Croissant. Eiffel Tower. Fashion. Lights. Love….Know which city we’re talking about? If you do, then you’ll love Cities in One Word, a brand new website that challenges its users to define their favorite cities in one word. Christian Mettke, the website’s founder, launched Cities in One Word a little over three weeks ago. His mission is to provide a space for fellow “city geeks” to “express, challenge and share their perception of city images.” At Cities in One Word, each user’s “tag” is added to a growing word cloud, so that his or her individual perception becomes part of a “collective image.”
Christian has published five word clouds so far (for London, Paris, New York City, Berlin and Toronto) and hopes to produce many more as new tags (3,500 and counting) continue to trickle in. In the future, Christian will expand Cities in One Word to include new prompts (such as “What is your vision for your city in the future?”). He also intends to sort the tags based on the user’s background information, in order provide and understanding of how age, sex and nationality affect one’s perception of a certain city.
So far, he has noticed several intriguing trends; tourists, for example, tend to view cities through a cultural or historical lens, whereas natives offer more complex definitions (like “gentrification” or “developing”). He has also noticed that Berlin is the only city, so far, whose dwellers often define it as “home.”