The City of Limerick ExperienceInfoFor my ﬁnal project, I am going to focus on an interactive experience in the city ofLimerick. !How can an interactive installation improve the experience of the city of Limerick?! !BackgroundIn this chapter, I will research the factors that influence the experience of Limerick. I will alsoresearch the possibilities of interactive installations.Limerick CitySince I arrived in Limerick, I have been interested in the city. How do people who live in the cityexperience it, how do tourists / students experience the city? And what is the image the city hasnationally or even internationally?In the infographic below, you will see everyone and everything that is inﬂuencing the watpeople experience Limerick as a city and image of Limerick .
1. The ﬁnancial crisis in IrelandThe ﬁnancial crisis also has its effects on Limerick city: the closing of the Dell factory, closing ofshops and gas stations and a higher unemployment rate.2. The national mediaPeople in Limerick have the opinion that national journalists report inaccurately about Limerick.Willy O’Dea, TD of Limerick city, says about this: “Since the late 1970s, some of the Dublin mediatended to assume that the city has a certain reputation and stuck to that ever since.”3. Closing of Dell factoryIn 2009, the Dell factory in Limerick closed and 1,900 people lost their jobs. Because Dell wasoutsourcing work to a lot of local companies, the knock-on effect could lead up to around 6,000people losing their job in the Limerick region.
4. High unemployment ratesThe ﬁnancial crisis also caused a rapid grow of unemployment in Limerick city. In some areas ofLimerick, the unemployment rate is 4 times the nationals average. In one of the areas, St. Mary’sPark, more than half of the adults are unemployed.5. Empty stores / gas stationsAs it is in most cities in Europe and the United States, the ﬁnancial crisis has caused that a lot ofstores go bankrupt or can’t afford paying the rent anymore and move to a cheaper place. InLimerick, this is not only the case with stores, but also with a lot of gas stations. The empty storesand abandoned gas stations, give a negative vibe to the city.6. TouristsVisiting Limerick is usually not a top priority for tourists visiting Ireland. This is partially because ofthe bad reputation is Limerick and partially because people don’t know much about the city and thethings to do and see in Limerick.7. Local journalistsThere are several national journalists based in Limerick. In the article in the Limerick Leader, LauraRyan said that they try to do their best to give an honest and complete view on the events in thecity. They try to provide a context of the stories so that not only the negative stories are highlighted.8. Limerick newspapersThere are 2 local newspapers in Limerick, that write about everything that is happening in the city:The Limerick Post and the Limerick Leader.9. University of LimerickThe University of Limerick has a possitive effect to Limerick city. he university is only 40 years oldnow, but is growing fast and already has 12,000 students. The university is constantly growing,partially due to funding from the European Union.2310. The I Love Limerick initiativeLove Limerick is a group of creative people that make videos, write about and take pictures ofthings happening in Limerick. Their goal is to focus on the positive things going on in Limerick tocreate a pride and wider respect for the city. They cover artists, new enterprises, organisations andcharities with video on their YouTube channel and with articles and pictures on their website. “ILove Limerick shows a positive side of Limerick to the world.”11. The RubberbanditsThe Rubberbandits is a comedy / hip hop duo from Limerick. They received national fame in 2010when they performed at the Electric Picnic festival and spoke at Trinity College, following up forexample Nelson Mandela. Because of their national fame and the fact that they are proud of theirorigins Limerick, they make people see Limerick from a more positive point of view.712. Citizens of LimerickThe population of the city of Limerick in April 2011 is 57,106. If you include the suburbs of the city,a total of 91,454 people live in the city. In a focus group with citizens of Limerick, organised byWillie O’Dea, the participants talked about the national and international reputation.3 One of theparticipants said: “The media has a negative gloss on Limerick city, the only thing the mediareports on is when someone is killed or how bad the housing situation is, for example.”But the participants agree that Limerick is not as bad as the reputation it has. “It is not like Limerickis South Africa or something, where you don’t want to stop for trafﬁc lights because you will getstabbed”.
