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OLD SMOKEY STEERING COMMITTEE

The "Old Smokey" waste incinerator operated in Coconut Grove, Miami, for over 40 years, creating a build-up of toxic waste pollution in highly residential areas. The Old Smokey Steering Committee, a community group in Coconut Grove, aims to spark civic action in cleaning up the polluted areas as well as raise awareness of the events and problems surrounding the old incinerator.

As a part of a course at the University of Miami, I had the opportunity to work on a project designing and helping to build a website for the Old Smokey Steering Committee. The purpose of the site is to have an online, centralized source of information concerning the incinerator and committee, including a docmentary produced by the University of Miami Law School, historical photos, information for those wanting to become involved, and information for residents who may have been affected or who know someone who was affected.

The website should not only serve as an information source, but also tell the story of Old Smokey and Coconut Grove.

old smokey desktop

Solution

My approach on this project was to create a fairly simple, easy-to-navigate site that presented the important information, such as faqs and contact information, clearly. I also wanted the site, especially the "History" and "Documentary" pages, to have an erie or grim feel. Those two pages specifically - History and Documentary - tell the story of how soot and smoke from incinerated waste rained down on and consumed a community for decades, polluting their land for decades to come. This dark backdrop sets the tone of the history and works seamlessly with the documentary on a desktop.

I used Photoshop to create a smokey texture and the colors gray and green as the primary colors of the palette to reference the smoke and the city of Miami (green, or orange and green, are iconic colors of the city). The remainder of the pages - those with information for residents, surveys, and contact information - still have the green and gray but are overall lighter and have a more structured, Q&A style layout so that people looking for information can easily navigate those sections.

Using javascript, I created a split-screen scrolling effect (on desktop) with the home page so that the text would be halted at specific points while the viewer scrolled through a series of images. This was a custom Wordpress theme built over the Bones theme that I wrote much of the css and javascript for. It is now managed by The University of Miami.