counter

Putting People First

Daily insights on user experience, experience design and people-centred innovation
Audience Business Culture Design Locations Media Methods Services Social Issues

Children


Disabled


Elderly


Gender


Teens


Advertising


Branding


Business


Innovation


Marketing


Mechatronics


Technology


Architecture


Art


Creativity


Culture


Identity


Mobility


Museum


Co-creation


Design


Experience design


Interaction design


Presence


Service design


Ubiquitous computing


Africa


Americas


Asia


Australia


Europe


Italy


Turin


Blogging


Book


Conference


Media


Mobile phone


Play


Virtual world


Ethnography


Foresight


Prototype


Scenarios


Usability


User experience


User research


Education


Financial services


Healthcare


Public services


Research


Tourism


Urban development


Communications


Digital divide


Emerging markets


Participation


Social change


Sustainability


Posts in category 'Urban development'

24 April 2014

Smart cities need smart citizens

smartip

The idea of the SMARTiP project is to take the experience developed by a wide range of existing user-driven, open innovation initiatives in Europe, particularly those developed through Living Labs, and to apply this experience to the challenge of transforming public services by empowering ‘smart citizens’ who are able to use and co-produce innovative Internet-enabled services within emerging ‘smart’ cities. The aim is to enable to adoption of open platforms for the co-production of citizen-centric Internet-enabled services in five test-bed sites, Manchester, Gent, Cologne, Bologna and Oulu. The objective is to enhance the ability of the cities to grow and sustain a ‘smart city’ ecosystem which can support new opportunities emerging for a dynamic co-production process resulting in more inclusive, higher quality and efficient public services which can then be made replicable and scalable for cross-border deployment on a larger scale.

This will focus on a series of pilot projects, as outlined ‘Technical Pilots’, covering three thematic areas:Smart engagement; Smart environments; and Smart mobility.

The pilots aim to act as a catalyst to stimulate citizen engagement in becoming active generators of content and applications development, as well as being more informed and involved users of the developing Internet-enabled services in ‘smart’ cities. ‘Smart cities’ require ‘smart citizens’ if they are to be truly inclusive, innovative and sustainable. The promise of the information society, to create new ways of empowering people to play a fuller and more equal role in emerging governance systems through their access to dynamic Internet-enabled services, is also proving to be its biggest challenge, as not everyone is getting equal access to the skills and opportunities that are supposed to be there.

> Project brochure

17 March 2014

Six ways to design humanity and localism into Smart Cities

frederiksberg

A long post by Rick Robinson, Executive Architect at IBM specialising in emerging technologies and Smarter Cities, admonishes Smart Cities planners and designers not to overlook the social needs of cities and communities. After all, he says, the full purpose of cities is: to enable a huge number of individual citizens to live not just safe, but rewarding lives with their families.

His well thought-through and experience based reasoning is very much worth a read and ends with an in-depth discussion of six practical steps:

  1. Make institutions accessible
  2. Make infrastructure and technology accessible
  3. Support collaborative innovation
  4. Promote open systems
  5. Provide common services
  6. Establish governance of the information economy
16 March 2014

Why smart cities need an urgent reality check

Cities: smart 3, boston

Responsive urban technology sounds enticing but citizens must not be disconnected from plans drawn up on their behalf, argues Gary Graham in The Guardian.

“It’s not clear at the moment whether future cities are strategic experiments for [large companies such as IBM, Samsung, Cisco and Intel], or if they are genuinely catalysing the regeneration of inner cities. To investigate some of these visions, I went to MIT in Boston for three months last year. The aim was to find out how people would get their goods and services in the city of the future, and how we we get everyone to engage with city plans.

We decided to test out some ideas with the inner-city communities of Boston in a series of workshops. We essentially combined science fact and science fiction by presenting them with a Boston set in 2037, based on current technological trends projected forward through several imagined scenarios.

We combined the traditional science fiction ideas of utopia and dystopia with realistic technological trends such as artificial intelligence, 3D printing and big data and asked Bostonians to come up with fictional stories about their life in these environments.”

And the answers were quite to the point:

“Workshop participants felt smart cities were rather utopian concepts growing from a vision put forward by one group of businesses. There was general agreement that there were often many visions for the city, but “at the moment it’s the rich and powerful who determine that future vision.”

Many were troubled by the notion that people would live in a city purely because of its technology capabilities and thought there were lots of other important social and cultural reasons influencing people’s decisions to live or work somewhere. Just because these urban centres could offer us new ways of living in the future does not negate the importance of the natural environment, history and legacy.”

