Thursday, 29 October 2009

Tolworth Roundabout

Hi, group F mates,

I've finished Tolworth Roundabout. I tried to understand what roundabout is.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


Hi, there.
I've just finished to draw Chessington.
It took more time than I expected. Hope it is useful.

Hi ah everyone I could only upload a few of teh pictures as the computer was being difficult. Not fair I have a few short video one of his is while we are driving around the roundabout. Im not gonna load them. But I have alot more pictures then this.
I though the way we experienced this place is the most interesting, In a car and walking, public transport. The intereaction even us for an example has given us an insigtht intio this place called tolworth.
Survey ( Tolworth)

1. Age under 18
18 - 25
25 - 30
30 - 40
40 +

2. Gender male female

3. Ethnicity

4. Do you live here/ work here/ both?
- If not where do you live?
- If not where do you work?

5. How do you commute/ get around?
- car
- public transport
- walk
- cycle
- other

6. Do you use the underpass?
- would you use it during your lunch/ recreational time?
- do you feel comfortable using it at night?
- if not would you avoid using it at night or use an alternate route?

7. How would you decribe the area?

8. What makes you feel unsafe here?

9. Are you aware of anti-social behaviour in the area?
- do you have any personal experience of it?

10.What nearby public spaces do you use?

11.Are there any changes to the area that you would like to take place?

Hi everyone,

I have just posted some images that I took at the tolworth underpass over the last week. Tolworth is a very interesting spot full of contrasts and juxtaposition- a real mish mash of people, retail outlets and restaurant options, all the while encapsulated with a ridiculously busy traffic junction, that from observation, never seems to sleep! On initial observation I think we, as a group made the judgement that Tolworth was quite an undesirable area, thrown together. We found stories about anti-social, aggressive behaviour and allowed that to impact our impression. Also my first view of the area was standing in the dimly lit underpass with the noise of the traffic above me! However after our brainstorming session on Monday we got down to business deciding to get some facts about the area, the people and what goes on there in a bid to maybe improve an element of the area.

So our second trip involved noting the different businesses within the area- a lot of international grocery stores and multicultural eateries combined with the usual hair dressers, estate agents and pharmacies as well as a giant M&S. I was there at rush hour time between 4.30 and 7.30. I got to speak to and observe many types of people of varying ages, race and sex. By being able to survey different people we got a good feel for the area. The general concensus that I got was that most people would definately not want to spend their recreational time in amongst the whizzing of cars on the roundabout park. In fact one woman told us that she tried it one time- she wanted to get some fresh air at lunch time and tried to visualise that she was in some exotic place.....but unfortunatley her imagination wasnt strong enough!! the noise really is quite overpowering. Also a lot of people didnt feel very safe walking through the underpass at night- one girls reason was that if she got attacked no-one would be ablee to hear her screams. The main suggestions people gave for improvements were to have the walkways open and over the road ( bridges) as opposed to underpasses or to have better lighting. What I didn't like was the steel bubbles that I have photographed. Their aim is to mirror oncoming people but for me they were quite eery and unclear, if you were walking at night alone you wouldnt be able to see if anyone was hiding or not!

I was pleasantly surprised by the politeness of people, especially as they were being stopped in a dark underpass on their way home from work and being asked to do a survey.....I was expecting a lot more rude rejections but I luckily didnt get any! Myself and Susanna also monitered the age, race and gender of people passing by between 6pm and 7pm to try and get a better picture of the local inhabitants. Again it was very mixed. Now we need to assess everybodys findings and see what we can come up with.....

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Hi everyone,

I got pictures from tolworth yesterday and also i will post them tomorrow. I also have to say I did some research into potential ways of creating benches with raised surfaces with the colors of sweet wrappers as the inspiration fading into gravel effect on the bottom. Lunch time, I was thinking there was no such exciting thing outside from my experience. Also I was going to design integrated bins into the casted benches but then I noted the hazardous factors such as bombs. I tough of clear polystyrene moulded bins chessington with separate sectioned parts from different types of litter. Any way i will post linear drawing with the pictures soon.

My experience of tolworth it was loud, noisy run down. Safe was what most interviewees said but it looked like people where living on a motor-way. In fact they are and I dont know how they cope with it. we got some really interesting feedback. I will keep posting as much as possible. cool.

Typo error

In my previous post the perception of anti-social behaviour should have read 'not based on fact' rather than 'now based on fact'. A pretty different outcome.


Update on site visit to Tolworth

Faraz and I took a drive to the other side (east?) of the roundabout yesterday and also North on the A3 to look at the housing stock in the area. Although it wasn't exactly public housing there was a definite air of 'in need of modernisation' as the estate agents might put it. The odd thing is, there are no estate agents. Well, one actually but they only handled lettings as no one is selling.

