REPRESENTING THE IDENTITY OF URBAN SPACES. THE APPLICATION OF SEMIOTIC MODELS ON COMMUNICATION DESIGN FORMATS

E. Chiodo, D. Calabi, S. Scuri

Politecnico di Milano (ITALY)
In the research about the Communication Design of urban environment, the current transformation of the cities and its representation are often topics of interest.
These topics are mainly focussed both into the Communication Design researches and into studies related to tourism.
The urban space is involved in social and political transformations that are always changing the perceived identity more rapidly.
The projects developed on urban common spaces are not only regarding physical planning but also on the creation of a virtual sharing of contents and information.
To do that, languages and technologies are useful tools for the Communication Design.
The city can be defined as an “organism in transformation” and so communication design project has to be flexible and dynamic in order to gather and represent several typologies of contents.
Over the years the Multimedia Format Research Unit of Indaco Department is researching on the developing and implementation of languages, device, interfaces and publishing formats to communicate the identity of the urban environment.
The semiotic analysis of the touristic guidebook has led to the identification of some functions useful to design exploration tools.
Three predominant functions have emerged: directive function (present into the projects that invite to the places exploration), informative function (into the projects that give information about the site without inviting the user to explore the place) and interactive mediation function (into the projects that allow contents directly in situ). These projects have the highest level of mediation between the user and places).
The analysis of the semiotic functions is useful to design specific level of interaction with digital multimedia content before or during the exploration of the places.
The research interlinks methods, languages and expressive modalities to enhance the identity values of places that have a lack of communication; in fact the main aim is to anticipate and increase the “exploration experiences”.
We present, as an example, a research project applied on a rural area near the city of Vigevano.
The aim of the research was to design a narrative system able to use details and landscape elements (colours, sounds, visual aspects) in order to anticipate the sense of place and guide the visitor, as mediator tool, on the Lomellina exploration.
In this research, the semiotic methodology related to the touristic guidebook and its functions was used to organize the contents and the format details.