27 February 2014

[Book] The City as Interface

the-city-as-interface

The City as Interface
How New Media Are Changing the City
By Martijn de Waal
nai010 Publishers
2014, 208 pages

Digital and mobile media are changing the way urban life takes shape and how we experience our built environment. On the face of it, this is mainly a practical matter: thanks to these technologies we can organize our lives more conveniently. But the rise of ‘urban media’ also presents us with an important philosophical issue: How do they influence the way that the city functions as a community?

Employing examples of new media uses as well as historical case studies, Martijn de Waal shows how new technologies, on one level, contribute to the further individualization and liberalization of urban society. There is an alternative future scenario, however, in which digital media construct a new definition of the urban public sphere. In the process they also breathe new life into the classical republican ideal of the city as an open, democratic ‘community of strangers’.

Martijn de Waal is a writer, researcher, and strategist based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He is as an assistant professor at the department of media studies at the University of Amsterdam, and co-founder of The Mobile City, a think tank on new media and urban design.

> Read book review by Manu Fernandez

9 February 2014

A review of Adam Greenfield’s Against the Smart City

Masdar City

Chris Carlsson started reading Adam Greenfield’s new book, Against the Smart City, “with the expectation that it would be a critical view of the ways our urban lives have changed during the past half decade with the massive adoption of so-called “smart phones” and the rest of the ubiquitous technosphere.” But it turns out, writes Carlsson, he has “a rather different target in mind. His polemic, delivered by EPUB and kindle only (so far), is directed at a techno-utopian fantasy promulgated by large multinational corporations and their government client-sponsors.”

“The information platforms projected to undergird Smart Cities are to be privately owned. No open source or free software here! “The smart city is a place where the technical platforms on which everyday life is built are privately owned and monetized, and information is reserved exclusively for the use of those willing and able to pay for it.” As Greenfield notes in one chapter, the whole model is based on a neoliberal sensibility in which government is stripped down to its most minimal functionality (primarily policing and systems administration), while as much as possible of the surrounding society is privately owned. Most of what people might do with and for each other is to the greatest extent possible monetized and commodified, to be packaged and sold to the residents (clients) of the new towns. Greenfield has looked carefully at the promises and projections of the various corporate plans and nowhere has he found anything to indicate open access to “disaggregated raw [data] feeds.”

17 January 2014

[Book] Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers and the Quest for a New Utopia

Smart-Cities-cover-197x300

Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers and the Quest for a New Utopia
by Anthony M. Townsend
W. W. Norton & Company
October 2013. 400 pages
[Amazon link]

Abstract

An unflinching look at the aspiring city-builders of our smart, mobile, connected future.

We live in a world defined by urbanization and digital ubiquity, where mobile broadband connections outnumber fixed ones, machines dominate a new “internet of things,” and more people live in cities than in the countryside.

In Smart Cities, urbanist and technology expert Anthony Townsend takes a broad historical look at the forces that have shaped the planning and design of cities and information technologies from the rise of the great industrial cities of the nineteenth century to the present. A century ago, the telegraph and the mechanical tabulator were used to tame cities of millions. Today, cellular networks and cloud computing tie together the complex choreography of mega-regions of tens of millions of people.

In response, cities worldwide are deploying technology to address both the timeless challenges of government and the mounting problems posed by human settlements of previously unimaginable size and complexity. In Chicago, GPS sensors on snow plows feed a real-time “plow tracker” map that everyone can access. In Zaragoza, Spain, a “citizen card” can get you on the free city-wide Wi-Fi network, unlock a bike share, check a book out of the library, and pay for your bus ride home. In New York, a guerrilla group of citizen-scientists installed sensors in local sewers to alert you when stormwater runoff overwhelms the system, dumping waste into local waterways.

As technology barons, entrepreneurs, mayors, and an emerging vanguard of civic hackers are trying to shape this new frontier, Smart Cities considers the motivations, aspirations, and shortcomings of them all while offering a new civics to guide our efforts as we build the future together, one click at a time.

Interview

Q. Professor Townsend, a recent favorable review of your new book in The New York Times described you as “the rare technologist who is in the know without being in the tank.” Are you indeed worried that “smart cities” could backfire in some way, compromising privacy, say, rather than helping us address environmental, social, and economic challenges?

