HyperCities: Every Past is a Place
What 17th-century Manhattan has to do with Peru’s grid and the Renaissance in Berlin.
By Maria Popova
We love cities, maps and urban storytelling. So we’re all over HyperCities — a digital research and educational platform for exploring the layered histories of cities and public spaces, based on the idea that “every past is a place.”
The fundamental idea behind HyperCities is that all stories take place somewhere and sometime; they become meaningful when they interact and intersect with other stories.”
From a digital recreation of Manahatta in 1609 to an archival print of Berlin’s 1772 geometric grid, the project is absolutely fascinating and a treasure trove of urban time travel.
Most recently, HyperCities mapped real-time voices from Cairo using social media, offering an entirely different way to experience the news, not by digesting static newswires and frontpage headlines but by actively hearing the reality of the people on the ground — something last week’s Tweets from Tahrir tried to capture in a different medium.
The project, which received a Google Digital Humanities Award last year, is the brainchild of Todd Presner, Yoh Kawano, and David Shepard and is a collaboration between UCLA and USC.
HyperCities is currently available for 19 cities, including London, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Berlin, New York, Los Angeles and Mexico City. You can contribute to the project by adding your own georeferenced map — here’s how.
Published April 28, 2011