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Posts in category 'Architecture'

26 October 2014

Creating user-friendlier environments

casalegno

MIT News describes how Federico Casalegno of the MIT Mobile Experience Lab designs technology environments that keep human experience at the center of user experience.

“The director of the MIT Mobile Experience Lab looks to innovate with technology — but only in support of the user. This approach results in less-impersonal hotel lobbies, smarter gas stations, more intuitive homes, and a conference that examines design and creativity with a decidedly bottom-up approach. “We want to design technologies around people, not people around technologies,” Casalegno says.”

19 October 2013

Architects don’t listen to people

 

Christine Outram left the architecture profession because, she says, architects “don’t listen to people“.

“The truth is, most of you don’t try. You rely on rules of thumb and pattern books, but you rarely do in-depth ethnographic research. You might sit at the building site for an hour and watch people “use space” but do you speak to them? Do you find out their motivations? Do your attempts really make their way into your design process?

The world is changing. You have all these new tools at your fingertips. New tools that I don’t see you using and quite a few old techniques that you could get a lot better at.”

9 September 2013

From nice view to amazing journey: UNstudio and Experientia transforming the observation wheel experience

 

An architectural rendering of the Giant Observation Wheel, to be built in an undisclosed location in Japan.
Click on image to view slideshow
 

Recently, Fast Company, Dezeen Magazine and Wired have featured articles about UNStudio’s design for the Nippon Moon, a Giant Observation Wheel (GOW) to be located in Japan that could rival the London Eye and Singapore Flyer. To make the Nippon Moon unique, UNStudio teamed up with Experientia to create a journey that takes the customer into the heart of the view, and helps to bring the landscape to life in an immersive, innovative experience.

UNStudio invited Experientia to develop the interactive aspects of the project, while engineers Arup and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries are collaborating on the technical specifications. From a distance, UNStudio’s concept may look similar to the well-known observation wheels of London and Singapore. As UNStudio notes, the wheel’s look is governed by structural constraints (defined by Arup and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries — two of the world’s most specialised wheel engineers), as well as by the location and the size of the wheel. But closer up, the concept is highly innovative, creating a complete user experience where the journey is much more enduring than the 40-minute rotation on the wheel itself.

Architecturally speaking, there are several innovations which make the Nippon Moon stand out. Although the size and location are currently undisclosed publically, UNStudio confirms that it will be nearly twice the scale of the London Eye. It also features double-decker capsules – a world first. But it is the focus on user experience aspects that make the wheel concept truly unique.

Experientia researched the various experiences of the customer journey from “Discovery” and “Ride” to “Return”, and designed various touchpoints and applications. The discovery moment starts as people begin to find out information about the wheel and purchase tickets online. With the Nippon Moon app, interactive features allow people to choose the time of their ride and their capsule, each of which has a unique internal theme. The app also builds excitement over the interim, sharing views from the top of the wheel and counting down to when customers start their rides. On the day of the ride, people can use the app to keep track of how long until it is their turn to board, allowing them to move within the facility freely, and avoiding queues.

Once on board, the experience of looking out at a city landscape is transformed by augmented reality techniques, built into the transparent skin of the capsules. Imagine looking out at a city skyscraper, for example, and being able to see how tall it is compared to towers around the world, or compared to Godzilla. The augmented reality offers viewers the option to immerse themselves in the historical and cultural relevance of the landscape they are looking at – or they can choose to simply enjoy the unenhanced view.

Experiences are shared however, and the app also allows riders to interact with each other. The Nippon Moon app lets people communicate the other capsules during the ride, or to send their own photos to the Hall of Fame, where they will see them displayed in a dynamic digital photo installation as they leave the facility. With original concepts and high-tech implementation, a ride on the wheel will become a truly unforgettable experience.

To read more about the wheel, check out the articles in Fast Company, Dezeen and Wired:
http://www.fastcodesign.com/3017693/in-wheel-life-spinning-the-worlds-largest-ferris-wheel
http://www.dezeen.com/2013/09/02/gow-nippon-moon-by-unstudio/
http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-09/03/nippon-moon-giant-wheel

 

GOW Nippon Moon, Japan, 2012

Client: UNStudio
Location: Japan
Programme: Giant Observation Wheel
Building surface: Terminal and platform 7.200m2
Building volume: Terminal and platform 90.000m3
Building site: 18.000m2
Capsules: 32, single and double-decked
Platform level: 21m
Wheel type: ‘Ladder rim’, hybrid tension wheel
Pylon: 5-columned pylon
Rotation speed: 40min/rotation
Status: Design

