The Listening Wood uses SMS text and geofencing technologies to create a digital poetic walk, engaging with the Internet of Things to slow down and focus attention on fifteen of London's ancient and veteran urban trees. The trees have been selected by the City of London Corporation arborists who manage them, and range in age from circa 25 - 500 years. The Listening Wood takes stories gathered through ethnographic and archival research around the selected trees as the basis for a mode of digital poetics. Lines of poetry are generated through text-based interaction with a chatbot as you walk and encounter the trees, resulting in a co-authored record of your route that recalls the Romantic tradition of the Heath.

To interact with the Listening Wood, click the Explore the Heath link from this site. As you navigate through the heath a text box will open automatically when you are close to one of the featured trees. Look for the keywords found on slices of wood adjacent to each tree, then send the keyword to the tree to unlock a line of poetry. You can repeat this for each of the project trees to receive a poem of your tree walk.

You can also interact with the Listening Wood directly via SMS by texting the keyword found near the tree to 07857 793029. Messages will be charged at your standard message rate and your phone number will not be stored by the system or used for any other purposes.

The Listening Wood project is a collaboration between the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, UCL and the City of London Corporation which manages Hampstead Heath. The project is funded as part of the PETRAS Internet of Things Research Hub; a consortium of nine leading UK universities that aims to explore issues of Privacy, Ethics, Trust, Reliability, Acceptability and adoption and Safety and security in the emerging phenemenom that is the Internet of Things. PETRAS itself is partly funded under a grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis


City of London Corporation