Blog article about app divercities

This App is (still) a Secret Tip: Why DIVERCITIES MUST Get Started Throughout Europe

This App is (still) a Secret Tip: Why DIVERCITIES MUST Get Started Throughout Europe One crisis after another – and the EU is far-removed from the people. Ever thought that too? No problem! Today, I present to you a very cool EU project, which is happening right on your doorstep and on digital receiving devices: The Future DiverCities project, with

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This App is (still) a Secret Tip: Why DIVERCITIES MUST Get Started Throughout Europe

Blog article about app divercities

This App is (still) a Secret Tip: Why DIVERCITIES MUST Get Started Throughout Europe

One crisis after another – and the EU is far-removed from the people. Ever thought that too? No problem! Today, I present to you a very cool EU project, which is happening right on your doorstep and on digital receiving devices: The Future DiverCities project, with its DIVERCITIES app. #EUinmyRegion

Future DiverCities. Global, networked but also regional

Future DiverCities. This involves keywords like art, digitalisation, urban spaces, intelligent solutions, inter-cultural and international networking. There are also 10 European partners and even a Canadian partner, who bring everything together: artists, digital players and anyone in the city and region who wants to be there.

This is Future DiverCities in facts and figures

Logo Future DiverCities

Future DiverCities by Future DiverCities/

Future DiverCities is a little confusing at first. This is due to its decentralised and very numerous projects and offers. I have broken down a couple of interesting facts:

The 10 different project partners have already collaborated with more than 2000 artists and with around 250 further partners at local level. More than 25,000 people are said to take part in the cultural and educational programmes annually. Future DiverCities is set to run for 4 years, from 2016 to 2020, and has a total budget of 4 million Euro which is financed by the European Commission.

As a result there are workshops, conferences, innovation labs, concerts and all kinds of events. The respective project partners are located in BristolAix-en-ProvenceBarcelonaBerlinZagrebKuopioSt. ÉtienneBergenQuebec and Liepaja. What they have in common is that they promote access to digital art and culture, and especially the aim of making these available to everyone, away from the outdated “art for art’s sake”.

The app: DIVERCITIES – the alternative city guide

Screenshot Divercities app

Screenshot app DIVERCITIES Marsatac On Air, Marseille

Within the scope of Future DiverCities, a digital product is born: DIVERCITIES. A newly launched app in 2017 which makes the music of a city into your personal soundtrack. It can be combined with Deezer1D touch music or Spotify thus aligning itself with your very own taste in music.

DIVERCITIES distinctly sets itself apart from other streaming apps: 65% of sales revenues go directly to the artists and this enables creators in the region, in particular, to profit.

After the first download it quickly becomes clear: the project is still in its infancy but that should not prevent anyone from trying out the app! For it quickly becomes obvious –DIVERCITIES still has a lot of potential and is now beginning to surprise people. Let’s take a look at the app a little more closely.

Divercities app

Soundtrack Marseille – App Divercities by Miriam Reif/ CC

The soundtrack of my city – DIVERCITIES in action

Divercities app screenshot

Screenshot app Divercities

If I click on the menu item “Concerts”, twenty-four events in my region are displayed immediately – all in Marseille. After that, if I click on a little flag on the GoogleMaps map, I can see that Marsatac is playing in Parc Chanot on 21st June. Alternatively, the concert is also On Air, with an additional DJ set in Friche Belle de Mai. Dancing on the roof terrace of the old industrial plant, with a view over Marseille and the Mediterranean. There is nothing better. As a musical foretaste, Marsatac and the sound of the DJs from the upcoming event are playing for me now. Veeery cool.

If I search further and go on to “Releases” I can find a playlist from the Marseille record label I.O.T. Records. DIVERCITIES is now playing fat independent sounds. I didn’t know about this label before. Definitely a benefit.

But the app can do more. It is a musical and cultural city guide. The Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris has also its own playlist. “Les feuilles mortes” and the piano of Thelonious Monk bring pertinent goosepimples. Apart from the music, embedded YouTube videos and radio podcasts are available and provide a multi-faceted background knowledge of the location.

