Design for urban green space

About the project

This service design and human-computer interaction research project explored how to maintain urban green spaces, expand them, and promote their use. Sponsored by Intel Research and a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship.
  • photo of community gardeners with flowers
    "Garden tours" of San Francisco community gardens.
  • Historical analysis of park design and politics.
  • Design concept sketches
  • Service ecology diagrams

City Centered: A festival of locative media and urban community

city centered postcard

In 2010, I co-organized City Centered, a free, three-day festival of locative media and urban community in San Francisco. The event included demonstrations and installations in the Tenderloin district, a symposium in the Mission district and community training workshops. The art festival, which I co-curated, included contributions from MIT’s Senseable Cities Lab and Stamen Design.

Over two weekends, it engaged artists, educators, civic organizations and community members of all ages in exploring how how locative media can act as a platform and venue for community-led expression.

Visit the festival site

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Familiar Strangers

About the project

As humans we come to understand the places around us using a myriad of observable cues, such as public-private, large-small, daytime-nighttime, loud-quiet, and crowded-empty. Unsurprisingly, it is the people with which we share such spaces that often dominate our perception of place. Sometimes these people are friends, family and colleagues. More often, and particularly in urban public spaces, the individuals who affect us are ones that we repeatedly observe and yet do not directly interact with – our Familiar Strangers.

This research project explored the often ignored yet very meaningful relationships with Familiar Strangers. Several experiments and studies led to a design for a personal, body-worn, wireless device that extends the Familiar Stranger relationship while respecting the delicate, yet important, constraints of our feelings and relationships with strangers in public places. Sponsored by Intel Research from 2003–4, with Eric Paulos.

More complete information on the Familiar Strangers project

  • What is a familiar stranger?
  • Mapping zones of interaction in a public square in downtown Berkeley.
  • Redoing the classic study by Stanley Milgram that established the concept of "familiar strangers" – this time in downtown Berkeley rather than New York.
  • A walking tour of downtown Berkeley to investigate the relationship of place and crowds.
  • Results of co-design exercises to explore how to visualize familiar-strangers on a small, wearable display.
  • Low-power display for a wearable "mote" or mesh sensor node.
  • Prototyped "familiar stranger" device.
  • Imagined network of wearable device / stationary beacons.
  • Final mobile application