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Tag "London"

The busy city is one of them in recent years much overused mental images. It is busy of course and major hubs such as London even more so. The rise of mapping and visualisation since 2005 supplied a wealth of actual images and renderings illustrating the busyness of urban areas in colour and depth, not just in numbers.

Traffic is, of course, one of the foremost topics here perfectly lending itself to the subject. It is a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy though using the rush hour to illustrate the madness of the daily migration. There you are, look at how busy the busiest airport in the world is.

That is the conundrum much of the recent debate around urban area management is facing. It is revolving around the established assumptions continuously enforcing them unable to break the spell to reach beyond. If we keep looking at the numbers, lines and trailing dots not much is coming from it any longer. Even the excitement is subsiding, and insight is scarce.

Where are the real hocks to wring some insight from the pool of information? Is it visions that are lacking or the absence of a coherent urban concept to frame the question?

Video taken from the Guardian / Layers of London air traffic build up over 24 hours – video animation. “A video animation shows the layers of air traffic associated with each of London’s five major airports over a 24-hour period. Made in July last year the visualisation illustrates the buildup of more than 3,000 flights a day handled by air traffic controllers as well as more passing over the capital”.

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This will be some new stuff. Welcome to urbantick’s new home! Yes, it is WordPress, and it has a brand new custom domain – www.urbantick.org also the previously used urbantick.eu domain will still be working ahh.. redirecting here.

It has been in the making for too long, but that doesn’t matter now. It’s back, it’s fresh and its same old stuff.


Walled City Andy young


aerial photography

With this online move, the real home of urbantick is also relocating. It started out at CASA at UCL back in 2008 and had then moved to the IArch at FHNW for a couple of years. Its new home is in Calgary at the Department of Environmental Design. Some might remember the Twitter work on Calgary that we did back in the days.

NCL Calgary

There is a NCL Calgary map and a aNCL visualisation on Vimeo.

There is a host of new topics to be expected, but we’ll keep an eye on the developing issues of urban-related stuff from around the world. There is also a trove of recent research around typology and technology that hasn’t yet found its way onto this platform awaiting publication.


Anyhow, same old, same old let’s plough on. Good read and please comment as you see fit or get in touch.

We have to wait and see…..

  1. Image taken from My Modern Met by Andy Young / Walled City #03, from the series Walled City. Drone footage of urban areas in China. Check out his portfolio here.
  2. Image taken from My Modern Met by Andy Young / Walled City #01, from the series Walled City. Drone footage of urban areas in China.
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London has seen a boom in inner-city developments over the past five to ten years. Large areas have been transformed, become densified in many ways and existing development has been replaced to make way for huge investments. Along it came a number of landscape projects to design pleasing outdoor spaces.

London is comparably green for its size with many streets tree-lined and many public parks. However, the everyday location in this bustling city is still dominated by hard surfaces. Greenery is rare and often not maintained. Especially with the government’s ongoing austerity programmes, the local councils struggle to keep up maintenance.

To distinguish themselves investors invest big in the design of the surroundings of their buildings. It underlines the quality to justify sky-high rents. The public is invited in to generate footfall for rented spaces. Where previously private property was fenced off, investors have discovered the potential of beautiful spaces. It seems a win-win situation, the public gets more greened spaces, the local councils get well maintained outdoor spaces and the investors can secure their investment.

The numerous places that have sprung up across London are now documented in a new JOVIS publication Landscape Observer: London by Vladimir Guculak. The book acts as a guide, but also a repository of not just a handful, but some 89 projects. Ranging from large-scale projects like Kings Cross redevelopment in central London to the Cutty Sark Gardens in Greenwich and other smaller projects.

Image own / Title page of the pubication Landscape Observer: London, by Vladimir Guculak, 2017.

Each project is in detail documented with photographs by the author, a landscape architect himself, with additional information about location, size, year, designer, nearest public transport and accessibility information. Each chapter is proceeded by a map that helps locate each open space in the context of the city.

It is a beautifully designed publication complete with artwork by the author. With the photographic documentation, the publication gives an overview of the project and a number of detail shots to highlight specific areas and in some cases construction details. Along the photos, the author does give a brief listing of plants included, materials used and other special features such a street furniture and lighting.

Image taken from London Fieldwork / Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven

It also features a personal favourite the Duncan Terrace Gardens (p.18). With a very inspiring artwork by London Fieldwork Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven. Or the nice-to-be-in-the-summer-with-kids Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain in Hyde Park.

