Posted in communication and networking

Beauty mapped by the masses


Which is more scenic, Cambridge or Stratford-upon-Avon? If you’ve ever wondered that, you’re in luck, as a new web project, modeled after “HotOrNot” -style websites, may soon have the answer.

ScenicOrNot in the UK has been set up for citizens to enter their favorite places in the whole country. The images are randomly presented to users, so it is much harder to manipulate the results (you can’t just go in and keep voting for your favorite beach).

“ScenicOrNot is a project of Mysociety, an organisation set up with the aim of increasing the transparency of democratic institutions through the development of online tools.”

This also has government and policy applications for the UK, as “scenic” places there typically receive more funding.

The site’s FAQ also states that the data will be used for a “secret project”, though Mr Steinberg was not prepared to reveal what that would be.

The photos displayed on ScenicOrNot are sourced from images submitted to a site that collects user generated, geographically representative, photographs and information for every square kilometre of Great Britain and Ireland.

The whole BBC article

One more interesting point: “For the moment it appears that unspoilt countryside is viewed as particularly scenic; by comparison the modern built environment seems to do relatively poorly.”

Nature for the win!



Beth Kelley is an applied & digital anthropologist with an overall interest in how people engage with and are impacted by their environments and vice versa. This has manifested itself in many ways, by looking at creativity, playful spaces, built environments, and environmental enrichment, sustainability, design research, and integrative and collaborative models of learning such as through play and hands-on learning.