CoMMA (Collaborative Multi Media Atlas) is a platform for the co-production of digital atlases.
The acronym Co.M.M.A. – Collaborative Multi Media Atlas, but also COMunity Mapping Action- sums up several digital mapping experiences aimed at implementing a collaborative platform able to allow a wide, multidisciplinary and non-expert participation to the collective representation of urban territories. The double acronym alludes both at the development of an innovative digital tool and that of a social practice. Research in this direction has always played a key role for Tesserae, as part of its engagement to develop tools to understand local territories and involve local communities in their transformation.
The development process of CoMMa is ongoing and has been characterised by several gradual steps of design and testing.
It started with the early experiments of a bottom-up atlas made in 2005 in a pre-google maps era with the Florentine Cartografia Resistente collective. This was the first test of a combination of Wiki, PGIS and media repositories aimed at community use.
The successive step has been the development of the Urban Reconnaissance platform, as a way to develop a complex taxonomy to analyse the urban dimension and organise its representation.
The next phase started in 2015, when Tesserae was involved in the Erasmus+ project EULER. The mission was to support skills and competences developed in informal initiatives and bottom up projects, to reinforce and disseminate the knowledge that is produced through voluntary engagement and activism and consolidate it as a resource for local communities. The neighbourhood we chose for such implementation was Südliche Friedrichstadt in Berlin, for its great variety of social programmes, local initiatives and organisations present in the area as a result of a complex composition of public policies, economic opportunities and social demands influencing local development. The concept of Solidarity Curriculum was developed and conceived as a dynamic archive, a territorial atlas, as well as a collaborative baseline study depicting – through collaborative mapping and other processes- the existing resources of a community while envisioning their entrepreneurial and solidarity capacity for future initiatives.
The more recent development started in 2018 through COMENSI project, which gave a concrete chance to experiment the use of digital collaborative platforms (Neighbourhood Atlas) as tools for community engagement and knowledge exchange and to experiment the toolset and the platform in the activities of local neighbourhood hubs during five citizens labs. Each partner managed the collaborative creation of a Community Atlas for each involved neighbourhood .
Tesserae is now actively trying to bring CoMMA forward to a last step of finalisation, transforming the existing prototype of Atlas into a flexible and open platform connecting multiple community projects and defining a common format aimed at a wider audience.