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Organisation: Hahn+Zimmermann
Name: Christine Zimmermann
E-Mail: zimmermann@hahn-zimmermann.ch
Category: Future concepts

Name of Project: Urban Data Patterns

Description of Project: Starting point The amount of data accumulated in society is growing rapidly. According to a study, 40 Zettabytes of digital data will have been accumulated by the year 2020. This is about five times as much as today. The exponential growth of data is mainly driven by the increasingly automated collection of data from virtually all areas of life. As a result, we are now dealing with a wealth of data that is only accessible to us through thorough analysis and visualisation. The amount of data, in a time, where our actions depend on information, create a dilemma which leads to a kind of «digital confusion» (Kraft, 2016, The Future will be Decided in the Cities. ARCH+ 223 Planetary Urbanism, p. 13). This is a big challenge but also has significant potential. The potential available in analysis and visua­li­sation of data is often not exploited, as experts from visual design are rarely consulted. Data We used a variety of data from the urban context within this project: ­passengers in public transport, trees in the city, lost property, defectual city infrastructure. The project used public data from Open Data platforms as well as data from municipal offices. The goal of the visualisation was to visually encode and link different parameters to provide enhanced interpretation of the data. Visual concepts were specifically tailored to data, focusing on experimentation with form and code. Goal The aim of the project was to make extensive data sets accessible by merging visual design and programming. Data aggregation was avoided as much as possible in order to reveal data-­specific patterns. The viewer should be able to develop a «feeling» for the data. This approach contains much potential, especially in the area of Big Data. Results The generative data patterns developed during the project give an insight into seven different aspects of urban life. «Urban Data Patterns» provides an unusual look at the city and its data: «The task of the designer is to give visual access to the subtle and the difficult – that is, the revelation of the complex» (Tufte, 2001, p. 191)

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