linked to place. Modern changes in the city allow for new memories to be made, but also for the erasure of previous historical experiences and architectural relics. It is important to preserve what was by embracing memories of the city’s past; but also by embracing what is, we can pave the way for the city’s future.

Thomas Nghia Nguyen
Satoe Onizuka