 

Credits

UNStudio: Ben van Berkel, Gerard Loozekoot with Frans van Vuure, Filippo Lodi and Harlen Miller, Jan Kokol, Wendy van der Knijff, Todd Ebeltoft, Tina Kortmann, Patrik Noome, Jeroen den Hertog, Iain Jamieson

Advisors

Engineer: Arup Tokyo + Melbourne

Interactive design and customer journey: Experientia, Italy:
– Jan-Christoph Zoels | Creative Director
– Takumi Yoshida | Interaction Designer
– Renzi Guisti | Interaction Designer
– John Welch | Interaction + service designer
– Eloisa Fontana | Interaction Designer

Animation: Submarine, Amsterdam

Visualisation: MIR

25 April 2013

Jan-Christoph Zoels on interfaces at UNStudio during Milan Design Week [video]

logo_unstudio

Jan-Christoph Zoels, an Experientia founding partner, was one of the panelists at the UNStudio Platform Dialogues during the Milan Design Week and a video of his discussion with Markus Benz (CEO Walter Knoll) and Birgit Lohmann (Associate Editor-in-chief Designboom), is now online.

Experientia and UNStudio, the famous Dutch architectural design studio led by Ben van Berkel and Caroline Bos, have previously collaborated on the design of sustainable buildings, environments and behavioral change.

The dialogue explored explored the current and future possibilities of Interfaces with each other and through materiality Whether it is as a portal to the World Wide Web or active nano-technologies, the communication between users and materials is no longer only one-way. The surfaces and objects through which we communicate and design provide new tactile and virtual feedbacks.

The UNStudio Platform Dialogues webpage also features the videos of the two other talks:

DESIGNING (FOR) CO-CREATING
How can architecture and product design contribute to co-creation? Is co-creation a romantic idea driven by the democratisation and customisation of the consumer industry, or a true reflection of contemporary working practices? What are the potential benefits of co-creating within architecture and product design? This session investigates the importance of materiality at the human scale of design. Jurgen Bey, Ben van Berkel and Leo Schouten invite design critics and writers to actively share their opinions concerning the future of co-creation. Sharing an interest in encouraging dialogue, innovation and creative exchange through design, they will discuss the process of co-creating within their own practices, as well as the designing of spaces for the accommodation of co-creation.
Panelists:
– Ben van Berkel, Co-Founder/ Principal Architect, UNStudio
– Jurgen Bey, Director/ designer Studio Makkink & Bey and director, PROOFFLab
– Leo Schouten, Founder / director, PROOFF
– Moderator: Christine de Baan

MATERIAL ATTAINABILITY
Every day we strive to find new materials and novel uses for old ones to discover inventive, effective and sustainable solutions. In the context of this Dialogue, ‘attainability’ is the combination of research and sustainability in the pursuit of advanced materials. For this dialogue we will explore what materials can do now, and what we want them to do tomorrow.
Panelists:
– Gabi Böhm, Senior Architect/Project Manager, Premier Composite Technologies
– Micol Costi, Director of Materials Research, Material Connexion Italia
– Giammichele Melisz, Associate Director, Buro Happold
– James O’Callaghan, Director, Eckersley O’Callaghan Structural + Facade Engineers
– Federica Sem, Managing Director, Permasteelisa Interiors

2 April 2013

An uplifting experience – the ethnography of the elevator user experience

westpac-lifts2

Rebekah Rousi, a researcher of user psychology and PhD candidate of Cognitive Science at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, describes on EthnographyMatters how the combination of qualitative and quantitative data collection was fruitful in her analysis of elevator usage.

“A few years ago a leading elevator design and manufacturing company gave me the task of examining how people experienced and interacted with elevators. The scope included everything from hall call buttons, to cabin interior design and perception of technical design. When given the brief, the artistic director noted country specific design features (or omissions) and even mentioned that there may be observable elevator habits I would want to take note of. Then, on our bidding a corporate-academic farewell she added that I might want to consider the psychology of the surrounding architectural environment. With that, I was left with a long list of to-do’s and only one method I could think of that would be capable of incorporating so many factors – ethnography. Ethnographic inquiry provides a framework in which the researcher’s own observations and experiences of the phenomenon under study – in this case elevator users’ behaviour in relation to the elevators, other users and the surrounding architectural environment – can be combined with “insiders’” opinions and insights.”