So far, events and city guides exist for France in particular. Marseille, Paris, Lyon and Nantes are right at the forefront, which is due to the fact that DIVERCITIES is a product of the French partner of Future DiverCities. In the meantime, Brussels is the start for Belgium. The next steps are Barcelona, Berlin and Bristol – and after that, hopefully the whole of Europe!

Go for it! DIVERCITIES has a lot of potential

App Divercities Screenshot

Screenshot app Divercities

As stated earlier, the app was brought out this year and is definitely still a secret tip. The strength of DIVERCITIES clearly lies in the sharing of music, cultural information and events for people who are interested in it on the spot. What’s happening culturally in a city you don’t know well, isn’t so easy to find out about. Often, it’s unclear what you should search for on the internet, and on which local sites the secret information can be found. DIVERCITIES even works without this insider knowledge and above all through intuitive handling, without knowing the respective national language!

Users of DIVERCITIES get quite a different image of the city with the app and view it almost from behind its façades. The app is an absolute benefit for local bands and cultural institutions, since it offers a unique platform on which to present oneself within a city and region.

For the makers of DIVERCITIES there is still a great deal of work to be done and I hope that the stamina and also the budget will be sufficient for all Europeans to be able to use this cool app.

In any case, I give it 5 out of a possible 5 stars. Some premature praise and initial euphoria is allowed for because the app is young, comes across as very likeable and really has a lot of potential.

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Europe – a continent and its borders

Europa Karte Grenzen

Europe – a continent and its borders

In the context of the question, “What is Europe?” and especially in the search for a common European identity, Europe’s geographical situation and its multiple interpretations have been much debated.

What actually is Europe?

In the proper sense Europe is not a continent and the question of its borders has been and still is part of multiple controversies. Europe, – with its more than 10 million square kilometres,  is located on the Eurasian continental plate. While the physical borders with Europe’s seas in the north, west, and south traditionally give few grounds for technical dispute, in terms of the “Gateway to the Orient” it turns out to be more difficult. Nevertheless, the many ostensible undisputed European frontiers must be also questioned, for if water is a limiting criteria – in this case the seas – how about the many European islands?

In this train of thought, do they still belong to the European continent?

We soon notice that it is not that easy to agree on joint criteria for a determination of a continent, especially when one uses characteristics of natural space.

Frontier question Orient

The situation appears to be even more complicated if one also considers cultural (such as linguistic), or economic criteria. Thus it is very clear to see that borders are nothing static but rather something perceived and also something politically set.

That was particularly the case in the redefinition of the eastern border through Vassili Tatichtchev the geologist of the Russian Czar. He moved Russia closer to Europe – simply by shifting borders. Therefore the mountain ranges  of Caucasus and the Urals form Europe’s eastern borders. This fact is by no means a historical single case. The borders have drifted a number of times, following the way how one wanted to change the European image. Depending on whether Russia should be part or not part of Europe.

More recent considerations place the European border to the east European plain rather in the Caspian Sea basin, where the Ural River is located. Clearly the subject of European borders is not closed.

Europe’s overseas territories for example that derives from the colonial legacy of the E.U. Member States, like Curaçao, Greenland or French Polynesia. And anyway, is the E.U. Europe or is Europe the same as the E.U.? Norway and Switzerland would definitely protest if one did not call them European any more. Even the less than favourable Brits, apropos of the E.U., we cannot imagine them completely isolated on their island.

Europa – who are you?

The question is whether Europe is a physical location or a space of interaction. Above all, a European identity is formed by the people. Europe is a common living and economic space and a common currency area, but also a common history and culture. And these characteristics can be used to point out that Europe is neither united, nor common. For as it is difficult to define space and to draw borders, – each description offers more problems than solutions. However, that also reflects the character of Europe – in all its facets.

Europe is not a place. Europe is an idea.

For some Europe is also a project, an aim, a dream – and a challenge. Not only for geographers.