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Roberto Dondi
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Archive 2000

The Million Trilogy (1)
or : Eight Cities And A Half.

(INTRO) Marco Polo arrived in Katai (now China) by traveling as long as 3 years and a half. He would be staying at the Kublai Khan's court for 17 years as ambassador and governor. Thanks to his experience and travels book the commercial enterprise will develop into the Far East during the next centuries. Most of the cities Polo had written of don't exist in the modern era. Some changed their name.
The city is not made of building materials. But it is a network of relationships between the measures of their space and the happenings of its present. And of its future. By this wave flowing back from memories, the city is soaking up like a sponge so that it's expanding. A description of the city should be contain all its past, but the city doesn't tell its past and doesn't know its future! Also the city showed on electronic brochure is living in the present only. Let's see some websites whose purpose is to support the city through the new digital media environment. As they represent an entire community and often a city government, the online cities are one of the best experiences of Web marketing mixed with not ordinary public relations skills and free information supply. Here a 3-stage trip starts.

Click on the colored '0' to read the article part 2 (red) and 3 (blue).

Million Municipal Marketing? A proper use of societal marketing is practiced by the major city governments across the world. For example, they prepare and distribute guides, print materials, or advertise services and patterns to provide citizens for tips such as reuse, reduce, recycle items programs; in a general attempt to manage the city complexity in accordance with the "Living More With Less" philosophy. The waste treatment and recycling are actual business and have been involved into one of the first programs of municipal marketing. The consumer asked to contribute by doing his part and following precise instructions of interest of all (individuals, households, businesses). Meanwhile the departments of commerce and community affairs could grant to them "all" the following services of marketing linked to the city management.
— Population demographics, providing census profiles of the counties and cities, as well as profiles of the listing population, demographic and economic information;
— Labor market information, providing detailed information on labor force / unemployment rates, industry, occupation and employment trends, wages and community patterns;
— Business information, providing business listings, mailing labels and computer disks on business locations.

OCity and the signs. Nobody knows better than you, wise reader, that one has not to confuse the city with the signs describing her. And yet between the one and the others a relationship comes up. If you visit the website of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, city rich on products and earnings, to mean her own prosperity she has not means but the showing modern skyscrapers banner overlooking the online pages (C@ Launched in December 1995, this 2-language site amounts to 40 Gb for being a portal to home pages of all government policy bureaux and departments. The contents consists of 24-hour government news and information, live webcast of press releases held by senior government officials, government notices and tenders, business information, job vacancies, government publications (e.g. Yearbook, information and publicity leaflets), topic-based webpages (e.g. Policy Address and Budget, Doing Business in HK, Mandatory Provident Fund). Far amazing is the Web statistics section where the visitor breakdown is available by period, department, page, day hours etc. Favors due to the HKSARG Principal Information Officer.
OCity and the records. «Of a city you don't enjoy the 7 or 77 marvels, but her answer to a question of you.»
Twice listed in Guinness book for the world's longest street and tallest structure, Toronto, whose metropolitan area accounts about 600,000 Italians, it's sometimes called 'the 2nd Italian city in the world'. The portal of the Greater T. is operating as useful search tool. Do you like Italian cuisine? By entering such a key word into the search engine everyone finds all the items as selected by the database. Results are available per any urban area too. C@
OCity and the name. «The shortest line between two points in Venice is not a straight line but a zigzag.»
A public carnival as winter tourist attraction, a casino as legal gambling, old-fashioned mansions as reminder of the merchant sea republic. Needless to say, not the sky but the high tide's the limit at world-famous Venice!C@ Be suspicious of imitations —V. of the FarEast, V. of the North, etc. The Web is an atlas featuring all the cities of the planet, and where they are drawn street by street, building by building. Istanbul on the three shores, Jerusalem on the two hills, Samarkand of the gardens. For each of them a depot that keeps differences, an assortment of qualities as unique as the letters of the name. The Victorious, Fragrant Harbor, City of Angels, Northern Capital, God-given, aren't the indigenous names already personifying the tourist expectations? So be it.
OCity and the symbols. «Of all tongue changes a traveler has to face on far lands, no one is equivalent to that that awaits him in the city of Osaka, because it doesn't concern the words but the letters.»
I visited Osaka in 1993. There I took contact with the environmental issues of the metropolis. Online documents by the Prefectural Government (C@ offer full details of "the ways in which Osaka Prefecture has overcome serious environmental pollution problems, and continues to deal with a range of environmental issues" —such words of candor from the Environmental Policy section. Obviously there's much more in a city where prefectural symbols were picked up from the nature and adopted by popular vote. Tourism Federation (C@ allows you to explore the virtual city sightseeing.
OCity and the information. «The eye doesn't see things but shapes of things which mean other things.»
Launched in December 1997 the Evening Standard's online London guide is combining the best elements of the newspaper with the Internet environment. "Six ever changing and constantly expanding content supplements overlay powerful mapping software and fully searchable databases to allow users to locate articles, reviews and locations in London easily and accurately". As quoted on the site overview —C@ 1998 it was awarded several times by the British new media industry as the best online publication! Traffic performance accounts 6.2 million monthly page views and 325,000 individual monthly users. Favors due to This Is London Editor
OCity and the pictures. «Confess what are you smuggling: states of mind, states of grace, elegies!»
The relationship between the city esprit and the cyber visitors is often mediated by pictures and sounds as the most real things a website can offer to. I would give a Singapore e-brochure credit for the most large pictures I've ever seen online: C@
OCity and the future. «Beyond 6 rivers and 3 mountain chains rises Almaty», C@
The Web presentation of Almaty, the metropolis, doesn't repay some grace lost with the old provincial city. In any case a metropolis has this further attraction, that thinking of the old city makes us aware of the way to progress in an up-and-coming community.
OCity and the culture. 2000 has been an important year to market Bologna 'la dotta' because it was designated as "European City of the Culture". This event-city has been supporting by a special Web, C@ Started in May 1999 it is one of the most comprehensive (260,000 Kb) and developed experiences of site promoting an Italian city for historic, cultural and tourist purposes. It's run by Bologna 2000 Committee that the city has created as public-private partnership to promote their own cultural assets. Over the last 12 months the site has got about 17 million hits (Italians are 65%). Among the online services: mailing list for journalists, locating of press conferences, press reviews, archives of main events' videos and photos. Favors due to the Town of Bologna.
OCity and the memory. The 'highest' world's city is Lhasa, capital of former Tibet, where 1957 4 out of 10 inhabitants were monks. Shortly after the political chief and his disciples left to exile. Although L. doesn't risk to vanish as city by definition —she grew to over 100 thousands inhabitants— it remains actually a halved city.

Click on the colored '0' to read the article part 2 (red) and 3 (blue).

(OUTRO) Kublai Khan was chief of an endless empire whose capital he established in Khanbalik (Peking). He ruled from Mongolia to Tibet, from China to Birman: was he a right and wise sovereign too? Polo would answer affirmative, but we know he had been an employee by Kublai who paid the duties to him for a fortune! It's common knowledge here that the memories of Polo were titled 'The Million' to remember such a wealth. Read on... 

A City and Three Noughts - Première [March 01/01].

©2001 Roberto Dondi-DMLR.ORG
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