16 January 2013

Helsinki Design Lab closing in June 2013

hdl

Marco Steinberg, who directs the strategic design efforts of the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, announced last week that Sitra’s Helsinki Design Lab will close in June 2013.

Helsinki Design Lab is an initiative by Sitra to advance strategic design as a way to re-examine, re-think, and re-design the systems we’ve inherited from the past.

According to Steinberg, “design at Sitra is shifting from a strategic to a service role. The current members of the design team (Bryan Boyer, Justin Cook, and myself*) are committed to strategic design and will therefore pursue this interest beyond Sitra. In the spring Sitra will hire for a new role to grow service design within the organization.”

[* The fourth member of the team, Dan Hill, left earlier, and is now the CEO of Fabrica in Treviso, Italy.]

During the next five months Brian, Justin and Marco will be converting the site into an archive of the most recent phase of HDL. The archive will be legible, free, and open, they write, so that the “work and experience of Helsinki Design Lab be useful not just for the next phase of design at Sitra, but for the community as well.”

The team is now compiling the case study research from Helsinki Design Lab 2012 into a forthcoming publication on stewardship, with a tentative publication date of May 2013. This completes the existing publication “Recipes for Systemic Change,” which you can download for free.

We can also expect a public event in Helsinki on June 10th, 2013.

Over the last years, Experientia has worked intensively – and to our great satisfaction – with Sitra and with the team of the Helsinki Design Lab in particular, through our involvement on the Low2No project. We wish Sitra and the HDL team the very best in the coming months and afterwards, and we are sure that we will find many ways to collaborate in the future.

(For more reflection on the closing, check also this post by Bryan Boyer).

15 January 2013

A sustainable building promotes pro-environmental behavior

plos

A Sustainable Building Promotes Pro-Environmental Behavior: An Observational Study on Food Disposal
by Wu DW, DiGiacomo A, Kingstone A
PLoS ONE 8(1): e53856. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0053856 – January 2013

In order to develop a more sustainable society, the wider public will need to increase engagement in pro-environmental behaviors. Psychological research on pro-environmental behaviors has thus far focused on identifying individual factors that promote such behavior, designing interventions based on these factors, and evaluating these interventions. Contextual factors that may also influence behavior at an aggregate level have been largely ignored.

In the current study, we test a novel hypothesis – whether simply being in a sustainable building can elicit environmentally sustainable behavior. We find support for our hypothesis: people are significantly more likely to correctly choose the proper disposal bin (garbage, compost, recycling) in a building designed with sustainability in mind compared to a building that was not.

Questionnaires reveal that these results are not due to self-selection biases. Our study provides empirical support that one’s surroundings can have a profound and positive impact on behavior. It also suggests the opportunity for a new line of research that bridges psychology, design, and policy-making in an attempt to understand how the human environment can be designed and used as a subtle yet powerful tool to encourage and achieve aggregate pro-environmental behavior.

5 December 2012

No one likes a city that’s too smart

Songdo smart city

This week London hosts a jamboree of computer geeks, politicians, and urban planners from around the world. At the Urban Age conference, they will discuss the latest whizz idea in high tech, the “smart city”.

“But,” writes Richard Sennett in The Guardian, “the danger now is that this information-rich city may do nothing to help people think for themselves or communicate well with one another.”

“A great deal of research during the last decade, in cities as different as Mumbai and Chicago, suggests that once basic services are in place people don’t value efficiency above all; they want quality of life. A hand-held GPS device won’t, for instance, provide a sense of community. More, the prospect of an orderly city has not been a lure for voluntary migration, neither to European cities in the past nor today to the sprawling cities of South America and Asia. If they have a choice, people want a more open, indeterminate city in which to make their way; this is how they can come to take ownership over their lives.”

28 November 2012

The skyscrapers of tomorrow: Experientia features in eVolo 2012 competition

eVolo2

Working together with Marco Visconti architects, Experientia has created a forward-looking skyscraper concept, addressing the theme of global warming.

The Visconti/Experientia skyscraper was created for the eVolo 2012 Skyscraper Competition, which encourages designers and architects to redefine skyscraper design through innovations in technology, materials, programs, aesthetics and spatial organisation.

Our entry is a building which is not only constructed with the latest in sustainable technology and methodology, but is also designed to evoke the idea of a melting glacier, reminding people of the urgent need to live more sustainably.