Due to the lack of estate agents we came up with a hasty Plan B and talked to some of the other shop keepers and a few people on the street. The general consensus seems to be that the area is pretty safe, run down, possibly boring to live in. People do use public transport and most thought the buses were good. People also seemed OK with using the underpass. The only ones who didn't use it said it was more due to the fact that it was quite a long way round rather than any inherent personal safety issues. Of the 13 people we spoke to only one had had a bad experience in the subway - young teens (13-16) gathering on Friday and Saturday evenings drinking beer had thrown empty cans at him. He still used the underpass out of necessity but was nervous about it. The addition of the mirrors had helped though.

There are some parks and they seem popular with locals although a couple of them thought that more kids facilities would be good e.g.more swings, slides etc. Generally there is a lack of amenities though. People would drive to Surbiton and Malden for supermarket shopping, swimming pools, cinemas etc.

The really surprising thing that we discovered is a plan to put a bridge over the roundabout and a green walkway down the middle of the Broadway. Check out This seems like a really good idea but whether it will ever get funded remains to be seen. What is immediately apparent is that the central barrier on the Broadway and the roundabout mean that the shops and facilities are really separated. It's difficult to get from one side of the Broadway to the other without either taking your life in your hands or a long walk around. One business owner on Tolworth Rise South said he regularly (up to 10 times a day) saw people walking along the side of the road above the A3 and working their way around the roundabout rather than go all the way round to the underpass. He also observed that, because of the barriers, both the roundabout and the Broadway central reservation, there was a lot of similar businesses but they tended not to affect each other as people were effectively stuck on one side or the other. He also noted that because the whole area was developed all at once in the 60's it has pretty much all decayed at the same rate giving this overall run-down feeling.

The main businesses are fast food by quite a margin with the only supermarkets being the lower end brands - Budgen and Iceland. There also seem to be quite a few 'business to business' suppliers too.

The general overview would be friendly but run-down. A possible perception of anti-social behaviour, particularly from outside people, but now based on fact. In need of updating and a major re-planning of the area. Parking is a major issue so people will walk or use public transport rather than drive if they can. What local amenities there are get used but more would be better. That's all for now.


Tolworth Observation 26/10/09

Last night I, Stacey, Sigi, Roisin, Susanna and Maja went to Tolworth roundabout. We were there from 5pm to about 8pm. 

First off I found it really interesting , when we arrived it was dusk -starting to get dark. I felt that peoples responses to the area changed as it grew darker. 

Its also very clear that peoples perceptions of the area with the underpasses vary from "I've never had any trouble here in 3.5 years " to " your shouldnt be hanging around here its really dangerous". I am really curious as to why some people have one perception of this place verses the other.

One thing ive come up with is the time of day, commuters who do not live in the area and who pass through feel safe, but people who live there and maybe have to use it as a way to get home after an evening out felt more threatened. 

One particular man I spoke to had some very strong responses to our questionnaire. In general the questions we were asking were," do you feel safe here" and "how would you change it".... He was the person who told me it was really "dodgy" there and I shouldn't be there.

This man said the area was frequented by polish drunks who hung around on the park benches, he said he had been attacked by them and feared for his life once. He told me he was a demolition worker and that he was finding it hard to get work as the polish people would do his job for alot less money. Im still unsure of how the conversation turned to race/ethnicity, but it did. His friend said that "we are in the minority around here now". I found this statement to be loaded. It would appear that perhaps this area is one of racial tension. I asked them would they vote for the BNP , they said maybe. Last night I watched the questiontime debate with Nick Griffin and Jack Straw et al, What came across to me was the ignorance of the mainstream politicians in dealing with peoples real honest concerns for immigration which has lead to the appeal of the BNP in disillusioned areas of racial tension. Is tolworth an area of such tension?

Although this might seem irrelevant, the task we have been set is to observe peoples rituals and habits. If one person feels threatened to a point which leads to him voting for a right wing fascist political party then what does that say about inner city living , tolworth, immigration and life. 

Can we design integration?

Other people who felt threatened used words like "seclusion". They felt there was not enough people around to make them feel safer.

A bus driver spoke about colleagues being robbed in the underpasses but said that had not occurred since oyster cards had been introduced. Maybe money should become electronic? Its clear to see that less people are carrying cash, instead using credit or debit cards, I wonder has this influenced the instances of muggings?

Light was a huge factor, lamp posts that are there are not functioning. What a waste, why can these not be maintained? People said the police dont do anything about there concerns. Why? Under resourced perhaps?

All in all it was an interesting evening. 

Monday, 26 October 2009

Observation @ Chessington.


2 and a half D map

This is what I have been working on. It is a 2 and a half dimensional paper map of Tolworth roundabout. I originally started making it for us to understand the structure of this roundabout.

The roads cross over each other and the underground pedestrian passages are actually connected as they are in real.

A thought came to me that what I'm troubled most about intersections is that I get confused how to get where I want to go (like the one around imax theatre in Waterloo!). So, I think there should be easy-to-understand maps for the pedestrians around the roundabout. Not getting lost will also contribute to the safety there.

I will continue working on making a map(maps).