Interactive InstallationFor my ﬁnal project, I am going to focus on Urban Interactive Installations.What are interactive installations?Interactive installations are a sub-category of installation art. An important part of an interactiveinstallation is that is involved the users acting on the work and the installation responding to whatthe user does. There are several forms of interactive installations: web-based installations, gallery-based installations, digital-based installations, electronic-based installations and mobile-basedinstallations.How can interactive installations be used?I did a brainstorm about this:
Inspiring previous projectsThere are a couple of previous projects that inspire me to create an Urban Interactive Installation.LEDs Urban Carpet (Bath, United Kingdom)http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/7459/1/7459.pdfBy: London City CollegeThe LEDs Urban Carpet is an urban interactive installation, tested in the city of Bath. It is ahorizontal carpet, which users can interact with, using their body-input. When pedestrians walk onthe carpet, a pattern of lights is following the pedestrians footsteps. People can work together tocreate the lighting effects. In this study, strangers started talking with each other about thisinstallation. Installations like this one, can improve the casual interactions that people have witheach other, which can lead to more social awareness and engagement in a city.I wish this was...http://candychang.com/i-wish-this-was/By: Candy ChangThis project does not involve technical aspects and is completely based on stickers. Stickers withthe text ‘I wish this was’ and an empty space to write something, were distributed in the city of NewOrleans. People could stick the stickers on vacant storefronts, and write down what they like to seein that building. Answers were for example: a cheap farmers market, a taco stand, a place to sitand talk ect. This was project was such a huge success in New Orleans and other cities, that awebsite was created where everyone can enter an idea about their neighborhood: https://neighborland.com/Before I die (New Orleans, Florida, United States)http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2011-03/09/candy-chang-new-orleans-art-projecthttp://candychang.com/before-i-die-in-nola/By: Candy ChangThis interactive art piece let’s pedestrians that walk by write down their dreams on a big ofchalkboard. People can finish the sentence: ‘Before I die, I want to:’. This chalkboard is attached toan abandoned building. Before, the building gave a bad vibe to the neighborhood: it was a placepeople wanted to avoid. The goal of the designer was to make this a nicer space in theneighborhood. With her different projects, she wants to change the way people use public space.
Concept sketchesI made some sketches of different concept ideas. I have not yet decided which concept I am goingto develop for my ﬁnal project.Concept 1: This is my LimerickMake a picture of something that you like in Limerick and send it to the interactive installationtogether with a little text. On this screen of the installation, you will see what everyone likes aboutthe city and their pictures. This screen will be hanging in the city centre of Limerick, so thateveryone who is in the city, can see it.Technology neededFor this installation, I can use Twitter as an application for people to send their texts and images tothe screen. When they use a certain hashtag, the screen will recognize it. The photos on thescreen will appear at a random position, size and rotation (between 315 and 45 degrees). Thesame with the text, but this will also appear in a random font and color. Text and images thatbelong together, will be shown next to each other, of course. I can do this in Processing.Concept 2: The hidden pearls“Find the hidden pearls of Limerick city”. This is an interactive installation in the city centre ofLimerick. The goal for people is to try to ﬁnd the hidden pearls of the city. They can do this bymoving the, in this case, leafs that hide the pearls. The hidden pearls are locations that otherpeople really like but are not that well known, for example a restaurant, pub, park, shop or street.When someone ﬁnds a hidden pearl, you can click on it to read more about the tip and thelocation.People can add their own hidden pearls on the associated website. If a pearl gets enough votes, itwill be added to the installation.
Technologies neededFor this installation, I need to use the Kindle technology, so that the installation recognizes wheresomeone is moving their hands. This way it is possible to use the installation without touching it.Another option is using a touch screen, where the users touch the screen to move the leafs. I alsoneed a website with a database where people can add new pearls to. Other people need to beable to vote for a pearl.Concept 3: Work together to save the city!In this game, a catastrophe is coming to distroy the city. This could be anything (hurricane,dangerous animals, rain..) and people can only save the city by working together. This way, peopleare talking with each other, maybe even strangers will do this together.
Technology neededDepending on the type of game, different software can be used. For the people to interact with thegame, I will most likely use a Kinect.