Poll Map – A tool for Interactive Urban Policies and Community involvement

The blogpost was written by Marine Mellado Ruiz and Jesus Roche

Routinely taken paths in the underground station of Nyugati in Budapest are temporarily interrupted by an unexpected decoration. Like a carpet recoveringthe dirty ground of the busy passway, a 200 m2 autophoto shows to the public the map of the city popping out to their eyes with a red edge. It is wide and equivocal enough to drag people attention and involve their interaction in trying to find their landmarks.

“People were starting to communicate. They were confused so they tried to help each other to find their way in the map”. The second step was that they could take stickers and place them in the city giving their opinion on their favourite places, where to install green areas, bike stands, etc… “Lots of them liked the idea. Some even started to go further writing message of what their wishes were for the city. It was a great success of a bottom-up collection of information to possibly generate urban planning policies.”

“Simple things are the one that work best if you want to involve a lot of people”, explains Dominika Tihanyi. She is a landscape architect with a particular interest in urban environmental and social regeneration. She carried for her PhD a project of acupunctural artistic and cultural activities in the 8 th district to introduce social flexibility. This urban installation named PollMap is the fruit of the Ujirany Group landscape architects collaboration.

PollMap proved its usefulness in various spots in the city. As it gained in credit and interest, it is now offered to city councils as a service for interactive opinion polls. But as we were talking, we realized how it can be much more… It not only breaks the first barrier of routine but also gives people the opportunity to express their wishes and see those of their neighbours. The result is that by looking at the map you are part of a group of people with like-minded projects to improve their living environment. So naturally, the idea sprouted to push its potential forward giving people the opportunity to continue these conversations, which started by sticking messages. We started to be exited with the idea to combine this offline installation with an online interface where people could chat and set meetings to carry on drive grass-root community projects in the a beer in the pub. A promising project in progress!