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The Urban Launchpad: Initial Design Brief


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MIT-born initiative to encourage experimentation in cities.

Published in: Design, Technology, Real Estate
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The Urban Launchpad: Initial Design Brief

  1. 1. Meet DhakaOnly 1% of people have cars
  2. 2. Meet ZiaHe loves his city and wants to finda way to reduce congestion
  3. 3. Should he close down the road?In cities like Fazilka, road closureseemed to counterintuitively reducecongestion
  4. 4. Before After He did once before (but wasn’t sure if it worked)
  5. 5. To the naked eye, It looked like the experiment was a success – some of theresidents seemed to like it. But he couldn’t tell if it was a 5% or 50%improvement. Also, maybe it was because it was a weekend. Maybe it wasbecause petrol prices went up recently. Maybe it was because of the bigcricket match the night before.What he did know is that the car owners were not happy. He knew that itcost the city 500,000 taka to monitor and close the street. Better to do nothing.
  6. 6. Can the mayor of Dhaka run his city like an MITscientist managing a lab of experiments?
  7. 7. Cities have become too complicated to manage on gut instinct.Measuring a city’s performance can help encourageexperimentation.There are no effective, low cost means of quickly assessing acity’s performance.
  8. 8. The Urban Launchpad employs humanand mobile sensors to deliver atargeted, low-cost data service formeasuring the impact of cityexperiments
  9. 9. A distributed15 million users subset of carry a unique smartphone code volunteers marks their spot
  10. 10. city user scanner
  11. 11. walking, happy bus, CNG, Two-wheeler, frustrated content angry
  12. 12. LIVING DHAKA making the invisible visible An initiative of the
  13. 13. Collaborators Albert Ching is an aspiring urban innovator, a lifelong Hawaiian and former Googler based in Mountain View, Hyderabad and Singapore. Albert is enduring the frigid cold of Boston to help cities innovate, specifically by using the proliferation of information technologies to solve transport problems in South and Southeast Asia. He is a researcher for the Singapore-MIT Alliance’s Future of Urban Mobility project. Stephen Kennedy is a designer and artist formerly based in Atlanta with a background in Industrial Design from Georgia Tech. At first a reluctant transplant to Boston, Stephen has enjoyed trying to escape frigid New England by working as a hybrid planner-designer on signage initiatives in New Orleans, greenway planning in the Bronx, urban realm technology in Thessaloniki, and participatory planning in Indonesia. His focus is on both physical planning and spatial information design. Muntasir Mamun Imran is a nature lover, adventure-trekker, and an experienced social entrepreneur from Bangladesh. He is the co-founder of Kewkradong Bangladesh, country coordinator for the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, and Organizer of the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. He has organized cycling rides throughout Bangladesh including the Sir Edmund Hillary Ride, the Ride for Green, and the LiveStrong Ride.
  14. 14. Advisors P. Chris Zegras is the Ford Assistant Professor of Urban Planning and Transportation at MIT. His research interests include the influence of the built environment on individual travel behavior, transportation infrastructure and system financing, indicators of sustainable transportation, and mitigating transportation greenhouse gas emissions. On these and other related topics, he has consulted widely, including for the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Canadian, German, US, and Peruvian Governments, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the United Nations Center for Regional Development. Zia Wadud is an Associate Professor in Civil Engineering at the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET). Zia completed his PhD from Imperial College London in Civil Engineering Policy in 2008 as a Commonwealth Scholar and held research positions at the University of Cambridge and at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Zia’s current research interests are in modeling and valuation of policy interventions in the transportation and environment sector (including climate change policy), modeling energy demand and assessing risk and vulnerability in the context of broader Civil Engineering topics.
  15. 15. Good cities don’thappen by accident.
  16. 16. Living Dhaka Program Requirements manpower 500 volunteers to help register / scan city users (university students) Training for volunteers and marketing campaign for users materials 100-400 Android powered smart-phones QR code printer and collateral (business cards/ T-shirts) T-shirts / hats / food for volunteers Signage and digital projectors technology(beingdevelopedatMIT) Mobile application(s) for registering and scanning users Back-end databases for storing, processing, analyzing data
  17. 17. *Related to existing or new experiments inLiving Dhaka Proposed Timeline the city to promote alternatives to carsOct19TodayOct-NovBuildMIT-Dhakaworking team Oct-JanRecruitVolunteers (Dhaka) Dec1st Viral marketingcampaign(Dhaka) OctReachouttoNGOs,gov’tofficials, Jan1st &otherstakeholderstogarnersupport Trainingof andevaluatefeasibility NovIdentifyspecific volunteers experimentsto measure* begins (Dhaka) Oct21st-Nov9thFundingdeadline fromMIT resources(MIT) Oct31st Nov1–24th Finish1st Jan8th Usertestinginboth TeamfromMIT Working MITandDhaka arrivesinDhaka Prototypeof MobileApps Jan15 andBackend Launch (MIT)
  18. 18. Open Questions Feedbackonideaandconceptesponpitchclarity COUHESapprovalfromMIT FundingsourcesforLivingDhakaprototypeduringIAP Userexperience–willusersparticipate? Howmuchdataandparticipationrequiredfordatatobeuseful Buildingtechnologyprototypeandtestingremotelybeforelaunch Identifyingand/ordeployingcityexperiments Governmentapprovalstoprototype Businessmodel
  19. 19. Appendix
  20. 20. LIVING DHAKAUser experience 1 2 3 Register. Scan. Project. An initiative of the
  21. 21. LIVING DHAKAUser experience H e mmut W 2Hour Co Visualize. An initiative of the
  22. 22. LIVING DHAKAScanning mobile application Scan to download app. Also press to start the scan. Scan. An initiative of the
  23. 23. LIVING DHAKAScanning mobile application Select Send data Scan transport to the QR code. mode. cloud. 10 seconds (or less). An initiative of the
  24. 24. LIVING DHAKA *Potential city experimentssexy sidewalks
  25. 25. LIVING DHAKA*Potential city experimentscritical mass cycling
  26. 26. LIVING DHAKA*Potential city experiments the best way to see Dhaka