Interfaces for Urban & Civic Computing
The rise of social media has led to an explosion of new interpersonal relationships, regardless of (or even in spite of) location. But this has, arguably, reduced one’s connection to local communities and neighborhoods and, more generally, civic engagement, especially in urban settings. Connecting citizens with physical locations and infrastructure in urban centers, and local-specific communities is an especially challenging interface problem, considering the dissonance between aging infrastructure (buildings, transportation, and utilities) and modern expectations of instant access to information and responsiveness to issues. This research thrust will focus on new interfaces and technologies to enhance connectedness with urban infrastructure to foster community and promote greater civic engagement.
Exemplar project: Augmented Philly, an urban center where augmented reality (AR) is an information utility that is available to all citizens. This large-scale project enables the transformation of public places to envision possible futures without compromising the integrity of current physical spaces (e.g., historical events, annotated objects and the spaces between them, modify the current landscape to incorporate sights, sounds, and tactile sensations). It would offer a completely unique playground for technological innovation and social/behavioral research on creativity in the wild.