Public Space Interface

Proposal for Canal St

Public Space Interface
a workshop with IBM
March 2012

Public space is the interface for exchanges in cities, and today more than ever the site of rapid change. The physical presence of public space continues to grow more dynamic as the use of complementary virtual networks provide for increased access and mobility. Together, they form an adaptive infrastructure in cities, emerging, networking, and responding in unprecedented ways. The very users of these augmented spaces reshape them constantly, exposing new potentials in the city, as they are forecasting, mapping, and interacting in a smart way.

IBM City Forward, Columbia University GSAPP, and Parsons Art, Media & Technology investigated the opportunities for participatory data and public space to come together to add a more “human” dimension to the development of smart cities, through a collaborative visioning workshop, research period and project conceptualization.

The investigation focused on deploying the City Forward platform in real space, in real time. Leveraging City Forward’s ability to aggregate, visualize, and socialize data, a multidisciplinary group of designers and researches positioned the platform to identify conditions and criteria for public space and citizen participation in smart cities. By creating a responsive cycle in which each citizen acts as a sensor within a smart city, the interactivity of these citizen sensors in public spaces is scalable. As these spaces become more sensient through use, feedback cycles may expand to communicate between public spaces and further still in joining the physical and virtual networks that shape smart cities.

A key aspect to facilitating the workshop was bringing in community based organizations to work with in identifying and situating the conceptualization. The workshop outcomes feature a fully four developed proposals that explore Broadway along the vertical axis of the city, with 125th, 37th, Canal and Wall Streets as the site of investigation.

Workshop Organizers
IBM: Lilian Wu, Lyell Sakaue, TBD
Columbia: Jennifer Broutin, Kamal Farah
Parsons: Jane Pirone, Jess Irish

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