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cmu maggie ma design systems

mapping a community:

the porch @ pittsburgh.

SYSTEMS (2020)


Caitlyn Baensch, Elena Crites, Rachel Legg, Elysha Tsai


Adobe Illustrator, Indesign 

Understanding how a community is organized, negotiated and maintained, as well as the interactions and interdependencies of a system of stakeholders and power dynamics.


Learned to how to transfer design research into visual diagram using colors, legends, shapes, etc. 


Map a community within Pittsburgh which illustrates and communicates the power dynamics, organizing infrastructure, motivations, and shared values of the community. We chose to map the local Pittsburgh restaurant, The Porch, focusing on their values of sustainability, hospitality, and philanthropy. Our map's layout is inspired by The Porch logo of a firefly.


research + initial mapping

We did extensive research from The Porch website to understand the restaurant's key values, sponsors, customer demographics, food sourcing, etc. Our first map follows an "input output" layout focusing on the "behind the scenes" of the restaurant, such as the staff, management/funding, sourcing, philanthropic efforts, etc. This layout, however, was too much like a diagram rather than a map.

rethinking layout

For our layout, we took inspiration from the Porch logo, a firefly. Each wing represents a value, such as sustainability and hospitality, while the bubbles outside represent other sub-values.


Click to magnify.

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