The weather is always extremely sunny throughout this publication and everything is documented in bloom with green lush leaves. It might seem a good idea to show summer, but landscaping has to work 12 months a year not only three or four. This is especially true for English weather and seasons. Colourful autumn leaves are as beautiful if not more so and stormy or rainy conditions can make for dramatically romantic scenes. So not why not make use of it?

However, there are some more important problems with this publication. And it’s not that something like the John Lewis Rain Garden (p.81) designed by the prominent designer (Nigel Dunnett) of the 2012 Olympic Parc in Stratford (now Queen Elizabeth Olympic Parc) features as a model “public space”. The main problem is the nonchalant attitude towards public space.

Public space is one of the most important principles to an accessible and shared city that is open to everyone. It is highly political and can be linked to the concept of the city-state in ancient Greece with the Agora, the foundation of democracy. See for example Sennett, Richard, 1998. The Spaces of Democracy, 1998 Raoul Wallenberg Lecture or Henry Lefebvre, 1974 (1991 e). The Production of Space, Blackwell. p.237-241. We don’t need to launch into a manifesto for the open city here, others have done so much more thoroughly. Nevertheless, the open and shared spaces are fundamental to living together in an open democratic city.

The problem with public spaces is the creeping rise of POPS or pseudo-public spaces. These spaces look and feel like public spaces but are in fact private spaces. They are on privately owned land and therefore are governed by a very different set of rules. Rules that are made up by the private owner and rarely publicly shared. The fact that one can access a street, a square or a riverside does not for a long shot make it public space.

The Guarding has recently run a couple of stories on the rise of pseudo-public spaces in London and together with GiGL put together a database of such spaces in the UK and especially London. The Guardian has put together a quick guide to POPs here, listing important points such as “…appear to be public but are actually owned and controlled by developers and corporations.” or “…“Pops” – are not subject to ordinary local authority bylaws but rather governed by restrictions drawn up the landowner and usually enforced by private security companies”, noting “…public access to pseudo-public spaces remains at the discretion of landowners” and “…alter them at will. They are not obliged to make these rules public.”

Image taken from the Guardian / Map shwing the pseudo-public spaces around central London. The data has been put together in colaboration between the Guardian and GiGL and is available as open data.

Image taken from the Guardian / View of Canary Square, Kings Cross with square and fountain and the UAL in the background.

One of the most prominent areas of these new breeds of urban spaces is the area around Kings Cross with Granary Square, Wharf Road Gardens, Gasholder Park and more. It has become over the past two or so years a very popular meeting place with new restaurants, soon to be open shopping, housing and the UAL at the centre of it. It is a very cleverly disguised pseudo-public space with the university at the centre, a very large square with a sort of public program and fountain as well as access to the Regents Canal, Kings Cross and St. Pancras station.

All of these are listed in the discussed publication as examples and many more such as St Pancras Square and Regents Place to list a few. Interestingly the author does make a reference to what he calls “political activists” presumably campaigning for public spaces. Examples listed on other news sites such as BigThink list some of the implications:

In 2011, Occupy protesters were removed from Paternoster Square, outside the London Stock Exchange, on the grounds that they were trespassing on private land owned by the Mitsubishi Estate Company.

In Pancras Square, part of King’s Cross Estate, lying down on the grass is okay, but not sleeping. One homeless man told the Guardian that as soon as he shuts his eyes, he is accosted by security guards.

Taking pictures is becoming increasingly problematic, with photographers being informed by security guards that they are on private land, and their activity is subject to prior permission – even in what looks like public space, such as Tower Place, adjacent to the Tower of London.

Public drinking is considered sufficient reason for removal from certain Pops.

A lot of data has been put together by GiGL and the Guardian on sites in London and has been published as open data here.

This implicates the publication and the approach to some extent. It raises serious questions about the use of terminology or the understanding put forward of public and space. But it does not question the intention of the author. It was put together from a practitioners point of view, probably aimed at peers. Focusing on materials and practices, but then was opened to a wider audience, as hinted in the foreword.

Image own / Spread of the pubication Landscape Observer: London, by Vladimir Guculak, 2017.

Not just, but especially as professionals in urban planning, landscape architecture, architecture, public officials and other roles involved in the planning and maintenance of public spaces, we have to be extremely careful and precise with the terminology to ensure and preserve these fundamentally important features of an open and accessible city, our open society and ultimately democracy are not undermined.