The building design aims to reduce energy demand through improved methods for heating and cooling, use of sustainable energy sources, and, where necessary, more efficient use of fossil fuels. Experientia’s contribution is the urban informatics approach to visualizing energy flows within the building.

The building is designed to be self-ventilating based on heat stacks and using passive heating and cooling mechanisms. Our approach visualizes these principles from the outside of the building.

The skyscraper design is a passion project for both Marco Visconti and Experientia. Marco Visconti is well-known in the field of sustainable architecture, searching in his work for the best relationship between man, energy and environment in architectural terms. Experientia works extensively on sustainability projects, exploring the links between behavioural change, technology and quality of life.

To see more of the Experientia/Visconti design, check out our original competition entry.

The skyscraper can also be seen in the limited edition poster of the eVolo 2012 Skyscraper Competition.

17 October 2012

UX articles and dissertations from Denmark

md-top-banner-uk

Mind Design, the Design Research Webzine of the Danish Centre for Design Research, contains a wealth of information, all available in English.

Here are some highlights:

Article
Companies: Design Research Works in Practice
Design researchers are developing new, applicable knowledge together with organisations in the private and public sector. That was the clear conclusion at the mini-conference on the impact of design research that the Danish Centre for Design Research held at The Black Diamond in Copenhagen on 17 September 2012. Here, Rambøll, Bang & Olufsen and other companies shared case stories about how collaboration with researchers is creating value for their organisations.

Article
Using Experience Design to Reach a Broader Audience for Classical Music
How can we use new, digital technologies to make classical music more appealing and accessible – especially for a younger audience? A group of symphony orchestras and educational institutions in Denmark and Sweden have set out to address that question in a large-scale research collaboration that has received funding from the EU’s interregional development fund.

Dissertation
Inviting the Materials Into Co-Design Processes
Materials are important actors in co-design processes. Therefore they should be invited in and assigned roles when co-designers organise projects, workshops or events, for example in the field of service design. That is one of the key conclusions in a PhD dissertation on the role of materials in co-design which Mette Agger Eriksen defended at Malmö University on 13 June 2012.
> Download dissertation (pdf)

Dissertation
Realising the Full Potential of Drawing
Drawing is a language in its own right that holds a large potential for idea development, says Anette Højlund, who defended her PhD dissertation on drawing and creation on 13 April 2012. In the dissertation she examines what she calls the dialogue between the drawing and the person drawing. In this conversation with Mind Design she concludes that the potential of drawing could be utilised far better, for example in visualising issues that reach across disciplinary boundaries.
> Download dissertation summary (pdf)

Dissertation
Hierarchies and Humour in the Design Process
Humour plays an important role in the design process, argues Mette Volf, who recently defended her PhD dissertation Når nogen ler, er der noget på spil (When someone laughs there is something at stake). In her dissertation she explores the design process as social construct. Humour is used, for example, to turn the formal hierarchies on their head.

Dissertation
PhD Dissertation Challenges Traditional Interaction Design
Interaction design can easily incorporate both a body element and an empathy element. This was demonstrated by Maiken Hillerup Fogtmann, who as part of her PhD project developed interactive exercise equipment for team handball players and computer-based play equipment for children. She defended her dissertation, Designing with the Body in Mind, on 23 January 2012 at the Aarhus School of Architecture.
> Download dissertation summary (pdf)

Article
Making Active and Innovative Use of Your Customer Base
Companies are keen to get in touch with their customers and users in order to gain new ideas for products and business potentials. A project headed by the Danish Technological Institute focuses on user types that are potentially valuable for business. The conclusion is that the key lies in getting involved, identifying the company’s needs and involving the right users at the right time in the strategic processes.

Article
Design as Innovation Facilitator
Design-driven innovation in companies can result in both actual product development and the development of processes and business strategies. That was one of the points made at the workshop Design Driven Innovation – Organizing for Growth held at the Kolding School of Design in December 2011. Furthermore, the role of the position of design in relation to the individual company or organisation was emphasised.

16 October 2012

Brave New City

cover_1012_t185

Metropolis Magazine asked seven visionary design teams, both established and up-and-coming, what they predict a fully accessible city might look like (and better yet, how it would function).

“We broke the city into its component parts and then, like casting directors, asked, “Who would we like to tackle this one?” The eager and inspired responses from our dream team thrilled us.”

“What follows are imaginative, practical, funny, high-tech/low-tech, humanistic design solutions that make room for everyone and, in the process, invent new ways of making cities.”

