A total of 41 projects were submitted for this year’s urbanana award. Every single one of them proved that the wealth of ideas in the digital and creative industries is not diminishing even in times as uncertain as these. The jury was impressed by the innovative power and motivation of the participating projects even in the face of the ongoing coronavirus crisis. The six winning projects have now been honoured with the urbanana-award under the patronage of the North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Economics Prof. Dr. Andreas Pinkwart. We would like to introduce them below:
Dance for Düsseldorf – Dance for NRW
An urbanana project idea by Matthias Wunderlich
A city guide app that inspires users to dance
Our app is a unique and innovative city guide for Düsseldorf. Visitors to Düsseldorf (as well as Düsseldorf citizens) can use the map tool to navigate to sights with an integrated navigation tool and start a special gamification experience once there. In short, it combines the addictive “Pokémon go”-style discovery effect with the fun of “Let’s Dance” and a good helping of Düsseldorf to boot. Once the visitor reaches a location, they can unlock a dance tutorial customised to the site in the app to display dance moves in a precise sequence. Users can film themselves doing the moves with their mobile phone cameras. They can team up with other visitors or locals. The software’s innovative AR and body tracking technology uses the camera to recognise dance moves precisely based on body movements and awards points for dance performance, comparable to the evaluation of figures in figure skating. This creates a playful competition and the desire to find or dance to as many sights as possible, intensifying visitor experience and leading to a communicative exchange with locals and other visitors without any communication barriers. In particular, it serves to break down those barriers posed by language and age. Shared visitor experience and intercultural exchange are combined with distribution in social media to spread the attraction of a tourist destination and maximise its reach even beyond the city and national borders in a playful contest between tourists. The result is a “digital ambassador” of the city that sets out into the world to go viral, e.g. in the form of the Düsseldorf cartwheeler as a signature move for Düsseldorf. Our app is already available for Düsseldorf and waiting to conquer NRW and other cities now!
Digital sightseeing in Mönchengladbach
An urbanana project idea by Marketing Gesellschaft Mönchengladbach (MGMG) and app developer YONA from Hürth
Conventional citylight map systems turn into interactive information boards
Marketing Gesellschaft Mönchengladbach (MGMG) and app developer YONA from Hürth illustrate just how analogue advertising media can be linked with innovative technologies in a best-practice example. The existing City Light poster facilities with the Mönchengladbach city map now make it possible for visitors and citizens to call up plenty of digital tourist information on the city’s sights via smartphone. All they have to do for it is to install the free YONA app and scan the city map in the City Light column with their smartphone cameras. The location icons of the “Mönchengladbach must sees” with interesting information, photos, and videos will then appear on the mobile phone screen. Anyone who wants to start out straight away can use the practical route display via the implemented Google service on their own mobile phones, no matter where they are. The City Light map system is easily accessible for visitors to the city in its central location on the Alter Markt in Mönchengladbach. Other stations are spread across the city (Aachener Straße, Kaldenkirchener Straße, Gelderner Straße, Plektrudisstraße, central train station). MGMG considers the YONA app to be an ideal tool to support integrated location and tourism marketing in a participatory manner that lets visitors create experiences and allows residents to identify with their city. Technology using augmented reality motivates either target group to participate in shaping and sharing experiences, and inspiring others. YONA offers interaction with visitors without any need for a power outlet or expensive touchscreens. As the current pandemic is setting new standards for hygiene, the aspect of using only one’s own smartphone is particularly significant. All of this comes with a special WOW effect: dead objects are brought to life, and analogue media create perceptible experiences. Moving towards new forms of digital city tourism information options, MGMG keeps on developing this pilot project, both in quality and content. It is now available in three languages, with a feedback button, digital scavenger hunt on the city’s history, and an interactive tour in the footsteps of Joseph Beuys in the “beuys2021” anniversary year. In cooperation with the Arbeitsstelle für interkulturelle Bildung und Integration (ABI), a local image campaign is also under development to draw public attention to the often-hidden work of volunteers with digital spotlights. Portrait posters will display moved and moving images via the YONA app. An ideal basis for the new services, the city’s central Wi-Fi zones offer unlimited mobile internet use without any worries about personal data volumes. With more than 40 access points, the free wireless network in the city centres of Mönchengladbach and Rheydt is available to anyone, at any time.
An urbanana project idea by dynAmaze UG
An online booking system brokers remaining leisure provider capacity
Leisure platform DynAmaze was founded by three university graduates from Cologne in 2019 and officially launched at the end of that year. Its online booking system brokers remaining allotments from currently more than 15 leisure providers in the NRW area with over 5 million annual visitors.
While partner providers can sell unused remaining capacities via DynAmaze to optimise utilisation, people in the city can benefit from cheaper tickets and design their leisure time more actively and spontaneously.
The dynamic pricing developed by DynAmaze constantly adjusts pricing to the available capacities. DynAmaze is the first tool in the leisure industry to bring supply and demand together, as every ticket is sold at the best possible price.
