UP San Francisco 2012 Recap


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Cities like San Francisco need help - but conventional planning processes make it difficult to implement great ideas for civic improvement.

Urban Prototyping (UP) complements these processes by rapidly designing, testing, and scaling new projects that improve civic life.

UP takes projects from prototypes to city pilots to refined products.

UP Cities around the world design and test prototypes through large-scale public Festivals that engage local communities.

The first UP San Francisco Festival was held in October 2012 as a flagship event in San Francisco’s first Innovation Month. On October 20, 2012, six blocks of downtown San Francisco became a living laboratory for urban experiments.

The 2012 Festival featured:
5000+ visitors
23 urban prototypes
40+ audio, visual, and dance performers
25+ renowned speakers in design, art, and technology.

Original UP concept by Gray Area and Rebar.


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UP San Francisco 2012 Recap

  2. 2. UP San Francisco at a glanceCities like San Francisco need help - but conventional planning processesmake it difficult to implement great ideas for civic improvement.Urban Prototyping (UP) complements these processes by rapidlydesigning, testing, and scaling new projects that improve civic life.UP takes projects from prototypes to city pilots to refined products.UP Cities around the world design and test prototypes through large-scale public Festivals that engage local communities.The first UP San Francisco Festival was held in October 2012 as aflagship event in San Francisco’s first Innovation Month.UP SF 2013 will take place in October 2013.
  3. 3. By the numbersOn October 20, 2012, six blocks of downtown San Francisco became aliving laboratory for urban experiments.The 2012 Festival featured:5000+ visitors23 urban prototypes40+ audio, visual, and dance performers25+ renowned speakers in design, art, and technology.
  4. 4. San Francisco ContextThe 2012 Festival was located in the heart of San Francisco in the city’sMid-Market District. The District, long home to many urban challenges,has experienced a resurgence in recent years through the combinedefforts of community, government, and commercial groups.Gray Area Foundation for the Arts has been a center for art andtechnology in Mid-Market since 2008. Intersection for the Arts, SanFrancisco’s oldest arts nonprofit, moved to the neighborhood in 2011.The host site, The 5M Project, is transforming four acres around 5th andMission Streets into a mixed-use development designed to catalyzeinnovative ideas. The site provided an ideal environment for projects totemporarily install, test, and showcase their projects in the public realm.Together, Gray Area, Intersection, and 5M joined forces to produce UPSan Francisco 2012, with several city departments and collaborators.
  5. 5. AudienceOur four panels focused on increasing the dialog between artists,designers, technologists, city leaders, and the local community.The on-site test installations of prototypes created two key outcomes:first, project teams could perform user-testing and get feedback ontheir early work in a real urban setting, from a diverse group of citizens;second, those citizens could experience and take part in thedevelopment of new bottom-up projects to shape the future of their city.Our day-long series of performances created an atmosphere ofcelebration of the teams’ work that visitors of all ages could enjoy.
  6. 6. Creating PrototypesWe created new urban prototypes through two approaches:an open call for project proposals, which encouraged submissions fromteams with existing ideas and a history of working together; anda 48-hour makeathon where teams and ideas were formed andprototyped on the fly, going from concept to execution in a weekend.These approaches complement each other by allowing for both thereliability of strong teams submitting from around the world, and theserendipity of new people and disciplines mixing together locally.We received 90+ submissions to the Festival from the open call and 11more from the makeathon. Of these we selected 23 projects to beshowcased in the Festival and receive $1,000 materials stipends.
  7. 7. Project RequirementsWe sought projects that could begin locally and scale globally.Each project had to meet three basic requirements:Digital + PhysicalProjects had to include both digital and physical components, ideallymixing the two in unique ways that uncover new possibilities.Open Source + DocumentedProjects had to be open source in every sense of the word and producea comprehensive how-to guide that was made available to the public.Replicable + AffordableProjects had to be affordable, aiming for a materials budget of less than$1,000 for the prototype phase, and had to be designed for a type ofplace rather than a specific location, in order to scale worldwide.
