Connected Limerick: exploring urban spaces through digital traces


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My presentation at the iHCI conference, NUIG, 21 June 2012

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Connected Limerick: exploring urban spaces through digital traces

  1. 1. Connected Limerick:exploring urban spaces through digital traces Gabriela Avram Interaction Design Centre, University of Limerick, Ireland
  2. 2. Outline Background Methodology The digital overlay The interventions Discussion Conclusion and future plans
  3. 3. Introduction Focus: mobile actors (locals and visitors) whose movement and interaction with urban spaces are augmented with an “additional digital overlay” (Ciolfi, Fitzpatrick, Bannon, 2008)
  4. 4. Introduction (continued) Goffman-inspired presentation of place – as relationship between the nature and the appearance of a place (Sutko&da Souza, 2011) for each user, “the urban environment is constructed through perceptions of nearby information and people”( Gordon and De Souza e Silva, 2011
  5. 5. Problems with navigating the city The lack of ubiquitous availability of a wifi or mobile connection; The large number of location-based social networks and their reliability problems; Affordances of smartphone apps – touch typing while walking; screen not readable in bright light.
  6. 6. Research questions What motivates people to create and share digital content in relation to specific places within a city? How is this content consumed on the move, using location-aware mobile devices? What does the digital dimension add to the appearance of a place? Can the digital overlay cause a shift in the general perception of a place?
  7. 7. Methodology mobile methods recommended by Büscher et al (2010):  „moving along with‟ members of the public likely to be touched by technology,  „moving in‟ with prototype technologies, and  „being moved‟ by experiences, observations and conversations that arise along the way.
  8. 8. Work to date Involvement in local interest groups and communities, supporting their digital presence; Organising and running urban games; Working with students to create content;
  9. 9. Limerick‟s digital overlay
  10. 10. A citizen turned historian
  11. 11. Flickr Group gathering the best photos
  12. 12. Twitter
  13. 13. Foursquare
  14. 14. Initiative and YouTube channel founded by a native who returned from NY
  15. 15. Sonic Soundscapes
  16. 16. Geocaching
  17. 17.
  18. 18. Communities coming together because of Facebook
  19. 19.
  20. 20. The official image
  21. 21. The interventionsReflecting upon the role of the digital layer
  22. 22. “Connected Limerick”- 2010 Started as an initiative meant to encourage reflection on the relationship between the city and its “digital double” We invited individuals, organizations and communities to reflect on how this content is influencing their trajectories through the city and how can it be made more visible and more accessible to both locals and visitors.
  23. 23. “Connected Limerick”- 2011 Series of short talks on the interweaving of the digital and physical layers, followed by discussions Emphasis on embodied, situated interaction The risks of studying the digital separated from the physical (Bannon 2011)
  24. 24. The interventionsContributing to the waving of the digital layer
  25. 25. Supporting the digital presence of local communities  miLKlabs ( Limerick hackerspace)  Limerick Local Heroes  IxDA Limerick chapter  We love Plassey riverbank  3Dcamp
  26. 26. Digital news curation
  27. 27. Tweasure Hunt Urban game using Twitter and Flickr as part of the Lifelong Learning Festival in April Eliciting stories from people who know the city really well and recording them; erecting temporary plaques; Documenting existing plaques for enriching the Open Plaques repository;
  28. 28. Discussion Participating in community content creation: insights into new collaborative practices; The waving of the digital layer can be supported in various ways:  semantic annotations;  following the UT model of content co-creation & organic growth (Angus et al 2008);  digital curation; New digital tools for urban activism: “deciphering, debugging, and hacking the city”(Doerk&Monteyne,2011)
  29. 29. Conclusion and future plans Citizens and visitors are not equally affected by the digital overlay- digital divide; Many of the groups active in producing digital content ignore their audiences; Interventions need to build on existing, low- tech (or no tech) practices; Future plans: Studying the impact of the digital overlay consumption on changing both life in the city and the perception of the city.
  30. 30. References Ciolfi, L., Fitzpatrick, G. and Bannon, L., (2008), “Settings for Collaboration: The Role of Place”, Computer Supported Cooperative Work Journal, Springer, Vol. 17, Nos. 2-3, April/June 2008 (91-96). Sutko, D. M., & de Souza e Silva, A. (2011). Location aware mobile media and urban sociability. New Media & Society, 13 (5), 807-823. Gordon, E., & de Souza e Silva, A. (2011), Net Locality: Why Location Matters in a Networked World. Boston: Blackwell- Wiley. Angus, A. et al.(2008), Urban Social Tapestries, IEEE Pervasive Computing 7 (4) 44-51. Dörk, M., Monteyne, D.(2011),Urban Co-Creation: Envisioning New Digital Tools for Activism and Experimentation in the City. HCI, Politics, and the City (CHI 2011 workshop).
  31. 31. Thank you! @gabig58