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about denCITY.net
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denCity.net examines the enrichment of real urban sites by a virtual dimension of information and networking, beeing accomplished by localisation of the virtual.
It is about moderating between "virtual reality"-networks and the city as physical existence.

Places and objects of the city get a virtual identification in the form of a QR(bar)-code.
This code contains - in digitally readable form - the most important information of the respective location: its tag-ID and GPS-coordinates.
Shot and decoded on the fly using a common camera-cellphone, through the tags one connects to the dataweb, which consists of site-specific information.

One could think of the most different kinds of content. Public an commercial tags for example basically contain information of opening hours, offers, events etc.; they form a dense map of the city's service- and supply-infrastructure. In terms of organisation, denCity.net develops a hybrid structure between the functional mixture in the real urban space on the one hand and the associative zoning / grouping of topics in the dataweb on the other. A contracion of space ist generated, places move closer and build a functionally denser texture.
Private tags, in contrast, contain matters of rather informal kind. Everyone can create and attend them, for instance "spots" (virtually anyone can create new spaces by creating a tag at site, thus giving it character/properties/information) which emerge at street corners or trees and mean a personal reference to an urban place. These tags are virtual forums in the actual cityscape and live of comments of passerbies and interested.

denCity.net is a map-based database-system. It links information (on the "virtual" level) and in doing this considers the locality of the tags (on the "real", urban level).
All relevant information and data links concerning the particular user-request are released cartographically and depend on the desired degree of locality.

This information exchange layer, through the tags's crosslinkings and referencing among each other, features a multidimensionality which oscillates between the local and the virtual.
The tags are digital yet visible marks in the city, at the same time virtual and physical addresses.
They establish interfaces between locality and virtuality.

dencity.net not only ties a dense net of information but also directly affects the urban density because of the information beeing site specific. Informational and actual density are strongly interdependent. Fluctuations of density are immediately documented, trends become noticeable much earlier. Through this, flexible planning and interaction is made possible, which for instance facilitates reaction to shrinking processes (mentioned in a recently published spacial planning report (Raumordnungsbericht 2005) of the "German federal office for building and regional planning" (Bundesamt für Bauwesen und Raumordnung)).
Furthermore, it has to be mentioned, denCity is an emergent system, which could fundamentally question or at least amend urban planning methods. In this context also consider the current debate on "governance" and the "shrinking cities"-design competition.

This internet presence of denCity is a demo version, that simultaneously serves for development as for presentation of the project. The final user interface will principally be the mobile phone, on which all functions are available.
The decipherment of a QR-code via a mobile camera phone is a already a common technology in Japan, mainly used in the shopping sector. Through the WAP-compatibility of denCity.net, ie. the direct access on tag information via mobile phone, we intend to demonstrate how the future utilisation will feel like.

denCity.net is an experiment concerning the territorialisation of the virtual and the deterritorialisation of the physical, en route to an augmented perception of urban reality and density.
It's about "density", "city", about "den" (which in japanese means "electronic"), and about "nets"...

welcome to dencity!

[ denCity.net is under development. It is a student project that we started while working for an urban design project at the RWTH Aachen, Germany.]

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© 2005, 2006 Kai Kasugai and Philipp Hoppe
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