A: Absolutely – there are considerable risks going forward. The penultimate chapter of Smart Cities bears the title “Buggy, Brittle and Bugged.” The technological underpinnings of smart cities are extremely complex, yet we are throwing them together at a blistering pace. This is how bugs like Y2K creep in. Design decisions are being made for expedience and cost, not quality and robustness.

Smart cities are also the perfect tool for mass surveillance. As we are finding out in the post-Snowden era, it is actually far worse than even the most paranoid critics feared. All of these risks can be managed, but no one in the smart cities community was really confronting them head on.

17 December 2013

Dan Hill: Can public enterprises adopt the popular dynamics of private enterprises?

uber-transport

In his latest Dezeen column, Dan Hill examines what services like the Uber taxi app mean for cities and asks whether the designers of public services can learn something from them.

“So this [i.e. Uber], as with Amazon (and Starbucks, J Crew and the rest) is another cultural blitzkrieg, obliterating difference and leaving high-quality homogeneity in its wake. With clothes and coffee it’s a shame, but not that big a deal. However, when it ploughs into a core urban service like mobility I have, well, a few issues.

Although taxis are a form of privatised transport, they remain part of the city’s civic infrastructure, part of their character. As architect and teacher Robin Boyd wrote, “taxi-men teach the visitor a lot about their towns, intentionally and unintentionally.” Boyd was able to to demarcate Sydney culture from Adelaide culture based on whether the cabbie opens the door for you. I recall scribbling a drawing of a Stephen Holl building I wanted to visit in Beijing, as my only way of communicating my desired destination to the taxi driver. Uber makes transactions easier, but what we gain from a seamless UI, and the convenience of the global currency of apps, we lose from the possibility of understanding a place through a slightly bumpier “seamful” experience.”

In short, Hill is concerned:

“The broader issue is replacement of public services with private services. [...] “Who’s to say that similarly shiny networked services won’t also begin to offer privatised coordination of your waste collection, energy and water provision and so on, to match the trends towards private education, private healthcare and private mail delivery to gated communities?”

So what could public services and public authorities do?

“It may mean that public enterprise has to adopt the popular dynamics, patterns and systems of our age, yet bent into shape for public good. This seems possible, as the GOV.UK project from the UK’s Government Digital Service illustrates. Perhaps by marrying such supremely good interactive work with the ethos and long-term viability of the public sector, services like Uber will be left to play happily in the aspirant niches while high-quality networked public services will be available for all. It is just as viable for public transport systems to apply network logic as it is for Uber to do so, if not easier, as the public sector gets to shape the policy and regulatory environments, as well as the delivery.”

So. he ends, “the design question posed by Uber is: can public enterprises adopt the popular dynamics of private enterprises without also absorbing their underlying ideologies?”

14 December 2013

Reinventing the wheel

giant-observation-wheel-user-experience_1

Experientia has been featured in RISD.edu, the website of the Rhode Island School of Design, where Experientia partner Jan-Christoph Zoels received his master’s degree in industrial design.

The article offers a brief overview of some of Experientia’s recent work, before going into more depth about our exciting conceptual work on a giant observation wheel design for Japan.

Experientia reimagined the user experience of observation wheels, integrating innovative elements throughout the entire customer journey. The innovations take people on a unique and exciting journey, from the moment of purchasing and anticipating the ride, right up to augmented reality during the ride that immerses them in the landscape, and provides new perspectives on familiar views.

The observtion wheel is destined to be constructed in an as-yet-unannounced city of Japan, and the design has been featured in several magazines recently, including Fast Design, Dezeen and Wired.

11 November 2013

Two new reports by ARUP

 

Designing with Data
The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) and ARUP have released Designing with Data: Shaping Our Future Cities, a new report that explores the massive potential role that data could have in the planning and design of our buildings and cities, reports Dexigner.
The report identifies the main approaches to working with data for those involved in designing and planning cities. Better data can offer a deep insight into people’s needs and has the potential to transform the way architects and urban planners design our built environments. This could result in cheaper experimentation and testing of designs before construction begins. It also promises the chance for greater consultation with potential users – speeding up the process, saving time and money and resulting in better and more affordable design.

Museums in the Digital Age
Museums of the future may be filled with 3D-printed replicas, green walls and sensory surfaces, according to a report by Arup (writes Wired UK).
Arup, the London engineering firm behind Japan’s planned Giant Observation Wheel, the world’s first algae-powered building and Thomas Heatherwick’s Garden Bridge, compiled the report Museums in the Digital Age with help from Central Saint Martins’ students on the MA Practice for Narrative Environments course.
The report recognises that museums now have to cater for increasingly disparate visitor groups from an aging population through to the Facebook generation, as well as an expanding global middle class which will give rise to a mass cultural boom. Through investigating the experiential requirements of each, the report suggests a number of changes to future museum design and investments.

