Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research

Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research

KaleidoscopeLA: Experiential Cartography of Urban Daily Life


Carla De Lira


Bryan Rasmussen, Assistant Professor of English, California Lutheran University

Phenomenology is an interdisciplinary field of study, borrowing from philosophy, sociology and psychology that explores how humans register their experience of their built environments. KaleidoscopeLA.Org derives from this study about spatial experience to provide a new perspective about daily routes in Los Angeles. Although conventional maps like Google Maps are successful in street navigation, this project gives attention to the individuals' experience of their environments which have been forgotten in maps. KaleidoscopeLA includes an online collection of daily routes as a way to navigate Los Angeles not only by the standards set by conventional maps, but by the variety of emotional connections associated with users' frequented environments. In Phase I, the phenomenological ideas of theorists such as Yi Fu Tuan, David Seamon, and Michel de Certeau were used to create the website's conceptual framework for the Javascript-based map display. The display shows, through multicolored lines and dots, the way an individual's experience interconnects with others within their community. Phase I also required collecting initial routes in Downtown by asking random pedestrians to illustrate their route experience on a paper map. Phase II expanded to neighborhoods outside of Downtown by collecting routes more efficiently with a map drawing application that provides several map templates and drawing tools. This Javascript-based drawing application is necessary to enable users to map their route, to express their route experience, and to contribute to the website's collection via online. Ultimately, KaleidoscopeLA shows how recording these routes contributes to community identity when present on the streets where perfectly drawn lines do not exist. These routes are important to Los Angeles and other cities because the individuals who walk on these streets are responsible for the community's prosperity. Without people's constant tendency to make significance of their environments, there would be no bustling, diverse communities like Los Angeles.

Presented by:

Carla De Lira


Saturday, November 17, 2012




Broome Library

Presentation Type:

Poster Presentation


Environmental Science