Getting Around: Transit Hub
by Grimshaw Architects
Grimshaw Architects, which designed the award-winning Southern Cross Station in Melbourne, Australia, believes that a seamless transportation network is the key to our future. Grimshaw designed a hub that adapts to the evolving city and provides all people, whatever their needs, with a way to get around town.

Picking Up the Groceries: Public Market
by West 8
Farmers’ markets in parking lots aren’t the only solution to sustainable commerce. In 1995, the urban design and landscape architecture firm West 8 reinvented Binnenrotte Square in Rotterdam, closing it off to traffic and letting the locals take over. The firm used that experience to create our inclusive marketplace.

Sharing Resources: Community Center
by Interboro Partners
Interboro Partners has been compiling The Arsenal of Exclusion
& Inclusion (www.arsenalofexclusion.blogspot.com), to look at how cities admit or exclude people. The firm’s ideas for the community center in our new city draw upon the book, which will be published by Actar later this year.

Taking a Walk: Streetscape
by Linearscape
Linearscape have made it their mission to understand the built environment’s relationship to landscape, so they take an integrative approach to streets, applying existing technologies and reconfiguring the sidewalk for people of all ages and abilities. Linearscape’s won the 2012 Emerging New York Architects competition for imagining a future urban landscape.

Finding Your Way: Urban Navigation
by OPEN
OPEN believes in continuously reinventing itself. Yet it doesn’t always look to the future; sometimes the old way of doing things is the best. Its way finding system for our new city isn’t technological. OPEN suggests that people who are lost in the city do something unusual—ask someone for directions.

Living Together: Multi-Generational Home
by John Ronan Architects
John Ronan Architects is concerned with how a design takes into account building performance over time. So for our new city, the firm “interviewed” a 120-year-old great-grandmother in the year 2120. John Ronan Architects won a 2012 AIA Institute National Honor Award for their design of the Poetry Foundation in Chicago.

Working Virtually: Workspace
by LUNAR
The key to good design is knowing what people need. This is what the product design firm LUNAR focused on when considering how people in our new city would work. Addressing the growing number of virtual offices, the firm created products to encourage natural interactions even when people aren’t physically together.

11 June 2012

Charles Leadbeater: Why cities need to be hospitable rather than smart

toural_6619

Guimarães (Portugal), European Capital of Culture 2012, is commissioning a number of thought leadership pieces and artistic interventions to explore the concept of “Openness” as it relates to all aspects of City development – from personal to political, infrastructure to innovation.

The first one is by Charles Leadbeater, a renowned thinker on creativity, collaboration and innovation (and author of WeThink). He provides an overview of “openness as a methodology for achieving positive change’ – seen particularly through the lens of a small city such as Guimarães.

“Cities that aspire to be truly creative, need to combine cultural creativity with a broader agenda for social creativity. Truly creative cities are as creative about transport, housing, energy and waste as they are about culture and the arts.” […]

These social challenges have traditionally been tasks for specialists – planners, architects and engineers – to re-imagine the city from on high. Most famously this gave rise to the modernist vision of the city as a machine, a lattice work of roads, factories and high rise apartment blocs. The failure of many of these schemes for planned problem solving in cities means there is a growing emphasis in many cities on more bottom up solutions, that require more distributed, social creativity, which often involves a combination of top down investment in new infrastructures – for example for energy, transport or waste– combined with changes in mass behaviour – using electricity, mass transit, household recycling. Creative cities are too large, open and unruly to be regulated in detail, top down by an all-seeing state or experts. They have to encourage collective, voluntary, self-control. A city that could be planned from the centre would also be dead. There are plenty of examples of cities around the world which are busy and rich in infrastructure and yet dead, socially and creatively, precisely because they allow little or no room for people to come together in unprogrammed ways. Successful cities allow a lot of room for adaptive mutation, encouraging their citizens to invest their ideas in the spaces they inhabit.”

Read essay

5 March 2012

Low2No featured in ARUP Design Yearbook 2011

low2no_with

The Design Yearbook 2011 of ARUP — the global firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists that Experientia collaborated with on the Low2No project in Helsinki — is a gorgeous overview of the power of (sustainable) design in the firm’s recent work.

Pages 70-71 of the book (38 in the pdf download) feature the Low2No project, which is now called Airut. The striking visual is by Lamosca.

