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Mapping people’s ideas

In his blogpost “Why we started MyCity” Murmansk based entrepreneur Stepa Mitaki explains how the online social urban ideas service is inspired by an architect’s use of maps to capture peoples’ ideas about their city:

“We […] want to empower residents with a simple tool that lets them speak their mind, lets their voices be heard, and, ultimately, allows them to influence the future of their cities.”

The MyBarents.com site is an application of my the MyCity platform in Vardø, Kirkenes, Näätämö and Nikel. They are neighboring communities in the Norwegian-Russian-Finnish border area, and are places where different people interact, develop relationships, and visit each other. Each city is distinct, and faces particular opportunities and challenges as it faces the future. Engaging a variety of voices may bring forth new and innovative ideas.

It is important for designers of the built environment – from the varying scales of architecture, urbanism, and landscape – to capture and reflect locally specific human voices in the anticipation and design of future communities as they face great change and associated challenges and opportunities. In his research, PhD student Morgan Ip refers to the idea of voices as described by Dag Avango et al (1), meaning the articulations of “actors who participate in the discursive construction of Arctic futures, with varying degrees of influence.”  Recognizing how and by whom the narratives are created and how resources, objects given value by these actors, become defined is part of understanding the temporal and spatial topographies of the Arctic.

“Why we started MyCity”

Image: Stepa Mitaki

(1) Avango, Dag, Annika E. Nilsson, and Peder Roberts. 2013. “Assessing Arctic Futures: Voices, Resources and Governance.” The Polar Journal 3 (2): 431–46.

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