How can a space be socially mobile? (Initial outline)

Social mobility


Thinking in terms of the urban landscape, London is like a sumptuous multi-layered cake, with the layers representing the various demographics, ethnicities and work practices. I decided to slice through it as a means to answering my research question –

How can a space be socially mobile?

Deciding on the means of slicing wasn’t easy as I had a host of ideas and wasn’t initially sure which one would provide my question with the necessary visual narrative.


Social mobility - Stanmore to Stratford


I finally chose the tube as my visual vehicle as the train itself (as opposed to the network) is a series of small, delineated spaces – the carriages – and would be more manageable to work with than if I made the same trip above ground. Below ground the amount of data would be controllable – a fixed number of stations on the line and only a certain number of people can get on – whereas the amount of data if I were to cross London above ground would be overwhelming. Additionally I decided to only work in a segment of the carriage, as I would need to see who was getting off and on, and wouldn’t be able to do this if I tried to cover the whole carriage. I settled on a section with fourteen seats, in two rows of seven.

I chose the Jubilee Line as it bisects London north-west to south-east passing through a broad range of neighbourhoods with different socio-economic demographics. It also passes through the capital’s centres of commerce, tourism, power and finance, an important point.

The posts on this page (up next week 1/12/14) that relate to social mobility are a sensory response to my question, or are otherwise visual experiments resulting from my initial brainstorm.

The final part of this introduction should be about what I’ve discovered, but as I haven’t started my investigation in earnest, I’ll leave it…




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