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Urban Interaction Design 20x20 slides, FET11, Budapest

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  • Good afternoon, my name is Michael Smyth and I am based at the Centre for Interaction Design at Edinburgh Napier University in the UK. Today I want to present my ideas for an Urban Interaction Design Network. This is based on the idea that interaction is more than what happens on the screen, interaction takes place at all levels of our lives\n\n
  • Today an increased part of our lives are spent in cities and those cities are characterized by ever more complex interactions. Cities are complex systems at both the physical and increasingly at the digital levels and each provides us with challenges as we seek to make sense of them.\n\n
  • The aim of the network is to better understand the implications of this complexity at both a societal and a human level. Such a network will be multi-disciplinary involving architects, urban planners, govt bodies working closely with technologists and researchers.\n\n
  • Specifically this network will address the human and societal issues that arise as diverse communities engage with the increasingly technological landscape of growing urban European regions. We need to better understand the impact at the level of the individual and society as they engage with the technological landscape.\n\n
  • In 2009 for the first time in history more than half the worlds population lived in urban areas – 3 billion people. This will only increase as currently there are 60 million new urban dwellers per year.\n\n
  • Change is not just rural to urban but also urban to urban – some cities will shrink in size. So what challenges will those pose for researchers? What will it mean for products and services?\n\n
  • Complexity of urban spaces is increased with the overlay of digital data and media. Increase in pervasive technologies resulting in cities that are more sentient and aware.\n\n
  • Questions arise concerning the ways that people understand and interact with this information.\nRaises questions about who sees what data and when – is your experience of being in the city the same as mine? What will this mean for identity and sense of place?\n\n
  • Hybrid city’s characterized by widely heterogeneous populations with different cultural backgrounds, aspirations, values and social behaviours. In the future maybe such boundaries will collapse? What will this mean for Europe’s city’s?\n
  • This places great demands on researchers, technologists and policymakers as they ensure that societal needs are understood and met. What does it mean to inhabit a city in the 21st century?\nHow do we begin to design concepts when we don’t know what that design space will look like, let alone who will populate it?\n\n
  • One direction has been the development of pervasive technologies that are becoming increasingly prevalent in our cities. Individuals will encounter, and interact with, these systems knowingly and unknowingly in their daily lives.\n\n
  • But no choice about interacting.\nHow can we choose to opt out of something we do not know is there? Will opting out be even possible or desirable? Will opting out marginalize or indeed will opting in further stratify urban society?\nWhat does this mean for interaction, or maybe the word should be interpassive?\n\n
  • This technological paradigm shift raises fundamental issues including; transparency, ownership, boundaries, security, convenience, control and privacy. \na.Is this a vision of heaven or hell?\nb.How do we identify the questions before we embark on solutions?\n\n
  • The emergent research field of Urban Interaction Design addresses this intersection of people with the data-rich city. \na.Bleed points – the intersection between real and virtual.\nb.How these points impact on the activities of individuals and groups.\n\n
  • This approach accepts the complexity of individuals and society and seeks to explore it through a bottom-up, ethnographically informed research methodology.\na.Role of critical design – provocation for thought\nb.What are the questions? And how do we explore the space that lies beyond the current and the now?\n\n
  • This network will provide a forum for cross-disciplinary connections, by facilitating the exchange of ideas and the dissemination of activities and research – feeding into future FET research.\na.Post cards from the edge will inform the FET agenda.\nb.Critical Design will inform the narrative of these post cards.\n\n
  • Within this new community, as well as to a broader scientific and technological audience – It aims to foster dialogue with related disciplines including the humanities and social sciences.\na.Embrace the multi-disciplinary nature of the field as a positive.\n\n
  • Outreach by publications, exhibitions, creative/artistic activities.\na.Learning through doing?\nb.Provocation to thought\nc.Critical to the success of this venture will be engagement with the people that comprise the city.\n\n
  • The network has the goal of informing and shaping the future research agenda in this emerging multidisciplinary field.\na.This should not be underestimated\nb.Need to break out of our disciplinary silos - to get out of our offices and labs\n\n
  • a.In a world where everything seems possible – maybe the aim of the network is to restore our sense of wonder\nb.A lens though which we can view the world and so better understand our own condition.\n\n
  • Transcript

    • 1. Michael Smyth, Centre for Interaction Design, Edinburgh Napier University, UK www.michael-smyth.co.uk www.urbanixd.org
    • 2. What is Urban Interaction Design?
    • 3. Why do we need an inter-disciplinary network?
    • 4. The network will address human and societal issues that arise as diverse communitiesengage with the increasingly technological landscape of growing urban European regions.
    • 5. Cities are getting bigger in size and variety.
    • 6. Speed of change and lack of stability in populations.
    • 7. Increased overlay of digital data and media in the built environment.
    • 8. Raises questions about the ways that people will understand and interact with this information.
    • 9. Urban dwellers are heterogeneous in their cultural backgrounds, aspirations and values.
    • 10. Places demands on researchers, technologists and policymakers as they ensure that societal needs are understood and met.
    • 11. Pervasive technologies will become increasingly prevalent, and individuals will encounter and interact with these systems knowingly and unknowingly in their daily lives.
    • 12. No choice about interacting.
    • 13. Technological paradigm shift raises fundamental issues including: transparency; ownership, boundaries, security, convenience, control and privacy.
    • 14. Urban Interaction Design addresses the intersection of people with the data-rich city.
    • 15. The approach accepts the complexity of individuals and society and seeks to explore it through an ethnographically informed research methodology.
    • 16. The Urban Interaction Design network will be inter-disciplinary and will enable the exchange of ideas that will feed into current and future FET research.
    • 17. The network will aim to foster dialogue with related disciplines including the humanities and the social sciences.
    • 18. Outreach will be achieved through publications, exhibitions and design activities.
    • 19. The network has the goal of informing and shaping the future research agenda in this emerging multi-disciplinary field.
    • 20. Michael Smyth, Centre for Interaction Design, Edinburgh Napier University, UK www.michael-smyth.co.uk www.urbanixd.org

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