Spatial mapping is about interpreting data, spatially - not just documenting what we already know but to infer useful information and deduce insights. Disappointing 'much ado about nothing' is how I would describe this euphorically broadcast event by NY Times in today's issue. The project seems to be less about mapping the buzz but rather creating a buzz around mapping nothing.... unfortunately. Instead of mapping the ecology of real culture in terms of production and consumption and show how it may define, show or map culture and cultural space in the cities - the project draws swift and limited conclusions based on a very limited premise of how media views and covers the so-called high-end "cultural events". It also fails to take into account the advent of the internet and how the social ecologies of space have been transforming and generating other forms of cultural topographies hitherto unknown. Sometime this week, Facebook expects to register its 200 millionth user (Facebook amasses 200 million strong population worldwide - that would make it the 5th largest country in the world!).
Under the context of globalization and global connectivity, the question about 'culture' hangs in balance, simultaneously challenging the primary role of history, theory and philosophy. Driven by the proliferation of information and communication technologies, our spatial and visual culture is also changing. In my view, this visualization/mapping project fails to examine and explore Mapping as a tool for making city legible. It does not address urban culture from this vantage point, and has limited or no usefulness for those who care to understand cities and how the physical and social spaces diverge or intersect to define cultural geographies....
It is also sad to note that New York Times, that has lately been championing the useful art of info-graphics for socially conscious issues and matters, finds this worthy of being printed on its pages... -Viren Brahmbhatt