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    imageMagical Urbanism, a website about urbanization, design and social change, is maintained by Mike Ernst. I'm an urban planner and designer based in New York City. I graduated from the Masters of City Planning program at UC Berkeley.

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    The Audiomurale Project


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    The Audiomurale Project is a mural of visualized soundwaves, painted the wall of a townhouse at Rzeznicka Street in the Old Town district of Elblag, Poland. Elblag’s Old Town was extensively damaged during World War II, and even today, there are large swaths of empty space and blank facades where buildings used to be. A group of artists hoped to improve upon the public space through the creation of a mural which incorporated in a unique way interviews with local residents.

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    The artists explain the process:

    As that area was essentially a vast empty square for several decades, nowadays it calls for a revival of its historical urban – or simply urban – ambience. One of the biggest problems of Elblag’s Old Town district is emptiness, manifested both in the still underdeveloped blocks and in the lack of visible activity of citizens. Despite the sustained efforts of municipal authorities, it is still generally perceived as the city’s “dormitory district”, and as such – it requires reinvigoration.

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    The artists interviews people working or living in the Old Town and asked them what they thought of the area. The opinions expressed differed quite a bit:

    “It is a beautiful place to live; I’ve never lived in a better one.”

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    “Nothing is happening around here. No tourists, no nothing, so how can this city grow?”

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    “I’d blow this place up.”

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    “It is no longer an Old Town – only the name remained. It is simply a district made up of buildings loosely inspired by historical architecture.”

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    The interviews were then translated into visual sound waves, and painted as a mural. Great way to get people interested in talking about a neighborhood!

    Check out the project website for more information.

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