Never the less it is one of the most comprehensive collections of recent landscape architecture projects in the centre of London and as such a valuable contribution, even if vague regarding terminology and location mapping. Extensive preview available on the publisher JOVIS’ website

Image own / Cover of the pubication Landscape Observer: London, by Vladimir Guculak, 2017.

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London was the first city we collected Twitter data for when we started to create the New City Landscape (NCL) project, monitoring location based Twitter activity in urban areas. This was back in May 2010 and since we have collected data for a lot more cities from around the world.

We have now finally also an animated NCL (aNCL) version using the same dataset. This part of the project was only developed earlier this year in collaboration with Anders Johansson at CASA and we are trying to catch up on the different cities we have data for. A series of aNCL visualisations has already been realised.

aNCL London
Image by urbanTick for NCL / Showing four screenshots taken from the aNCL visualisation for a weeks worth of Tweets in and around London. The timings are midnight, morning, afternoon and evening. Each do is a tweet, re-tweets show a lin between sender and re-sender.

There are only very few features we are using for these visualisations. A characteristic landscape feature to roughly describe the urban area and the 30 km collection radius parameter to provide scale. Other than that there are only the individual Twitter messages that were collected over the period of one week. THe animation superimposes all seven days in to 24 hours.

With the visualisation we are highlighting the way information disseminates through re-tweeting of messages. An RT message will show a thin yellow line between original sender and re-sender. The information travels at some speed, which is based on the time it takes between sending and resending.

London, even though the data is already a year old is compared to other cities a very busy place in Twitter terms. We have a lot of individual messages, but more interesting there are quite a lot of different interactions happening simultaneously. Where as other cities don’t show a lot of interaction, in London the sharing of information is quite an important part of tweeting. An interactive, but static activity map can be found at London NCL.

Its great to see how London wakes up between 07h30 and 09h00 in the morning after a moderat night. Then there is however, not very much sharing at this point of the day. Only after lunch and especially later in the afternoon the sharing really starts in London. It is almost as if the city was to digest the information it had created earlier in the day, reprocessing it and passing it on.

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It is now only One Year to Go! for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Summer Games 2012 here in London. The big event is moving closer by the day. Officials are eagerly pointing out that the planning and the preparation work is on schedule, very well in shape, but still has a mountain of work to do.

However, this One Year landmark is a moment for reflection and aso litte celebration. The Twitter hastag will be #1yeartogo The past weekend was filed with Olympic activities. To now celebrate and look forward to the games is definitely a more positive note after recently the ticket sale filled the media. There were a lot of disappointed Olympics fans after the ticket lottery announced the results. In that first phase, 700,000 successful applicants secured 3m tickets. In the second, a further 160,000 or so were accounted for. In total, Locog has shifted 6m tickets in a matter of months, which the chief executive, Paul Deighton, estimates makes it the most popular event of all time. THere seems to be a decent chance for unsuccessful applications of previous rounds to stil get a ticket as the Guardian reports.

Olympic Stadium One Year to go
Image taken from London2012 / A unique aerial image shows the number ‘1’ mown into the grass in the Olympic Stadium, starting the celebrations to mark one year to go until the Games begin.

Looking at the workload ahead, Britain’s olympics minister Hugh Robertson says there will be ‘difficult moments’ in the run up to the games, but that ‘we are in a very good place’ as he is quoted in the Guardian.

In terms of venues the largest part is taking place i the Lea Valley and a lot of the infrastructure is already in place. Most of the to be built venues are in their final stage or finished. The Olympic Stadium is has the turf laid already with the tracks being worked on at the moment. The Velodrome was one of the first venues to actually being handed over. Construction work started in March 2009 and Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy was involved in the design consultation.

Olympic Velodrom inside view
Image taken from London2012 / An inside view of the Olympic velodrome as it shall be ready for the London Games 2012.

What the venues are going to be is probably mostly known by now, the very big question is what the legacy of the games will be. THer is a lot of discussion and confusion around the ownership of the Olympic Stadium as well as other venues. Some venues will be demolished, but others such as the Velodrome and the Aquatics centre will be taken over by the respective sport groups.

However there is more to the legacy than only the venues. There will be a massive Lea Valley park that needs maintaining for the public and there is the large transport schema Londoners have been promised. All these things are currently being talked about. The Guardian reports: “There is significant conversion work to be undertaken and the Park is likely to be closed for the best part of a year. But the Olympic Park Legacy Company, mindful of capitalising on the excitement around the Games, has resolved to open it up in sections as quickly as possible and is seeking legacy operators for everything from the vast swimming complex to the Arcelor Mittal tower that towers over the stadium.”

