The Ideas Factory: Take a right where the singing streets have no name


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The Independent Culture

Reworking maps is an old game by now especially using musicians and songs. Remember journalist Dorian Lynskey's brilliant musical Tube map that charted the connections between musicians and musical styles as represented by different artists and lines? (If you don't you can see it here:

We especially liked this new effort from Manchester-based creatives Dorothy. Rather than subvert a real map, the artists have created their own fictional map in the style of an A-Z page and every feature is taken from a song.

The end result, which you can see below, features a few major roads ("The Long and Winding"; "Positively 4th Street" and the "Highway to Hell") intersecting with smaller, residential streets, such as: "The Road To Mandalay"; "Blue Jay Way" and "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams". Local parks ("Itchycoo"; "MacArthur") and transport links such as "The Tube Station at Midnight" are represented, too.

The artists are selling 100 limited first-edition prints for £100 and unlimited second editions for £20. If you're confused as to where the songs are from or who they're by then there's an index listing all 353 at the bottom of the poster. Dorothy has also created a Spotify playlist featuring all the songs used. Its next challenge – should it choose to accept it – is an A-Z of film names. We'll start them off with Nightmare on Elm Street; Revolutionary Road; Sunset Boulevard; Lost Highway and, erm, The Road? For more see:

Checking a city's local #airquality, one tweet at a time

Open data sites allow for many clever hacks – witness the Android app which uses Tube delays to change users' alarm clocks we featured before Christmas.

Another clever hack is Andy Broomfield's Twitter account @BreathingLondon, which uses data from King's College London's Environmental Research Group's London Air Quality Index to post sporadic tweets updating Twitter users as to the quality of air in certain parts of the capital.

The feed speaks on behalf of the city, so when there's clean air in Harrow it says: "Harrow – road air pollution level is low: 1 – I'm not feeling much pollution right now." When it's high, it's a more angry: "Wandsworth – Putney High Street air pollution level is moderate: 6 – Wish the air quality was much better, this is horrid."

Yes, it's a bit daft – but the project, a work in progress, is an innovative way of sharing just a tiny fraction of the data being collected on thousands of topics. And if you live in an area where the air quality is bad, it's a good way of finding – and even more reason to ask – why this is the case and what your local authorities can do about it. Then you can breath easy.

Good grief! is this safety or art?

Here's an interesting way to promote careful driving, Charlie Brown. One street artist in (we're guessing from the pictures) Japan created these forced-perspective Peanuts characters to go on a road crossing. It not only looks cool, but is a good way of encouraging drivers to notice the surrounding environment and – ipso facto – slow down a bit.

Whether the artist was aiming to encourage drivers to slow down or simply keen to use Snoopy and co to spoof the cover of The Beatles' Abbey Road remains unclear – these pictures were sent in to the Wooster Collective, a New York-based website that collects anonymous street art. Now, nobody tell the Schulz estate's lawyers...

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Seen a good idea? Email or tweet @willydean