There’s a tag applied to many museums 2.0 articles called “Unusual Projects and Influences.” Posts under that tag tend to examine non-museum things, from department stores to video games to ad campaigns, and attract some design lessons for museums off their foreignness. Today, we take a look at a familiar thing: metropolitan mass transit.
Specifically, we analyze the relative cultural behavior of people on buses versus those on trains, to check out clues regarding what design elements donate to different kinds of participatory behavior. In my own anecdotal research highly, the bus is a far more interpersonal space than the subway or train. The express bus I take most days to get to work feels like a big, uncomfortable family slightly.
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People talk. The bus driver waves as I up bicycle. One guy sings. It’s on the cusp of personal–any moment the individuals reading and chatting might originate into action, to make a change for someone getting on, offer first aid, or follow someone along with his forgotten coat. This post is not intended as a pro-bus manifesto.
Instead, I’m interested in the why. What design elements make buses more social than trains? What aspects of that socialness are desirable in museums (and exactly how might we mirror buses or trains to promote them)? Why do people feel empowered expressing themselves and employ strangers on the bus? Small size, do it again visits. You may take the same beach every day, but chances are that teaching is eight bars long.
This has its positives and negatives. I’m cheered to see the woman who loves to talk hiking, less so the man who flips through mail-order bride catalogs. The better you know the other people, the more the flavor is defined by them of the experience. This sounds risky to institutions like museums, where you want to design the experience through architecture and exhibits, not interpersonal exchanges. But in cases where there is interest to advertise more dialog, it’s worth taking into consideration the power and challenge of a cumulative community to create the feel of the area.
How does he do it again experience in a museum become steadily (and favorably) communal? The drivers provide live facilitation. Bus motorists are welcome, info-desks, guides, games, and protectors all rolled into one. I had not been surprised that most of the images I found on Flickr related to buses showed an open up a door and a smiling driver.