6 November 2013

Experientia taking on the Nordic Built Challenge, Finland

 

Experientia team in final four, with community-minded concept

“The fundamental idea of the entry – the ENGAGE community noticeboard concept – is worth special mention. Transparent information is used to encourage people to adapt to more eco-efficient ways of living and working.”

The new double façade, constructed for ENGAGE is an adjustable independent structure that provides a brand-new update to the building’s architectural image.

The new double façade, constructed for ENGAGE is an adjustable independent structure that provides a brand-new update to the building’s architectural image.

Experientia continues to grow its portfolio of sustainable behavioural change concepts with the enGAGE community noticeboard. The concept – part of a competition entry for the Nordic Built Challenge architecture competition – was commended by the contest’s Finland jury. enGAGE was an original proposal for the complete renovation of the Hippostalo building, owned by Senate Properties in Tampere, Finland. Senate Properties is a government-owned enterprise controlled by the Finnish Ministry of Finance.

Just 4 teams – out of 43 submitted proposals – were selected as finalists for the Finnish part of the second stage competition of the Nordic Built Challenge, Finnish section. The second stage required the finalists to refine and elaborate the proposals that they submitted in the first stage of the competition. Experientia’s team, made up of Granlund (energy and resources management consultant), Gullsten-Inkinen (architecture and interior design), Matt Batey (sustainability consultant), and Buro Happold (façade engineering) was awarded joint-second place. The submission, entitled enGAGE, focused on involving people and encouraging behavioural change as key strategies to maximise the infrastructural and architectural renewal of the ’70s government office building. enGAGE aimed at going beyond carbon neutrality to achieve an EnergyPlus building.

Integrating the senior residents into Hippostalo enGaGe shows how senior residents are invited to get involved in both using and providing the community services.

Integrating the senior residents into Hippostalo enGaGe shows how senior residents are invited to get involved in both using and providing the community services.

The competion requirements implied a complete rethink of the space use – only 40% of office staffers use the building at any time. The enGAGE team thoroughly examined the building’s energy footprint, potential for onsite energy production and the opportunities for mixed use concepts. Experientia’s contribution to the team focused on new ways to use the spaces in the building, including service concepts, a different tenant mix, alternative organisations of individual and collaborative work spaces, and the introduction of innovative technologies for daily work/life practices.

While the overall submission was noted as demonstrating an “Overall high quality of solution with regards to architecture, cityscape and other uses of the building,” it was Experientia’s Community Noticeboard that was singled out by the jury for its focus on behavioural change: “The fundamental idea of the entry – the ENGAGE community noticeboard concept –is worth special mention. Transparent information is used to encourage people to adapt to more eco-efficient ways of living and working.”

 

The Dashboard acts as a community noticeboard, making the built environment truly transparent to its occupants.

The Dashboard acts as a community noticeboard, making the built environment truly transparent to its occupants.

Design-oriented concepts for the daily environment are not just about meeting functional needs with up-to-date technological solutions. They can also help to achieve the social and spatial connections that architecture and integrated communications can provide. Our design highlights a set of cornerstones for intervention and action such as:

  • Connecting the planners of a mixed-use building with the future stakeholders;
  • Creating tools to foster new ways of working and new sustainable lifestyles while tightening the links within communities;
  • Developing energy demand management smart systems design and implementation roadmaps;
  • Implementing a user-centered design process (stakeholder engagement, participatory design, design strategies validation).

 

The personal Dashboard (through its channels: desktop, mobile, large-display) will offer constant support in planning space use, equipment and energy demand.

The personal Dashboard (through its channels: desktop, mobile, large-display) will offer constant support in planning space use, equipment and energy demand.

enGAGE envisions opening up the government building to provide a range of community-focused services. It fosters stakeholder engagement to enable building occupants to contribute to the inner city community and vice versa. Participatory design processes informed mixed-use, community-centred concepts, providing services across age ranges from crèche to elderly accommodation. The concept for integrating the senior residents into Hippostalo shows the enGAGE philosophy in action. Rather than aiming to minimize disturbance to employees, the senior residents are invited to get involved in both using and providing the community services. For example residents can order food from the restaurant delivered to their apartments. They are also encouraged to share their professional skills on the workfloor, a flexible freelance resource only a click on the dashboard away.