Below is the text that accompanies it:

Leading by example

Our approach to the design of the Helsinki’s first carbon-neutral district – formerly known as the Low2No project – encourages residents to make more informed choices about energy, transport, food and consumer goods, with the goal or reducing energy demands in the district by more than 40% compared with the Finnish average.

We are pioneering a new model of urban design on this 22,000 m2-mixed-use project that demonstrates how design can empower people to live a healthier, creative and more sustainable lifestyle. We are showing how every lifestyle choice has an impact upon their carbon and ecological footprints.

We have undertaken a broader carbon assessment that takes into consideration the site’s likely total consumption of carbon. This enabled our client to chart an achievable and replicable course from the low-carbon norms of Finnish society to a fully decarbonised model.

More than 15% of the project’s electricity will be sourced from photovoltaic sources and heat from a biomass heat network. The seven-storey office is a pioneering all-timber building and the carbon impact of in situ concrete will be cut by 20% compared to conventional specifications.

Download ARUP Design Yearbook 2011

25 January 2012

The city as interface. Digital media and the urban public sphere

phdmartijndewaal-180x300

On 23 January 2012, Martijn de Waal defended his Ph.D. thesis ‘The city as interface’ at the Philosophy Department of the University of Groningen.

Abstract:

The main concern of the study ‘The City as Interface’ is the future of the urban public sphere. It investigates various scenarios that describe how the rise of digital and mobile media technologies, such as the mobile phone, GPS-navigation, and the usage of social networks through smartphones, change the way the urban public sphere functions.

Most studies on the urban public sphere have so far theorized it as a spatial construct, a physical place for encounter and social interaction. Yet, such a purely spatial approach has become problematic now that new media technologies, from the mobile phone to urban sensor networks, have started to play an important role in the experience and organization of everyday urban life. The experience of the city has become extended by media technologies that bring absent others or distant (either in time and space) contexts into the here-and-now. The infrastructure of these new technologies and the way they are programmed now co-shape urban life, just like the physical infrastructures and the spatial programming of urban planning have always done.

This may lead to two different (non-exclusive) scenarios that enforce a broader trend in which people sort themselves out geographically, that is: people are more and more keeping in touch with people who share a similar identity or particular goal. Citizens may use digital media as ‘filters’ that allows them to find the spaces where they are likely to meet people who are similar to them. Institutions may use these same technologies to target particular audiences and make places more attractive to them, or even to exclude access to those who do not belong.

A second scenario also builds upon a broader geographic trend that has been called ‘Living Together Apart.’ This is a development in which various urban publics live in and use the same geographic areas, but do not interact much. An example is found in the former working class turned migrant quarters near European inner cities that have become gentrified over the last decades. Local working class people, young professionals and migrants share the same neighborhood. A Turkish coffee house might be located next to a designer coffee bar. They are geographically close, but are separated by a large symbolic distance. The filtering mechanisms of mobile media could enforce this scenario. The chaotic experience of all those different worlds on top of each other becomes ‘navigable’ and ‘inhabitable’ through the use of urban media that help users locate those microvariations in space that are relevant to them.

That, however, is only one part of my findings. Urban media also have the affordance to create a public sphere in new ways. Urban media can create a new type of platform that can bring forth collective issues around which publics can organize. Data from various sensor networks can be mapped to, for instance, show the air quality or energy use of a city. These mappings can become a condensation point around which publics start to organize themselves. In addition, the use of urban media can be used to make individual contributions to such communal issues visible. This could mean that it becomes easier to turn resources into a ‘commons’, a communally used and managed resource. First examples of these are the bike and car sharing schemes that have sprung up in various cities around the world. There is a chance that the communal use and management of these practical collective issues could lead to the formation of publics around these issues that bring together people from various backgrounds. I have shown how ‘open data’ initiatives could perhaps play a similar role. These too could create new platforms on which urban publics can form.

At the same time I have also argued that the introduction of a new platform by itself is not enough for a public realm to come into being. To function as a public realm, platforms need a program that provide one or more functions that will attract citizens from various backgrounds. This is true for physical spaces as well as for urban media platforms. Studies have shown that digital platforms can enhance the sense of a local community or public in a particular neighborhood, but that this does not happen by itself.

(via SmartMobs)

7 December 2011

Arup: The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth

New economics of cities
Information Marketplaces: The new economics of cities
Author: Arup, The Climate Group, Accenture and Horizon, University of Nottingham
Publication date: 28 November 2011

The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth.