Booking through DynAmaze efficiently uses existing resources to reduce the suppliers’ per-capita power consumption.
Open House Essen
An urbanana project idea by Open House Essen
The German edition of worldwide architecture festival
Open House Essen is the German edition of worldwide architecture festival, planned for 25-26 September 2021. Essen is the first German city to become a partner of the international, the world's largest association of Open House Worldwide festivals. Open House Worldwide is a network of 46 organisations hosting festivals and dialogue about architecture, design and urban culture across the globe. Open House Worldwide is the largest celebration of the urban culture in the world. The network was founded and is administered by Open City, a charity registered in the United Kingdom. The Open House concept was founded in London in 1992 with the aim of fostering a better understanding of city architecture. The core of this idea lay in the direct experience of the city, its buildings and design, its everyday-life, contemporary culture, art and scientific environment, all accessible for free to all, with opportunities to learn, discuss and debate with experts and citizens. Open House Essen is a celebration of the urban culture and a unique form to explore the city. It includes an extremely varied range of architecture and urban design including hotel lobbies, churches and religious buildings, government buildings, schools, cultural institutions, skyscrapers, inspiring and well-designed private homes, architects offices, headquarters, landscape and public realm, art and craftsmanship, future development sites, and much more. Some of the locations are always open to the public, some are only available on the Open House weekend.
The main values of the festival are:
Experience – the festival facilitates opportunities to experience architecture in an extraordinary way. By offering free entry to all events, it enables as wide an audience as possible to participate regardless of age, race, gender, education, or architectural expertise.
Dialogue – creating an accessible and independent platform bridges the gap between experts and users, inhabitants and tourists, government and citizens. It gives permission for everyone (including government, private organisations, professional institutions, and the public) to exchange views, comment and engage in the discussion, a true dialogue.
Empowerment – offering experiences and encouraging dialogue about architecture, urban design, art and culture creates awareness that the public has a stake in the design, development and care of the city. The city is a ‘shared’ space that is co-created and people have the power to change the city development.
Advocacy – fostering understanding about the value of a well-designed city and the role of its inhabitants in its creation encourages them to advocate for a well-designed built environment. This includes how architecture addresses environmental, social and economic sustainability.
The festival is planned to annually take place in the City of Essen, as well as to involve the whole region of North Rhine-Westphalia, by creating partnership, inviting experts and artists from all the cities in the region. The important thing is that the festival can take place regardless of the epidemic situation. The festival program can feature a mix of pre-recorded videos (including traditional and drone videos) and live-streamed discussions and building and city tours. The live-streams on YouTube and/or Twitch, allowing questions and comments to be received live from the viewing public.
An urbanana project idea by taphophilia
A digital cemetery guide with themed paths
A keyword analysis with internet search engines in the scope of this submission reflects a great deal of tourist interest in cemeteries. The authors have been unable to find any app that would give interested persons (tourists) digital access to the cemeteries to develop them for tourism. The taphophilia app will be explained based on the example of the Melaten cemetery, one of Europe’s most important cemeteries. taphophilia is a multilingual online map application that can be accessed with any internet-capable device, no matter if it is a PC or a Mac. The site also supports common smartphones and tablets for mobile access right from the cemetery.
Themed paths can be drawn in colour on the cemetery maps to take visitors on a circular tour past important gravesites. Paths may be chosen based on themes such as the following:
- Heroes of the city history
- Important artists and designers
- Personalities of the Cologne Carnival
A GPS signal indicates the visitor’s position on the respective path or cemetery, guiding them from one grave or waypoint to the next and facilitating orientation within the facility.
Graves and waypoints are marked on the map with symbols (rectangles) or a small photograph. Information on the graves and waypoints can be called up by simply clicking the map to bring up a preview of the chosen grave on the left side of the screen and give access to further information and photographs. Information on deceased persons and grave locations can also be retrieved via a text search. The grave will be marked on the map, while the user’s position is determined by GPS and indicated as well to make finding the desired grave relatively easy.
The project has been largely implemented. Many cemetery administrations are already using a similar tool. You can get an idea of how the application may work in real life here: demo.friedhofsplan.de. The application described here still requires minor programming work. The currently expected duration for this is approximately two weeks. Further data on graves and deceased persons must be collected as well. We understand that the city of Cologne already has compiled a relatively comprehensive digital database of Melaten cemetery, making it possible to transfer a lot of data semi-automatically. Preparation of the individual pages and editorial compilation of the contents is estimated to take about four weeks, bringing the total time to implementation and online launch of the project to the range of two months. Of course, the project can be transferred directly to any other cemetery or city as well.
In addition to the option of developing cemeteries for cultural and historical purposes and opening them up for tourism, the current occupancy plan of the respective cemetery can be filed as well, adding further value for citizens and for the city administration alike. This may provide another access path for the taphophilia app. If, for example, surviving relatives are looking for the grave of a deceased family member, they can call up the taphophilia app from the grave search function.