In a recent article in commarts, John Emerson is describing how asset mapping and visual media can help in building stronger communities and establishing a solid foundation for challenging the status quo.
What is power? It’s an abstract dynamic, an engine behind the visible world. Power can be found in relationships, in the flow of resources or information, in signs, symbols and ideas or built into the environment. There’s no doubt that visual media has the power to influence an audience, but visual media can also be used to visualize power itself. Visualizing power is a way of interpreting and understanding it. And this understanding can become a basis for challenging it. Design can be used to describe and locate power, to pressure those who hold power, and ultimately to facilitate and generate power by bringing people together.
One striking example Emerson is putting forward is the recent opening of the Highline in downtown Manhattan. He is describing how Friends of the Highline effectively employed charts and visuals to create community support, raise funding, fire the imagination of the people und ultimately cultivate political power and support for the realization of the project.