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Speculative urban technology concepts catalog and prototype; Collaboration with a group of researchers at UC Santa Cruz during my internship there
Smart cities are often presented through the lens of increasing urban efficiency, optimizing infrastructure, and spurring economic activity. Yet, cities should be far more than productive: they are made up of moment-to-moment passing interactions between people, and they should be socially rewarding, culturally stimulating, and emotionally rich. While there is value in designing urban technologies that make our cities more efficient, we see a need for paying more attention to other, less materially productive design agendas. This catalog addresses this through the lens of playfulness: it investigates the inherent playful potential of urban spaces and speculates upon how to design interactive technology that helps us to realize that potential. The catalog a collection of future-oriented technology concepts that are meant to stimulate playful and social interactions with(in) the urban space. We designed it in collaboration with a group of researchers at UC Santa Cruz, as part of a project exploring increasingly playful smart city innovation, while I was doing the internship there. The ideas in the catalog are inspired by our research: they respond to and embody forms of playful interaction that we’ve identified in people’s existing urban practices—what we call play potentials of urban spaces.
Play potentials are spontaneous manifestations of playful engagement that emerge in the wild. In this first part of the project,we "catch play potentials" in the urban spaces, and we did that thru two interventions: Chasing play on social media and a play & culture workshop
With the catalog done, we performed a series of interviews and another workshop with experts to polish the ideas and select the ones with more potential to prototype. I was in charge of a team to prototype a version of the "sensorial memory bench", that we transformed into a sensorial memory box to make the testing.
A short video recorded on the testing day. Every part of the box hides a story that happened in that place, and the user can listen to them.