Museum case study – Model City

Between May – Nov 2015, S.I.D.E Projects delivered Model City, a co-design project to help the world’s premier museum of public transport, London Transport Museum, update their Connections gallery.

The project worked with a group of 10 young designers to update Connections. The central gallery in the museum holding their largest display; Connections includes a huge interactive 3D map of London, which uses realtime open data to show the scale of London’s transport infrastructure and the interrelationships between travel above and below ground.

S.I.D.E Projects led the young designers through a process of research, exploration and co-design, including presenting concepts and prototypes for the physical and interactive elements of the gallery.

Here is a short 4 min film about the project:

Model city project stages:

Project stage 1 – EXPLORE – What has changed in London since 2007?

The project began by exploring changes in London since the Connections gallery was first unveiled. To help their research, the young people looked at architectural exhibits and planned a journey across London, challenging themselves to see the city from the highest points, down to street level. They used as many forms of public transport as they could – buses, boats, bikes, the Tube and DLR. They even tried to go on the cable car, but it was too windy. The knowledge they gathered helped them understand London’s developing architectural landscape and the transport networks that connect the city.

Stage 2 –  DIVERGE – What needs to be added to the Connections gallery?

In the second stage the group used their research to help select 14 new buildings to add to the Connections map. They then worked with design specialists – Makerversity, Instrument-pd and Autodesk® Fusion 360TM – to produce small-scale models of the buildings and concepts for the digital display. After experimenting with traditional prototyping design methods, such as sketching and model-making in foam and card, they produced the final models using cutting edge 3D print software and technology.

They also considered what information might be projected onto the Connections map in order to bring it to life. They learned more about data visualisation and spacial analysis, interviewed museum visitors and presented their creative ideas to London Transport Museum.

Stage 3- SHARE – Bringing Connections to life

The group then worked together with S.I.D.E Projects and the Museum’s design team to to curate a temporary exhibition about their project, which launched the Connections gallery update.


Model City was delivered for London Transport Museum by S.I.D.E Projects in partnership with Instrument-pd and Autodesk® Fusion 360TM. Model City was supported by Arts Council England and the DCMS/Wolfson Gallery Improvement fund. The Model City film was made by S.I.D.E Projects Associate Mmoloki Chrysti.

For more information on the project please visit this blog created by group during their time on the project.