Web Trend Map. Map of trends in virtual space
Article for online trends magazine TheTrendNet
Architecture and town planning are the language used to project, organize and shape a city’s public space and it’s relationship with its inhabitants. Linda McDowell puts it better in her essay Gender, identity and Place, “spaces emerge from power relations, power relations establish norms; and norms define limits, which are both social and spatial, because they determine who belongs in a place and who is excluded” (McDowell, 2000: 15). That is to say, space is directly linked to power (of whatever type); also the virtual space of the web.
And to illustrate this, each year Japanese studio Information Arquitects publishes a map of trends on the web, which is already in its fourth edition: The Web Trend Map. A conceptual and highly visual map, it’s inspired by the metro grid of a huge city like Tokyo and relates the space of a city to that of the web, taking in the most influential sites and the most prominent people in the virtual world. The position of each domain varies according to three variables: height, or success as measured by traffic; width, which indicates the domain’s stability; and position, which underlines the group to which the domain belongs.
The result is a graph that, besides showing strange and enticing relationships between domains, features a design quality that also sets trends.