The goal of City Murmur is to show how the media differently describes the
urban space through the attention that is given to each street of a city.
In the hypothesis of the increasing importance of the online presence in
contemporary society, a media geography has been generated intersecting the
media scape with the geographical reality of the city.
CityMurmur aims at
addressing maps and diagrams, not as passive representation of realities, but
as tools for interpretation and action. It wants to build a time-based
narrative, an historical archive of media coverage of the urban space which
is able to reveal some hidden dynamics useful for city policy support,
critical media analysis, and sociocultural research.
CityMurmur is an
on-going project that will be performed in several cities. The first one was
Madrid, as a result of the Visualizar'08 workshop. The media space is
composed by a RSS feed pool containing 733 sources. Starting from
an official list of Spanish media, the authors classified all the sources
and their RSS feeds through denotative categories (topic, type and impact),
while also tagging some of them with connotative categories. Once the RSS
feed is downloaded, and an in-depth scanning of the news is performed, each post
is matched against the OpenStreetMap street database to
check if a street, a place of interest or a district in the city is
mentioned. When a particular news item is related to a specific element of
the city, a Murmur comes to life.