Welcome to the Ü-HOOD 2021, Netherlands, Utrecht

New to the City? Get Connected.

In an ever evolving city with new faces and new spaces, we developed a social media application in ‘Welcome to the Ü-HOOD’ that would enable immediate in-neighbourhood interactions with your fellow residents—by this, we mean every possible feature at each site! If walls can have ears, then so might the street lamps in the night. Be a part of this hood, enjoy the exchange, get to know every critter and crevice. And remember to tell us, who else deserves a place in this space? Partake in the hood life!

The future is not so unlike the present. Concurrently and increasingly, people relate to spaces and faces in the city through networked digital media, but how can we in such virtual relationalities balance the odds stacked against a flailing environmental and situational awareness as well as spatial familiarity? We developed a product that extends from the connections already made possible with the ubiquity of smartphones. Through a growing archive of neighbourhood-specific features and peculiarities, our social media application offers users an opportunity to discover and engage in spontaneous interactions with fellow more-than-human citizens such as the surrounding flora and fauna, and urban infrastructure. As a user, you are allocated a more-than-human citizen profile from your selected site each time you visit the Ü-HOOD. You may read about other ‘citizens’ who are physically present and can choose to chat with them (users) through the application. Moreover, you may suggest new ‘faces’ through a neighbourhood-specific photograph contribution and descriptor, and vote for the citizenship of those awaiting administration by the system. What better way to get connected and feel settled! ‘Welcome to the Ü-HOOD’ is an invitation to become a part of any neighbourhood. This project is inspired by media theorist Scott McQuire’s observation that one of the key distinguishing features of twenty-first-century urban experience is our digital interconnectivity throughout urban space, as well as the philosopher Henri Lefebvre’s perspective on the social production of space which is complex and evolving. Further, we also take to Donna Haraway’s honouring of diverse cross-species collaborations with all its frictions and serendipity which she describes in her book ‘Staying with the Trouble’ as a “multispecies worlding”. All things considered, how ‘Welcome to the Ü-HOOD’ would ultimately come to matter is wholly dependent on the interactions and preferences of its users.




Team members : Andrej Antonic, Bernice Ong, Wenqing Xia

Supervisor : Dr. Michiel de Lange

Institution : Utrecht University


Technical Concept : ‘Welcome to the Ü-HOOD’ has three basic features and functions: An exploratory map of a user selected neighbourhood, an interactive profile for connecting with other users, and the capacity to co-create virtual identities for specific sites. The neighbourhoods represented are based on proximity to the user, and must first be generated by programme developers with a basic archive of neighbourhood-specific content. With increased use and a greater degree of user-generated content and participation, the character of each neighbourhood is also expected to evolve and change over time.

Visual Concept : The interface is designed to resemble online dating applications, but with the additional specificity of a neighbourhood map. This map indicates the originating site of the displayed profile picture of a more-than-human citizen, and therefore functions as an exploratory tool in its basic function. These citizens are anthropomorphically presented in social and casual lingual, with accompanying informational descriptors of a more scientific nature.


Bernice Ong

Bernice Ong

Bernice Ong

Bernice Ong

Bernice Ong