The two maskots Wenlock and Mandaville are also very busy touring and promoting the Olympics and the Paralympic. The two characters of the Olympics are currently trying out the different spots disciplines around the UK visiting schools and sports facilities. On their website they introduce themselves: “Hi, I’m Wenlock, the London 2012 Olympic mascot… and I’m Mandeville, the London 2012 Paralympic mascot! We’re on a journey around the UK, making friends and finding out all about the Olympic and Paralympic sports. Explore our website to find out more about us and join us on our journey. Come back often – there’s always something new. Have fun!”

Olympic Mascots
Image taken from London2012 / The mascots fo the London Games 2012 trying out some of the sports to feature at the Olympics.

So what to do for this last year to go. There are many ways to get involved, as a volunteer or as a torch-bearer to carry the Olympic torch on its way across the UK. After the chaos around the traveling torch on its world tour pre Beijing Olympics the committee has scraped the idea of sending it around the world. The torch travels from Peloponnese to Land’s End were it arrives on the 18 May 2012 to travel 8000 miles across the UK. Some of the main event sponsors still accept applications if you are interested to run with the torch.

Olympic Park Aerial_110714_120
Image taken from London2012 / An arial view of the site currently (July 2011) for the London Games 2012. The three central elements are the Olympic Stadion, the Aquatic centre and in the middle the View Tower by Anish Kapoor a it is under construction. It is going to be Britain’s biggest piece of public art, a 120 metres tall looping tower.

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I am at GeoCom 2011 today. It takes place at UCL here in London from today (20 – 22 of July). The conference focuses on geo computation with focus on complexity and modeling. The keynote today was given by Professor Peter Nijkamp from Vrije Universiteit, Netherlands as ‘Digital environments and ‘real world’ geographies‘. THe detailed program can be found HERE.

I will be presenting a poster on social networks based on Twitter data. The plot is using the data that was collected for the London NCL map during the period of one week. A detailed, interactive version of the graph can be fond as published in an earlier post.

London NCL Social Network

Graph by urbanTick using the GMap Image Cutter / London NCL Socia Network – Use the Google Maps style zoom function in the top left corner to zoom into the map and explore it in detail. Click HERE for a full screen view.

The network is based on activity on the Twitter platform. The graph shows connections based on @ tweets and RT tweets. The actual followers or friends are not taken into account. The activity is what can be read from the tweet content. So far we have not been looking into the tweet content beyond this networking information, but it could be an upcoming step.

Interesting is to see how information is passed on from users in RT’s. It will be possible to analyse the spreading of information spatially and how this travels the urban area as for example London in this case.

GeoCom2011 Poster
Image by urbanTick / GeoCom 2011 post ‘Location Based Social Network from Twitter’. for a large version see pdf HERE.

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Is this time of year again, summer shows are on and London has a great tradition for architecture summer shows. Two events that are a highlight every year are the UCL Bartlett School of Architecture Summer Show and the Serpentine Gallery Summer Pavilion.

Images by the Bartlett on Flickr / Megalomania by Jonathan Gales.

Both have opened this weekend. The Bartlett Summer Show will be on for the next week and the Serpentine Pavilion will be on until October. Both are a must see and definitely worth a visit. It does not require you to spend three full hours for each event, however you could. This is the interesting thing, both events/locations are very flexible, it might be even worth going twice.

The Bartlett Summer Show is the end of the academic year show of the entire Bartlett School of Architecture units. Its is already for years every year at the Slade School of Art in the main UCL court at the north end. THere is a lot of space but if the Bartlett takes over its jame packed and models drawings and makings fill floor and walls up to the ceiling, visitors can be happy if they find a little walkway in between al the material produced. And this is even only a selection of students projects on show here.

Images by the Bartlett on Flickr / Some of the Bartlett Summer Show highlights.

The show is organised by unit with each unit having done their own architectural projects, research and development you can expect a highly divers range of projects and visualisations. THere is stil however an sort of overall style or aura to each Bartlett project.

The Serpentine Summer Pavilion on the other hand is a single object. The Serpentine Gallery invites an architect (not sure how they define this) every year to build a pavilion structure for the duration of the summer just outside the Gallery in Hyde Park. The idea is to bring visionary architects from all over the world to England who have not built anything in the UK before. The project started in 2000 with a contribution by Zaha Hadid and has since collected an impressive list of names including Neymeier, Koolhas, Gherry, Elliasson and so on.

