Stories From the 15-minute City by Accurat

In 2020, walkability became an urgent necessity for people living in urban areas, due to the mobility standstill brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Inspired by the renewed interest in neighborhood–scale city planning, plus issues of accessibility and transportation, we partnered with Systematica to create Stories From the 15-minute City: a product that leverages geo–referenced data to help city dwellers navigate—and become engaged with—rapidly changing environments.

Designed to host place–based narratives that contextualize one's surroundings, Stories comprises four components or “layers” of interactivity: Placement, Guidance, Analysis, and Engagement.

When users log in, they are greeted with a map of a locale marked by visual indicators. These icons show quality of life measures: proximity to green spaces, transportation, areas of culture and recreation, and demographics. Users can customize Stories to reflect specific considerations.

From the home screen, users are invited to take a tour by choosing a “Story” from a menu. When activated, the guided overview plays, taking users through a municipalities’ neighborhoods and highlighting places relevant to the Story via audio narration.

The experience unfolds through a series of cards reminiscent of Instagram Stories. Those who wish to deepen their exploration can do so with granular analysis capabilities, replete with data visualizations. Lastly, as a send–off, one is invited to participate in Stories' development and maintenance by contributing tips, or by simply signing up to receive notifications for new features and Stories. For example: the mobility category can be adjusted to only display bus lines, or bike racks. This visual system gives users an at–a–glance view of how well–suited an area is to meet their needs, whether they’re exploring as tourists or evaluating places to live.

Stories was first deployed in a prototype for Comune di Milano. Open source, location–based data provided by the city's geoportal powers this prototype, and represents a compelling use case, demonstrating how municipal data can be put to use as the foundation for a handy mobile app, equally valuable to locals and visitors.

At a higher level, the Milan prototype shows how Stories From the 15-minute City can be leveraged by local governing bodies to create a positive feedback loop for information–sharing. The end–result of this scenario is a strong, sticky offering, unique in its ability to serve sponsoring entities and users, both as a practical navigational tool and an ethical way to solicit data.

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