The systems used to parse, synthesise, assimilate and make sense of information are starting to make sophisticated connections, creating certain patterns and forming a vast web of the collective state. LondonScape aims to aggregate this kind of data and prominently display it, like a social mirror. It will show the interactive relationships between people and the city as they really are: dynamic, unpredictable, contingent, surprising . It seeks to connect people and tell the stories of those connections, building empathy and making visible the mesh of our humanity and our cultures.
Initially we see the themes of data being divided in to four areas:
London's Mood: Why look at Mood?
LondonScape is about drawing to the surface the spirit of the city, to get a sense of the collective and the positioning of the individual within it. Mood was our starting point, our initial question when we conceived of the concept: Is there a 'feeling' to a city, to London in particular? Does that feeling change? What are the tides and what could the influencers be? Everyday, every moment a Londoner 'feels' something, yet this feeling isn't in isolation and often taps into a wider more general vibe. Apps like Mapiness or Moodscope are influential in the evaluation of the self and of their mood, but they give no sense of collectivity. It is true to say that they have yet to be effectively used to tell us anything wider. We believe there is a power to pooling and collectivising this data from vertical apps or from scraped sources, to draw out a broader picture of the State of the City, making us all aware of our emotional connectedness and interdependence. How does London feel?
London's Connectivity: Why look at Connection?
LondonScape is about moving away from the atomised sense of the individual to a connected sense of self. Londoners don't exist in isolated bubbles but are constantly reaching out and drawing in, finding a way through both need and desire to build a wider web. We wanted to find a way to show this nexus of connections, to visualise the individual by who they were linking and reaching to, how frequently they were doing this, and how far that reach was extending. We are seldom alone. But do we know quite how connected we are? And do we have a sense of ourselves within the wider web? Do we even have a sense of that web at all? Through drawing on data through mobiles and skype, we picture an impactful dynamic visualisation of a shifting, extending network which jumps from local to distant, from flash connections to long-stay, from one-off to sustained. At every stage making us aware of the communicative interdependence of London.
London's Movement: Why look at Movement?
LondonScape is about replacing the idea of fixed points, to showing the tides of a city, a city with water running through its heart. Every single day Londoners travel through the city, often on a well-trodden route, with little awareness of what is around them. Fixed on the end point, heads down, eyes down, target destination set. But what happens if we look up? Where are we, really? Who do we cross paths with? What pathways do we share with those around us? What are the standard routes through the city? And the non-standard? How might we deviate? The power of location data, geo-tagging or oyster check-ins, to show transience, movement and the sweeps of a moving city, allow us to reflect again on a living, breathing entity, where each of us is not solely about our own journey but we are also about a bigger movement. We are running to destination, but we are also running through the veins of something much bigger. LondonScape wants to look at: how does London move?
London’s Consumption: Why look at Consumption?
LondonScape is about sharing, it is about showing the joined-up nature of our resources and our access to them. Energy, Store cards, Purchasing information, the Collaborative Consumption movement would be a starting point for aggregating data.
Beyond these initial themes for the data, we want LondonScape to become an open platform for other themes (e.g. 6 month periods on health, well-being, housing or love). Each new theme will allow us to bring in collaborative residencies of artists, creative technologists and data scientists.