OPINION

Psychogeographical Markup Language

This time I didn't make it up. From the strange, inventive, and apparently European Web site socialfiction.org comes Psychogeographical Markup Language, a way to tag urban environments with metadata that's not cartographic but emotional. They say, "PML incorporates work done in fields like annotated space, geo-tagging, mental mapping, GIS & collaborative mapping but is different in that it aims at the invisible & the absurd."

As socialfiction's explanation puts it, it's kind of a way for a bunch of people walking around to assemble non-geographic maps that reflect how people feel about the urban fabric at a given location. Old-school analogue is Kevin Lynch's mental model, as in Image of the City.

Or, looked at another (cooler) way, it's the cheat code for a city. You know, like in Doom, when you type IDDQD and become invulnerable? Oh, come on, people -- all the kids are playing the "computer games." You should check it out.

Very nifty are the different metadata tags that PML allows for a given space. Check it:
Places can be perceived as:
Distinct (when a place is distinct in any way from the surroundings)
Open (the node present itself as welcoming, it seems to invite your entrance)
Close (the node present itself as not welcome to visitors)
Lively (a place seems evolving, a centre for social interaction)
Ease (a place where you feel at ease, a friendly atmosphere, positive vibes, etc)  
Desolate (a feeling of being at loss)
Hectic (too many sensory perceptions)
Terror (a place that 'expands the soul, and awakens the faculties to a high degree of live')
Horror (a place that 'contracts, freezes, and nearly annihilates' the soul)
Stim (a point of stimulation)
Dross (a space that is ignored, a wasted space)
Colour (instead of tagging with words, this tag allows for classification using your own colour-coding system)


How we feel about our cities and how we record/track/codify/encode our cities should not be separate.

Thanks, Warren@diepunyhumans!

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
$28.00
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET