Chart used by the Friends of the High Line to excite the public and win its support. This projected timeline shows plantings and bird species they will attract to the High Line during the first four years. Image Â© 2004. Field Operations with Diller Scofidio Renfro. Courtesy the City of New York.
John Emerson writes about the power of visually mapping power as a tactic to effect positive social change. In the article published in Communication Arts, he uses a variety of different examples such as how Friends of the High Line used visuals to raise the funds to save the elevated rail line in Manhattan and transform it into a unique, elevated public park; the effectiveness of Al Gore's message as designed by Duarte Design; a chart providing the power relationships contained within the civil strife in the Congo or even the process of domestic violence in households. As he says,
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.