An Urban Experiment Towards Participatory Media Development.

The development of the »Unortkataster«, which is discussed in this paper, is driven by the intention to create an online tool in collaboration with users that facilitates controversial thinking about critical places (Unorte) in an urban environment (the area of the City of Cologne).


While in the past the predominant goal of software engineering was the efficient development of robust, reliabland easy to use systems, the state of affairs seems to change radically at the moment. On the basis of gained experience and acquired adulthood, a significant number of users ask for empowerment. They not only want to be asked afterwards what they like or dislike about an application, but actively participate and get a say at all stages of development, right up to the questions of profit-sharing. Therefore, the recently checked out software methodologies primarily try to come up with strategies for participation on all levels of the software process. Packaging and shelving of software seems to be a discontinued model, the new software development processes try not to end with the first deployment of a system but stay open to the requirements of an ever-changing context and the continuously upcoming needs of users. To achieve such systems we need open software architectures on the one hand, and the active involvement and the energy of participating people on the other