For a long time, we have been speaking on the importance of open source, open collaboration and how licenses that enable free distribution of content and materials can foster creativity and encourage collaboration. We have been emphasizing this repeatedly ( hopefully without getting annoying) on various events, talks in conferences, and even in personal conversations with friends. One of the goals that one can achieve through such efforts is to raise awareness on a specific topic. Another greater goal which can be achieved, is to actually see in practice the concrete results of such efforts, to make people look at things in a different perspective. To become more concrete, we want to share with you a story, a website and a project we have been involved with. The Albanian House is an initiative of our friend Jora, who didn't put thought only on the architectural elements of this project, but also thought on making it open, free to access and collaborative, and we hope to have given our contribution on this approach.
The Albanian House - a platform which consists on the documentation (descriptive, visual and geographical) of the most representative and characteristic houses of the main Albanian cities and villages. It represents research on the main architectural features of these dwellings, their history, the changes they've gone through, over the years and their current state.
Through a very simple structure, thealbanian.house provides visitors with different types of data and lots of information. On the left side of the page, you can see the map of Albania where every pin on the map represents a typical Albanian house. By zooming in, more pins will appear, so you just have to navigate through the map to check the different typologies of houses in different cities of Albania. By clicking on a pin, a photo of a villa will appear on the map, and on the right side of the page you will be provided with it's history and some more information on the current state of the building.
This effort provides the public with a good resource of information on the characteristic Albanian houses, but more importantly, it has a great value in the long term, since many of these houses are not currently under maintenance and it's probably a matter of time that they get fully destroyed. Having a digital documentation of their history, geographical data and good quality photos is a big contribution to our cultural heritage.
You can read the full details of this project on the About page on the website: https://thealbanian.house/about
What our team loved the most, was the "open approach" of this project. Instead of using a closed source website, copyrighted photos or content, it instead features all the opposite of that:
- an openstreetmap based map;
- CC BY-SA licensed content;
- All the house's photos uploaded on Wikimedia Commons;
- AGPL-3.0 licensed code for the website;
The details on the licenses can be found on this dedicated page on the website: https://thealbanian.house/license
Our team was involved with the implementation of the website and we also provided consultation on the licenses which were used. As we consider "working on the open" highly important, we totally enjoyed being involved with this project.
On December 16th there was the first presentation to the public of the idea, scope and journey of implementing The Albanian House and we were happy to be present in the event. Jora and Sonia, the people behind the implementation of this website, shared with the audience their journey on making this project possible. We want to emphasize that this 'closing' event, in our point of view, is just the beginning of this initiative, since everyone can reuse the tools used, can collaborate with the initiators, make suggestions and provide information to enrich the platform.
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To learn more about Collective68, visit our website: collective68.tech