Crowdsourced Urbanism In Helsinki: The Rise Of Facebook Democracy?

Facebook democracy in Helsinki

Many companies and organizations have taken advantage of a crowdsourcing model to gauge public opinion on a wide range of questions. Now, the government is doing it. Last April, residents of Helsinki were given the opportunity to use a pop-up touch screen to “Like” a proposal for a government funded Guggenheim museum in their city (unlike Facebook, the screens also featured a ‘Dislike’ button, giving the opposition an opportunity to be heard as well.)

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Walkonomics Shows The Walkability Of Streets Around The Globe

Walkonomics

Here in Amsterdam it can sometimes be a dangerous task to cross streets and walk without thinking. There are cars and bicycles everywhere, not to mention other pedestrians, who are so keen on getting to their destination as quick as possible. For foreign people it can therefore be a hard thinking to just stroll through the city. Walkonomics tries to change this by showing the ‘walkability’ of streets around the world and helping you explore the city while you enjoy your walk.

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The Old Walls Project Tells New Stories

Old Walls Project

The Old Walls Project features an amazing set of photo comparisons that show how street art around Milan has evolved over the past twenty years. Sometimes you can still see figments of what once was and at other times the whole thing looks exactly the same as it did two decades ago. Looking at how new artworks have been influenced by what previously was painted on the wall is very inspiring and finding comparisons between the two in theme and style is almost a game in itself.

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Camouflaging The Urban Ugliness

Urban camouflage by Roeland Otten

Today, it was Dutch designer Roeland Otten that made our day! Starting in 2009 in Rotterdam, until his most recent intervention in Amsterdam, the designer has been ‘dressing’ the walls of concrete, inelegant urban infrastructures (such as an electricity station or an air-quality measuring station) with photographs. Either in the form of sleek, big, high resolution photographs which create an optical illusion of invisibility and transparency or in that of small colored tiles that form a pixelated resemblance of the urban environment behind them the designer manages to conceal some ugly parts of the city.

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Bright Intervention Spices Up Shady Street In Athens

Pittaki street intervention

Walking through the dark alleys of Psirri, a part of the Athens’ city centre that has a strong identity and contradictive reputation, you will discover Pittaki street. Creative studio Beforelight and the non-profit organization Imagine The City decided to bring light back to that forgotten street by creating a light installation from 150 citizen’s donations of old lamp fixtures and lamp shades.

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Tracking Street Food With An App

FoodCarts

I believe that it takes some personal interest on a subject to develop a smartphone application for that. I guess that’s what happened to Eric Lo, a young media designer from San Francisco, who likes to eat street tacos and was frustrated by not being able to track one easily, due to their pop-up nature. Lo developed FoodCarts, a prototype iOS application that allows its user to find a food cart in and around San Francisco in real-time.

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Become A Virtual Street Vendor With Cart Life

Cart Life

From the Sims to more this-is-the-real-life games, simulation games have always attracted a lot of interest, even for those who are not really into video games. The ability to be in someone else’s shoes and try an alternative, though virtual, reality is a great temptation for many of us. It could be argued, that the majority of such games allows people to create a positive and comfortable scenario of virtual life; a life where one’s avatar is rich, successful, attractive and with minor everyday problems. However, Cart Life, a retail game developed by Richard Hofmeier back in 2010, puts the gamer in a quite different position.

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