Developed by Martin Traunmueller during Summer 2012 as Thesis Project for the
MSc Adaptive Architecture & Computation, The Bartlett / UCL.
Since the introduction of the internet to the public, the term of navigation has been extended into the digital dimension – we navigate not only through physical built environment, but also within the digital layer that has been attached to it. Existing theories on people movement, emphasizing the target orientated process of pedestrian navigation through the urban landscape, define a solid base for the development of wayfinding algorithms used in common pedestrian routing systems. Such systems like Google Maps and TomTom are trained to generate the shortest and less time consuming path for the user to reach a certain destination from his origin location, not taking into account the user’s actual walking experience.
In times of ubiquitous computing and the rise of new media within the cityscape, we ask how digital technology can contribute to the pleasure of urban strolling. The project investigates the relationship between physical and digital urban navigation and describes a new approach to wayfinding by implementing common digital online methods of comment and recommender systems into the physical world. Those methods are being translated into the urban environment, using Facebook voting data to generate an alternative to the shortest route in order to maximize the pleasure of a walking experience through the urban fabric. Initial findings highlight the general importance of the walking experience to the public and suggest that implementing recommendations, based on social media voting systems, in route finding algorithms for mobile applications enhance the pleasure of urban strolling. The testing of the system in a real world context together with collected feedback and the observations throughout the design process stimulate the discussions of wider issues, especially the performance in different urban layouts, and highlight the potential for a Space Recommender System as location based mobile experience, based on public preferences.