After the first presentation of the What If…? Cities exhibition at the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art of Copenhage in 2009, the project kept on extending to other cities under the form of courses and workshops with various formats, for which we developed what we defined as a collective and interactive tool for visualizing the opinions of citizens and their proposals towards an alternative urban future: Whatif.
That first version of the web tool, applied to workshops like the ones that took place at Cáceres and Alicante, was capable of publishing in an easy way short geo-located messages expressing suggestions or problems found by the local citizens in the urban environment. During those workshops the application was tested and proposals, usability problems and improvement opportunities were collected thanks to the comments of the participants.
After that first use cycle, and given the results, we decided to add to the application many of the collected suggestions, specially the ones aimed at facilitating readability and revision of the loaded entries and at achieving a better integration with other social networks and services around the Internet.
Finally, after some months of development, we are very pleased to announce the forthcoming publication, on may, of the new Whatif 2.0 version, that will have its own official site including the necessary documentation, a space for the community, a blog for news and articles, a list of projects built upon Whatif, and as the most important novelty, the application itself for download.
As a part of our interest in open culture and following our progressive approach to open source based business models, version 2.0 will be offered to the public under an open license, for which we are right now studying to the detail licenses like the GNU GPL (General Public License) and compatible ones, which would allow the final user to:
- Download, install and use it freely for their own projects.
- Study how it’s been made and modify it to adapt it to heir needs.
- Copy and distribute freely, under the same terms of license.
- Improve it and make those improvements public for the benefit of the community.
This will allow everyone to easily install the application, adapt it and use it in participatory processes at any level, from a data mapping made by a specific collective to an idea-hunting campaign over the entire network around a city or country.
As for the application itself, although its interface doesn’t seem to have changed at all, it packs lots of new functions oriented to improve usability, and its structure has been completely rewritten from scratch over a well known and widely used plattform like (WordPress), which we believe will give to Whatif an ease of use, a control and a personalization power high above the ones of the previous version.
In a coming article we will publish the first images, will show the new features added and will communicate the exact date in which Whatif 2.0 will finally be available to you. We hope this will be the first step on the construction of an open community of professionals, urban activators and citizens in general interested in the dinamization of participatory processes with the aid of digital tools and physical actions on urban space.