On Their Way

This project was developed during the 2016/2017 edition of DensityDesign final synthesis studio at Politecnico di Milano, with the aim of learning to observe and represent controversial phenomena from different perspectives, and to visually communicate them to different publics.

The topic of radicalization was chosen among the “Societal challenges” identified by the European Union as the most urgent. Throughout the project and research we narrowed down this macro-topic until we identified the specific controversy of violent religious radicalization in relation to the extremist organization of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

In the context of understanding this complex phenomenon, this map details the journey of foreign fighters towards the territories of the conflict. The data was retrieved from official organizations, research centers and consortiums that make this data publicly available.

Starting from the data about the movements of the fighters from their home countries to the combat fields, the project studies the role of social, religious and economic indexes that might influence the reality of each individual and that could be crucial in driving the need to look for equilibrium elsewhere missing.

The countries of origin are placed horizontally by the distance from the fighters' common destination. The size measures the country's Muslim population while the vertical distribution represents the country's overall population. This way, a comparison between the worldwide Muslim communities can be performed by the reader.

On December 31st, 2016, the visualization was published on Corriere della Sera – La Lettura #266, the Sunday cultural supplement of the leading Italian newspaper. The map is featured in the Visual Data section together with an article by journalist Lorenzo Cremonesi.


+ Malofiej 25 Awards +

On March 31st, 2017, the visualization was awarded at the prestigious Malofiej International Infographic Awards with Best of Show in print and an additional Gold medal in the category World and Nations.

+ Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards 2017 +

On November 28th, 2017, the visualization was awarded at the Kantar Information is Beautiful Awards with Gold in the category Current Affairs & Politics. It also won Studio of the Year for DensityDesign, where the map was created.

Alessandro Riva | Copyright © 2021