What Can We Learn from Los Angeles' Water Usage?




Each team will be tasked with focusing on a particular aspect of a system in the City of Los Angeles: cultural, logistical/place-based, and ecological/natural. Teams explore each of these systems through the production of a collective knowledge map, utilizing some of the following tools: concept mapping, cognitive maps, data visualization, first and second person research, collecting of key texts, image libraries, and developing own images of systems.


My team was assigned to cover the ecological/natural system in Los Angeles. We came up with key words and answered a few guiding questions regarding our system. Upon looking into and researching our questions, we found that the common and strongest thread between all of them was water. We came up with our main “thesis” and a few main points. Our main points were interconnected, so we wanted to create a design that would enable us to show those connections.

Since my strength and preferred approach to design is research, I read up on the laws and regulations that were currently in place for Los Angeles County. This was pertinent to our points “How are we using it?” and “How have we conserved?” It was difficult to sift through all the legal language, but I was able to glean from it the basic points (which were used in the poster).

Our team’s greatest challenge with this project was during the week right before the final project was due. Up until then, we had a flat graphics. One team member was experimenting with 3D rendering in Illustrator and the professors liked it; therefore, we felt obligated we had to follow this different direction. It was highly risky decision so late in the process of this project. First, this team member was the only one really skilled in creating 3D graphics in Illustrator while the rest of the team had little to no knowledge how to do it. Secondly, I had reservations about this team member solely taking on the task of creating the 3D graphics since he had not been responsive in our team correspondence nor did he attend any of our outside-of-class group meetings. Third, there were issues that arose from taking on this different direction such as the lighting, making the 3D components interacting with each other look realistically feasible (ex. the pipes going in/out the tanks), and making the text on the tanks legible (i.e. balancing the text color and the tank glass reflection).

In the end, I believe the risk was worthwhile. It really pushed my boundaries because normally I personally would not take such a high risk with the given circumstances. But since the team was willingly to try and make the idea work, we were able to implement the new design to our best ability. The end result was much more intriguing that our original flat design.