“Written in partnership with The Climate Group, Accenture and Horizon, University of Nottingham, this report investigates how technology can be used in cities to meet the growing challenges of expanding urbanisation.

The technology-enabled city is an untapped source of sustainable growth and represents a powerful approach for tackling unprecedented environmental and economic challenges.

By unlocking technology, infrastructure and public data, cities can open up new value chains, spawning innovative applications and information products that make sustainable modes of city living and working possible.

While smart initiatives are underway in urban centres around the world, most cities have yet to realise the enormous potential value from fully-integrated, strategically-designed smart city development programmes.

Now is the time for government and business leaders to recognise the value created by smart city thinking.”

13 September 2011

Dan Lockton on how architecture and urbanism can be used to influence behaviour

Underground
Dan Lockton is continuing publishing extracts from his Brunel University Ph.D thesis ‘Design with Intent: A design pattern toolkit for environmental & social behaviour change’ as blog posts.

While the first post dealt with the importance of behaviourism in design for behavioural change, the second one focuses on how architecture can be used to influence behaviour.

Read thesis extract

6 August 2011

Home builders need to look beyond the focus group to learn what buyers want

Home buying
Architects and construction companies can learn a lot still from the techniques of ethnographers and UX designers. Here is an example from the Real Estate section of the Washington Post:

“What do home buyers want?

For more than two decades, home builders have sought to answer this perplexing question by sifting through the information gleaned from focus groups. Typically, the people who participate are looking for a new home or have recently purchased one. The builders ask them questions and incorporate their responses into the making of the next subdivision. But the focus group input does not dramatically affect the sales, and the builders fume that “buyers are liars.”

Not at all, said Dan Ariely, a professor of behavioral economics at Duke University. The problem is the subject under discussion, not the truthfulness of the respondents.

It’s difficult for people to understand their relationship with their home, Ariely said. “We do things, but we are completely unaware of the environment around us, and we don’t understand its effects on our behavior and well being,” he said.”

Read article

6 August 2011

Journal of IA Issue 1, Volume 3 Released

0301-cover
The Spring 2011 Journal of Information Architecture, Issue 1, Vol. 3 is now available, with an editorial by IA Institute Board member, Dan Klyn describing this addition’s articles as a collection of “…no-fuss, panoramic views into IA’s way of seeing the design of information, spaces and information spaces.”

Read on for SnowSense, a case study in user-centered location based services from Jan Eckert of the University of Venice, an examination of Web Information Architecture as a diverse and inclusive practice within the enterprise from Sally Burford of Canberra University, and Architectures, a broader look at “Environments for Understanding” from former IAI president, Jorge Arango.

The Journal of Information Architecture is an independent initiative of REG-iA, the Research & Education Group in IA. It is sponsored by the Information Architecture Institute and by Copenhagen Business School.

16 June 2011

Open Source Architecture (OSArc)

Domus
Domus Magazine has published an op-ed advocating a different approach to designing space – to succeed the single-author model – that includes tools from disparate sources to create new paradigms for thinking and building

The contributors included Paola Antonelli (MoMA), Adam Bly (Seed Media Group), Lucas Dietrich, Joseph Grima (Domus Magazine), Dan Hill (Sitra), John Habraken, Alex Haw (Atmos Studio), John Maeda (RISD), Nicholas Negroponte, Hans Ulrich Obrist (Serpentine Gallery), Carlo Ratti (MIT), Casey Reas (UCLA), Marco Santambrogio (MIT), Mark Shepard (Sentient City), Chiara Somajni (Il Sole 24 Ore) and Bruce Sterling.

“Open Source Architecture (OSArc) is an emerging paradigm describing new procedures for the design, construction and operation of buildings, infrastructure and spaces. Drawing from references as diverse as open-source culture, avant-garde architectural theory, science fiction, language theory, and others, it describes an inclusive approach to spatial design, a collaborative use of design software and the transparent operation throughout the course of a building and city’s life cycle.”

Read article

14 June 2011

Experientia wins Italian National Prize for Innovation in Services

Stemma Italia
Experientia wins Italian National Prize for Innovation in Services, sponsored by the Italian government and Confcommercio.
The President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano, awards the prize.
 

Rome, Tuesday 14 June 2011

Today, the president of the Italian republic, Giorgio Napolitano, awarded Experientia srl with the prestigious National Prize for Innovation in Services, for their project Low2No, for having “planned a residential area in Finland with low CO2 emissions, using innovative methodologies devised in Italy.”