Serpentine Pavilion by Zumtor - model
Images by habitables / The pavilion model as a preview for 2010.

This years pavilion is created by the Swiss architect Peter Zumtor. The Prizker Prize Winner 2009 is respected for his quiete but very strong style. His dedicated use of material has become a trademark. He is not new to the idea of building a pavilion. In 2000 he built the Swiss Pavilion for the World Expo in Hannover, a wood pile branded ‘Klang Koerper’ (Sound Box). Other acclaimed projects include the thermal bath in Vals, Switzerland, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Germany or the KOLUMBA Art museum of the Archdiocese of Cologne. See this article on Dezeen for an overview.

Serpentine Pavilion by Zumtor - model
Images by Phaidon / The pavilion with the secret garden as it looks in real in 2011.

This years Summer Pavilion is a secret garden, a black box with a very quiet and enclosed garden. Protected and well looked after it reassembles a medieval
The specially created garden by the influential Dutch designer Piet Oudolf.

As the Serpentine describes the projects:”The concept for this year’s Pavilion is the hortus conclusus, a contemplative room, a garden within a garden. One enters the building from the lawn and begins the transition into the central garden, a place abstracted from the world of noise and traffic and the smells of London – an interior space within which to sit, to walk, to observe the flowers. With this Pavilion, as with previous structures such as the famous Thermal Baths at Vals, Switzerland, or the Bruder Klaus Chapel in Mechernich, Germany, Zumthor has emphasised the sensory and spiritual aspects of the architectural experience, from the precise yet simple composition and ‘presence’ of the materials, to the handling of scale and the effect of light.”

The black box has a special materiality to it. It is essentially a plywood box treated with a cotton fabric and painted. This creates a sort of warm and calm atmosphere. A lot of the noise is being swallowed by this surface. It does completely transform the wood properties and as a look it has more of a concrete quality to it. However, in use (while running or stamping or touching there is of course no stone or concrete quality to it. Also in terms of temperature there is no stone quality is is warm an lacks the summer cooling quality of stone or concreet.

Nevertheless, the focus was ont eh quietness, formality and temporality of the pavilion. Regarding those aspects the material is used in a surprising and beneficial quality. It is an experiment, but it works as an image.

As a place it works well and is definitely a departure form previous catering and fun centered pavilions. Some of the visitors then complained about not having a cafeteria integrated with the structure, but only a coffee van outside the main Gallery. On the other hand the quiet and strong atmosphere is very present once one has reached the inside. with the garden and the open roof. The impact and quality of it is probably best assessed by children, of whom some can be observed to quietly stand or sit, some even lay down on the benches, relaxing and diving into the quietness and strength of the formal architecture. Zumtor has the capability to create architecture at such a level of strength.


The Bartlett Summer Show is the annual celebration of student work at the Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL. Over 450 students show innovative drawings, models, devices, texts, animations and installations. Saturday 2nd July, 10.00 – 20.30, Sunday 3rd July, 10.00 – 17.30, Monday 4th July, 10.00 – 17.30, Tuesday 5th July, 10.00 – 17:30, Wednesday 6th July, 10.00 – 17.30, Thursday 7th July, 10.00 – 20.30, Friday 8th July, 10.00 – 20.30, Saturday 9th July, 10.00 – 17.00 (show closes). Ticket Information: Exhibition open to the public.

Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2011, Designed by Peter Zumthor, 1 July – 16 October 2011.

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AxisMaps offers a new online historic maps page to cover Londons past. It is a great resource overlaying about 30 maps dated between 1800 and 1900, on a digital current map based on open street map data. The service allows for interaction with to zoom in for great level of detail.

The producers of the service proposa a concept of space and place as a conceptual framework to understand and use the service. As they define it: “Space or “Which areas of Victorian London are most similar / different to each other (and how did that change over time)?” The 19th century was a dynamic time for London and its population and we wanted to let you explore that by the numbers. Organized by metropolitan works district, you can see how and where the population of London changed over 100 years. We’ve also included the locations of social institutions throughout London as their locations help us understand how the city tried to cope with the changing nature of its urban population.

axisMaps Landmark
Image taken from London Low Life / Image showing the London Zoo from the World’s Metropolis, or, Mighty London.

Place or “What was it like to be in Victorian London?” As London’s population was changing in the 19th century, the city itself was being reshaped. This map contains 3 different perspectives on the changing city. Historic base maps not only give you a top-down view of the city; they also allow you to see what aspects of the city cartographer’s felt were important enough to include on their maps. Original images let you see the important features of the city from a variety perspectives. Finally, the Tallis streetviews allow you to put yourself on a London street and look around.”

