Pastiche And The Soft City

A city consists of a hard side and a soft side. The hard side tells us something about the physical structure of a city. Too less people realise that what really counts is our image-forming by the soft city, the ‘feeling’: what good things happen there? Does it feel like I have to be there? A nice piece of data visualisation software called Pastiche shows us the strength of associations and experiences people have with a city.

“New York City, in particular, has two realities: the reality of the physical environment, and the reality of the idea—of what the city and its diverse neighborhoods signify. Inseparably intertwined, these two realities constantly continue to inform each other.” This cute application maps keywords from international blog articles to the New York neighbourhoods they are written in reference to, geographically positioned in a navigable, spatial view. “Keywords are assigned based on relevance and recency, surrounding their corresponding neighborhoods. The result is a dynamically changing description of the city, formed around individual experiences and perspectives”, the makers explain.

The writers of Pastiche consider themselves providing the user a parallel experience of the city: “It is a public counterpart to the private physical architecture of the city. (…) It defines a new kind of public space.” You can download Pastiche for Mac OS X free here.