Experientia is an international experience design consultancy based in Turin, Italy, which helps international companies and organizations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

The winning project, Low2No (also known as C-Life), details Experientia’s role in the development and implementation of service offers for a low-to-no carbon emissions building development in Helsinki, involving user-centred service and participatory design methods. The entire construction project will be completed in 2013.

At the award ceremony at the Quirinale (the Italian presidential palace), Michele Visciola, the president of Experientia, accompanied by the CEO Pierpaolo Perotto, received the prize from President Napolitano.

“It is an honour for us to receive this prize from the hands of the President of the Republic,” Visciola declared, “It demonstrates that in Italy, we have young, quality businesses that can compete on an international level in terms of excellence.”

Jan-Christoph Zoels, the director of the service design project, highlighted the importance of the project by stating, “Beautiful and well-engineered, sustainable houses are not enough. Half of the contribution to a community’s carbon footprint is based on people’s lifestyles. We aim to support sustainable lifestyles and services during a building’s entire lifetime.”

Experientia has worked on the planning and design of services, to create, within the Low2No project, a “Food Hub” (offering services related to the purchase, consumption and sharing of regional, organic food, an ethical and sustainable alternative to the products commonly offered in the Finnish market); an “Eco-laundry” (using highly efficient practices and detergents with a low environmental impact); and a communal, wood-fuelled sauna (an eco-friendly response to the presence of a private electric sauna in most Finnish homes).

During the day, at a separate event organised by the ConfCommercio and hosted by ConfCommerico president Carlo Sangalli, the representatives from Experientia, including senior partners Jan-Christoph Zoels and Mark Vanderbeeken, and project team member Camilla Masala, met with the press and public.
 

WHO IS EXPERIENTIA?

Experientia is an international experience design consultancy based in Turin, Italy, which helps international companies and organizations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first. Experientia puts people and their experiences, past and future, at the centre of strategic innovation, guiding the company’s processes of research, strategy development, solution creation, prototype design and testing.
 

THE PRIZE

The National Prize for Innovation was founded by the Italian government as a key initiative of the National Day of Innovation, an annual event to raise citizens’ awareness of the theme of innovation. It is also an opportunity for the principle public and private actors to take stock of the state of innovation in the country and share identified strategic objectives within the European framework and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Through this prize, the government honours the best examples of creativity and innovation in the sectors of industry, design, university and public research, public administration and services, including financial services.

ConfCommercio, the Italian “Confederation of business, professional activities and autonomous work”, was responsible for the selection for the design section of the National Prize for Innovation in Services, which included “Innovation in Business”; “Innovation in Tourism”, “ICT and Service Design”. Experientia has won the prize for the ICT and Service Design category.

This year, the National Day of Innovation holds particular significance, not only because of the presence of the President of the Republic Giorgio Napolitano, and the Minister for public administration and innovation Renato Brunetta, but because it coincides with the celebrations of 150 years of Italian Unity.
 

THE PROJECT

The winning project, Low2No (also known as C-Life), aims to facilitate behavioural change for more sustainable lifestyles. Experientia has designed a service platform for the low-to-no carbon emissions building development in Helsinki, involving user-centred service and participatory design methods.

The Low2No service platform represents one of the principle points of contact with the soul and mission of the zone. It will contribute to making sustainability an integral part of the daily activities and lives of the residents and workers of the area. It will support locals in adopting the change and transformation of their usual habits, and give them the possibility to communicate and compare themselves with their peers, through the project’s elements of participation and socialisation.

The project is a collaborative effort between international engineering and planning firm Arup (London), architectural firm Sauerbruch Hutton (Berlin), and user experience design consultancy Experientia, on behalf of Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, the developer SRV and the housing agency VVO. Experientia’s dual role on the team involves the design of an advanced smart metering system (a digital energy-consumption metre) for residential households, and the design and implementation of a service platform for the entire zone.

Low2No is a mixed-use block. It comprises 14,000 square metres of mixed residential space (both rental and privately owned) with 6,500 square metres of office space and a business incubator and 1,800 square metres of commercial space.

The involvement of future residents and entrepreneurs in identifying their needs and generating shared ideas and solutions has a created a user-centric service platform, within which the client represents more than a simple final element of the chain, but becomes a key actor in the implementation and supply of the services themselves.
 

CONTACT
Mark Vanderbeeken, Experientia srl, +39 011 812 9687, info at experientia dot com