Iframe embeded from London Low Life / Click HERE for full version.

It is however not only about the maps, there is great additional information. This ranges from Street View to population data and also includes details of landmarks and infrastructure. The Street View is based on the maps and drawings produced during the 19th century by John Tallis. He was a publisher of maps in London and his company produced this very comprehensive Street frontage atlas. AxisMaps have now made this accessible via this online platform using pins on the map that correspond to digitised
scans. It is even possible to move around in the streetview and of course see both sides of the road.

axisMaps Population
Iframe embeded from London Low Life / Image showing the popuation of London around 1850.

With the additional information, the service covers population over the whole of the century and as well as population density and population change. In the infrastructure section the data details location and covers a range of types, such as prisons, universities, orphanages, work houses and lunatyc asylums. For most areas there are also additional documents such a s sketches and drawings to illustrate specific landmarks or institutions.

The platform provides a great experience of Victorian London and lets you explore many different aspects of a great city over a whole century. This interactive time-warp makes it a lot of fun and can become rather addictive. However it would be great if the information could be a bit more personal and engaging. At the moment it is very much the look at type of conventional museum presentation, very much a teaching environment.

It fits in with a range of other great tools providing access to historic location information, such as the iPhone app Historic Earth, the Walking Through Time iPhone app, or the augmented reality iPhone app Streetmuseum provided by the Museum of London.

Iframe embeded from London Low Life / Digital version of John Talli’s London Street View.

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Rising water levels are a real concern for large areas around the world close to he sea. The treads posed by the water are many, with tsunami waves as recently occurred in Japan following the devastating earthquake or simple flooding due to a combination of heavy rain and a storm.

In London this second scenario is a real concern and could potentially effet vast areas along the river Thames. The current water defence infrastructure in place is very soon to be out of date and needs replacement with a refreshed strategy on how to deal with potentially massive water masses moving in. The problem of course sharply rises together with every centimeter of sea level rise.

Image taken from the londonist

Extensive scenarios have been drawn out, both in terms of planning and post apocalyptic visionary.

An interesting visualisation here is using the tube maps as a reference point going back in history and projecting the changes in the nature of the river in to a possible future. The animation both introduces the Thames as a reference point, but at the same time highlights the river as a constant element of negotiation. This taking place both over time in real world with building project and through out usage, but also graphically in terms of its representation as part of the most iconic of maps, the London Tube Map.

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What could brighten up the daily gray commutes back and forth between nowhere and somewhere? Well I guess a game coud actually, but card games are not a big hit during rush hours and playing on the iphone or DS is about as lonely as it gets. Lets play the system.

Chromorama is a multiplayer platform that does exactly this. It animates your bleak journey as a move in the game. The whole tube network i the borad and any tap in, tap out recorded with the oyster card is a move in the game.

After a test phase last year they launched a public beta version that is now open for signing up. So far the network for players was focused on the tube network. However this has been extended to include the London Bike Scheme. When ever you check in and out your bike this now also counts as game moves.

Screen grab of October player view3
Image taken from chromorama blog / The final view is an overall global view which give the player an overivew of all the team activity. I particularly like this one becuase it has a corporeal quality and the odd look of it. Like blood pumping around the heart of the city. The players powering a metropolis, a beast coming to life, like Frank emerging from the floorboards in “Hellraiser”.

Just recently the whole visual have been reworked and it looks juicy now. ALso the mission and activities the players can participate on have been extended it looks like a lot of fun. There is for example the ‘Ghost Hunter’ mission. Currently set to “Visit Becontree between 11:00 PM and 01:00 AM within 5 days Becontree is rumoured to be haunted by a faceless woman with long blonde hair, spotted on numerous occasions by the staff there. Go there late at night, and hope you don’t see her…”

Screen grab of October player view3
Image by wearemudlark / Screen grab of October player view3.

In a sense the whole of the public transport network could become a playground and each yellow tap in point a gaming button. Commuting is about to become fun and tfl wil now make your day rather than ruin it. With this move to incorporate a fun aspect, the perception of routines is transformed and a different kind of motivation can swing the direction.

This is to some extend the vision of ‘You Are the City’ put into practice. The ‘user’ becomes a ‘player’ in the sense of an actor. This change of role definition probably makes the whole difference. Of course aspects of size and relationship help with this one.

You got the taste? Sign up HERE.

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