Unortkataster Köln

Unortkataster Köln was an online community mapping project to initiate, structure and distribute a public discourse on improvements of public space in Cologne. The projects was developed in collaboration with focus group with members of the initiative »Leitbild Köln 2020«. The volunteer group requested an online map for collecting citizens´ complaints and improvement suggestions to improve the quality of public space. Following this request, an online community mapping platform was designed and technically implemented. The resulting online tool allowed to mark and specify »Unorte« (deficient places) on a map and to discuss and evaluate the entries in different categories.

A number of public interventions were organized to promote the platform, to raise public participation and to experiment with new online media formats as a means of facilitating public discourse.

A public city-office was opened during architecture event Plan-08 and the platform was officially started by the Mayor of Cologne (Fritz Schramma) and a representant of the Citizens´ Group. The space offered the citizens digital workdesks as well as an analogue map to make their contributions. The space also served as a public platform to discuss the issue of »Unorte« and possible implications of the project.

A Mobile Unort-Marker was built and moved to several city locations marked on the online map. The objective was to reflect the online activities of the users in »real space« and to create an instant visible impact.

Bicycle-messengers were equipped with mobile streaming-devices to create life video reports from the marked spots; Internet provider Netcologne provided the necessary broadband access for this activity.

City guide and author Martin Stankowski did guided tours to visit »Unorte« in central areas. The video documentation was published in an »Unortkataster Video-Podcast

Sound artist Frank Schulte created field recordings from several »acoustically poluted« places which were made available on the platform as audio-streams.

The Kölner Beschwerde Chor, an ensemble promoting public disgust in an amusing way toured the marked spots and performed on-site to create awareness for the platform and the criticized issues.

For initial content creation, professionals with backgrounds in different related disciplines (Architecture, City Planning, Urban Design) were involved in an early stage, providing text, video, and audio content, trying to keep the scope of how the term "Unort" could become interpreted wide and open for discussions.

The activities resulted in more than 300 marked spots after three month of public beta-testing and intensive media feedback (about50 Press, TV and radio reports). Various stakeholder groups (city administration, volunteer groups, citizens, experts) were involved in the testing phase.

The resulting platform and content was handed over to the city group Leitbild 2020 when the project ended and was switched offline in 2013.

Unortkataster was financed by EU-Project »Citizen Media – Social Change« (EU-FP6).

Concept, Design Team-Coordination, EU-Project Management: Stefan Göllner (Artistic Researcher at Lab III, Labor für experimentelle Informatik, 2007-2009)

Mobiler Marker

Mobiler Marker

Unortkataster Office (analogue map with visitors´contributions)

Unortkataster Office with projection of Unortkaster, online terminals and analogue map

Greeting cards, presenting the city of Cologne based on user-generated-content from Unortkataster

Unortkaster Office: working spaces

Unortkaster mapping platform

Promotional material

Stefan Göllner (Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln)