This is a website application designed to facilitate distributed collaboration amongst a team of urban development professionals. Collaborators generate quantities of broad-ranging ideas and data, in many media formats, to be organized in complex ways. Website content can range from prototypes and rough-drafts to finely polished book-chapters and research summaries, and continuously morph between these. Communication between team-members will need to thread through this content seamlessly and uninhibited by technology. All at once, this website will need to be a publishing, collaboration, communication, storage, organization, and research tool, while still satisfying the above needs. And yet it tries to remain focused, be usable, and above all, useful.

Site Structure

To allow such wide-ranging functionality, the following non-hierarchal structure was chosen, grouping content into atomic units called nodes:

Node cloud

Yes, that's right. There is no apparent structure. It is both simple and chaotic. Most importantly, it is user-defined and free-form.

Each node contains the following components:

Node components

  1. The article is the primary content of the node. This is the front page, the gallery window, the published content. It is one page of wiki-formatted text.
  2. The datalog is the collaboration area where users contribute text, images, and files. This is the scrappy discussion area, the comments area, the discussion board.
  3. The dataspace is an automatically rendered display of “related data” pulled from elsewhere in the website. Relationships are determined by metadata and statistical analysis.


These are a few of the terms we used to describe this website.

The primary object of information on the website, defined by a specific topic. A node is referenced by its namespace and title, which must be unique amongst all nodes in the database. Each node has three parts: an article, a datalog collaboration area, and a dataspace relations browser.
A fancy way to define different node types. Nodes in different namespaces (i.e. ‘of different types’) will behave uniquely. A namespace is used as part of the node’s title. For example “User:Quinn” is the title of the node that is profile page of user “Quinn,” to be differentiated from a node titled “Main:DCF” which is the page for an article describing the Dynamic City Foundation.
Node Cloud
1. All nodes in the website, collectively. Described as such because of the non-hierarchical nature of nodes. 2. Also describes the visual node cloud used on the home page.
A text article attached to a node. The article is the primary facet of the conceptual node. A node has only one article, and an article can belong to only one node. Articles use Wiki markup to format content.
A section of a node that is half-weblog and half-forum, where users can contribute text and files to the node.
A textual post made to the datalog page of a node. These can contain comments, Q & A, research data, links, or whatever users decide to contribute to a node. Creating an entry is the only public method for uploading files and images, which are permanently attached to the entry. Entries use Wiki markup to format content.
1. The section of a node that displays data related to the node. 2. If accessed from the search form, displays data matching search query.
The items a user will upload, view, and download through the datalog. Can be images, video, audio and other media.
Datalog entries and files, collectively.
Data that describes a database record. It is not considered “content” to display publicly but is used to search and find relationships between records. For example, an article may have the following metadata: tags, activity, date added, author.
A collection of web pages that can be edited by the public. Pages are free-form text with or without formatting and linked to other website pages. Versions of all changes are saved to allow revival of a saved version if the current page is defaced. Each node article is a wiki page.
Wiki markup
A simple markup language that specifies how text should be displayed when viewed with a web browser. For example, when entering text into an article, you can type [[image:1002]] to place an image onto the page.