Putting ‘scarfie’ flats on the map

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Leading the way . . . University of Otago student Sam van der Weerden (20) designed the maps in the Scarfie Flats of Dunedin book. PHOTO: JESSICA WILSON

A University of Otago student has put his touch on a book which explores some of Dunedin’s most famous student flats.

Sam van der Weerden created the maps for Sarah Gallagher and Ian Chapman’s book Scarfie Flats of Dunedin.

The book features about 30 of the city’s student flats and their histories, including Pink Flat the Door, LegenDary and Footrot Flats.

Mrs Gallagher had been researching the flats since 2000, and asked him last year if he could create a map for the book, Mr van der Weerden said.

He created the main map, which was at the back of the book, and several smaller maps to highlight the location of the featured flats.

They took him about 10 hours to make.

Self-taught, he designed the maps by “doodling” with a pencil before working on them on a computer.

“I will just start with a basic grid and just try to work around [it].

“Dunedin is nice in that the city was planned around some kind of grid, so that made it a lot easier because I just drew the streets myself .. rather than take a base map.”

The most important part was to keep it simple and highlight the necessary information.

The flats were colour-coded according to the decade in which they first came into prominence as student flats.

Each of the smaller maps also featured other flats in the area, which was important to provide “context”.

“The whole idea . . . was that these flats don’t exist independently.

“They definitely co-exist in an interesting dynamic.”

Former pubs were also included, such as The Bowler, The Oriental and The Gardies.

Mr van der Weerden said it was a special project to work on, especially since he was from Dunedin.

“Sarah’s done such an amazing job.”

Mr van der Weerden featured in the Otago Daily Times last year, when he redesigned the Dunedin bus map.

He has also created a map of the city’s historic tramway system.