  8. 8. Selected ProjectsPULSE OF THE CITY HIGHLIGHTS I JUST WANNA DARKNESS MAP HOLD YOUR HAND turning reviving dark using digital art to collecting lightheartbeats into alleys with 3D promote public data from data + music projection art interaction city streets
  9. 9. Pulse of the CityPulse of the City playfully empowers pedestrians with self-awareness oftheir heart rates by translating them into unique musical compositions inreal-time. It simultaneously streams this heart rate data to the internet foranyone to explore and analyze.
  10. 10. HighlightsLighting and projections are strategically placed to illuminate a dark spaceand create a sense of security while activating under utilized spaces at night,treating dark alleyways and unused spaces as a canvas for creativeintervention.
  11. 11. I Just Wanna Hold Your HandBy interacting with one another people are able to transform theirenvironment through play. Two metal hands are mounted to the wall. Whentwo or more individuals complete the circuit they provoke audio-visualresponses based on the flow of electricity through the individuals.
  12. 12. Darkness MapDarkness Map is a crowd-sourced data visualization that portrays theamount of light and darkness in the nighttime urban environment on ahuman scale, capturing and communicating the city’s nightime luminosity.
  13. 13. Project OutcomesFestivals are just the beginning of the longer UP process of creatinglasting change in cities. In just a few months after the 2012 Festival:the majority of project teams had meetings with city departmentsto discuss possibilities for pilot installations and future development;several teams had completed additional test installations at localevents, engaging hundreds more citizens in user-testing and feedback;TrafficCom had started shipping test products for immediate use;Street Stage was planning an official pilot within San Francisco;Glowing Crosswalk and I Just Wanna Hold Your Hand were selectedwinners of the global Instructables Design Competition; andFruit Fence had been replicated by another citizen in San Francisco.
  14. 14. 2012 Festival Reviews“With a little imagination, it’s easy to see how a lot of these projects could beintegrated into a city.”- Wired“...the aim, to actively spotlight imaginative civic possibilities, is worth calling out.”- Wall Street Journal“[UP San Francisco] showcased creative innovations from local residents that aimto make the urban environment more livable.”- Fast Company“The tactile nature of actual working prototypes should facilitate [the projects’replication worldwide].”- San Francisco Chronicle“The festival promises to be an explosion of DIY tech meets DIY civic engagementmeets SF art scene.”- San Francisco Bay Guardian
  15. 15. Press ListThe Wall Street JournalWIREDThe San Francisco ChronicleCBS SmartPlanetThe Atlantic CitiesFast CompanyHuffington PostSmithsonian MagazineDiscovery NewsTreeHuggerShareableLaughing SquidSan Francisco Bay GuardianCurbed SF
  16. 16. Selected SpeakersGovernmentJane Kim, District 6 Supervisor, City of San FranciscoJohn Rahaim, Director, San Francisco Planning DepartmentShannon Spanhake, Deputy Chief Innovation Officer, City of San FranciscoCommercialTom Kelley, General Manager, IDEOMatthew Passmore, RebarBen Cerveny, Bloom.ioAcademicScott Doorley, Stanford d.schoolSanjit Sethi, California College of the ArtsGenevieve Hoffman, NYU Tisch School of the ArtsNonprofitLiz Ogbu, IDEO.orgBen Grant, San Francisco Planning and Urban ResearchDeborah Cullinan, Intersection for the Arts
  17. 17. Selected PerformersWonway PosibulCampo Santo + FeloniusGoldo and the GunsApex RicheyHoward WileyValerie TrouttModas DanceMark FellMoss MossAfrikan SciencesGhosts on TapeDJ DialsRyan AlexanderGabriel Dunne
  18. 18. Partners and SponsorsGray Area Foundation for the ArtsIntersection for the ArtsSan Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation5M ProjectRebarIDEOSan Francisco Planning DepartmentSan Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR)Adobe FoundationAutodeskTechShop San FranciscoNeighborlandTwitterWaze
  19. 19. Contacturbanprototyping.org@urbanprotofacebook.com/urbanprototypinginfo@urbanprototyping.orgJake Levitas, DirectorUrban PrototypingJosette Melchor, Executive DirectorGray Area Foundation for the ArtsOriginal UP concept by Gray Area and Rebar.