15 Jun 2016 Experiencing the city in a new way

When you walk through a city you usually take very specific routes. But what if wayfinding could inspire you to take different routes every day, based upon your mood? Some teams around the world are experimenting with this as we speak.

In general most people who know the city they are in will take the most efficient route. Okay, sometimes they will take a small detour via some special spots that they enjoy. But overall people who are in the same environment for a long time are unable to see through things and enjoy the environment in a completely new way.

Meet Chatty Maps

Chatty Maps is an initiative that maps complete cities based upon the sounds you hear around you. They collect data throughout the city and map each part based upon the following sounds: transport, nature, human, music and building.


“Urban sound has a huge influence over how we perceive places. Yet, city planning is concerned mainly with noise, simply because annoying sounds come to the attention of city officials in the form of complaints, while general urban sounds cannot be easily captured at city scale.

To capture both unpleasant and pleasant sounds, we propose a new methodology that relies on tagging information of georeferenced pictures. [We] study the relationship between soundscapes and emotions. We learn that streets with music sounds are associated with strong emotions of joy or sadness, while those with human sounds are associated with joy or surprise.”

Urban Gems

Urban Gems is an experimental platform where people get two photos of different environments and are askedĀ “Which place do you find more beautiful?” With this data it tries to findĀ patterns in what people perceive as a beautiful spot. It can turn the most voted spots in actual urban gems.


“Buildings and neighbourhoods speak. They speak of egalitarianism or elitism, beauty or ugliness, acceptance or arrogance. The aim of UrbanGems is to identify the visual cues that are generally associated with concepts difficult to define such beauty, happiness, quietness, or even deprivation. The difficult task of deciding what makes a building beautiful, or what is sought after in a quiet location is outsourced to the users of this site using comparisons of pictures. With a comprehensive list of aesthetic virtues at hand, we would be more likely to systematically understand and re-create the environments we intuitively love.”

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