The architectural approach enhances the existing structure and radically transforms internal spaces, combining aesthetics, flexibility and utility within an economically viable concept.

 

The Dashboard acts as a community noticeboard, making the built environment truly transparent to its occupants.

The Dashboard acts as a community noticeboard, making the built environment truly transparent to its occupants.

The transformation from office building to vibrant multi-purpose hub makes full use of the site’s infrastructure, and resources. Innovative work patterns are complemented by new living models, with a suite of services catering to a diverse and vibrant community. enGAGE was envisioned as a blueprint for a community hub: a seed for sustainable lifestyles to grow into the community and beyond.

Experientia has previously worked in Finland on Airut, winning first prize in the Low2No competition with engineering firm Arup and architectural firm Sauerbruch Hutton in 2009. The project is now underway, with a low-carbon-emissions building currently being constructed in Helsinki, to be completed by 2014. In 2011 Experientia won Italy’s National Award for Innovation in Service Design as well as an acknowledgement award in the prestigious Holcim Awards for Sustainable Buildings for the Low2No project.  Experientia has also contributed ideas for temporary space usage and community creation to a master plan for urban renewal in Fredericia, Denmark, after successfully reaching second stage of the FredericiaC competition. Other collaborations on architectural projects include concepts for monitoring energy consumption in the CasaZera housing prototype in Turin, Italy; and an entire customer journey vision for a giant observation wheel, Nippon Moon, with UnStudio in 2013.

 

About the Nordic Built Challenge

The Nordic Built Challenge is an initiative to accelerate the development of sustainable building concepts. It invites multidisciplinary teams to compete for the refurbishment of five specific buildings, one in each Nordic country. The challenge is to demonstrate the principles of the Nordic Built Charter by refurbishing existing buildings in innovative and sustainable ways, while ensuring financial and practical viability.

 

Our partners:

Gullstén-Inkinen Design & Architecture is the largest design company specialized in architectural and interior design and real estate renovation in Nordic countries. Gullstén-Inkinen is located in Helsinki and St. Petersburg.

Granlund is an energy management efficiency consultant. Granlund provides expert services in building management and utilities optimization.

Buro Happold is an international architecture and engineering practice working in the built and natural environment tackling the hardest issues that are most relevant to buildings, cities and strategic plans.

2 November 2013

Publication: Smart Citizens (by FutureEverything)

futureeverything

Smart Citizens
Edited by Drew Hemment and Anthony Townsend
Future Everything
2013, 96 pages

This publication aims to shift the debate on the future of cities towards the central place of citizens, and of decentralised, open urban infrastructures. It provides a global perspective on how cities can create the policies, structures and tools to engender a more innovative and participatory society. The publication contains a series of 23 short essays representing some of the key voices developing an emerging discourse around Smart Citizens.

Contributors include:

  • Dan Hill, Smart Citizens pioneer and CEO of communications research centre and transdisciplinary studio Fabrica on why Smart Citizens Make Smart Cities.
  • Anthony Townsend, urban planner, forecaster and author of Smart Cities: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia on the tensions between place-making and city-making on the role of mobile technologies in changing the way that people interact with their surroundings.
  • Paul Maltby, Director of the Government Innovation Group and of the Open Data and Transparency in the UK Cabinet Office on how government can support a smarter society.
  • Aditya Dev Sood, Founder and CEO of the Center for Knowledge Societies, presents polarised hypothetical futures for India in 2025 that argues for the use of technology to bridge gaps in social inequality.
  • Adam Greenfield, New York City-based writer and urbanist, on Recuperating the Smart City.

FutureEverything is an art and digital innovation organization based in Manchester, England, founded in 1995 around an annual festival of art, music and digital culture. The organization runs year-round digital innovation labs on themes such as open data, remote collaboration, urban interface and environmental mass observation. FutureEverything presents an international art and innovation award, The FutureEverything Award, introduced in 2010.

19 October 2013

The design of Copenhagen as a bicycle friendly city

 

In a ten part video series, Copenhagenize Design Co explores the top 10 design elements that make Copenhagen a bicycle-friendly city.

The embedded video highlights the big picture. The overall design of the bicycle infrastructure network as a key element in encouraging Citizen Cyclists to choose the bicycle as transport and that keeps them safe.

The other videos:

  1. The Green Wave
    The Green Wave is coordinated traffic lights for cyclists. Ride 20 km/h and you won’t put a foot down on your journey into the city centre in the morning and home again in the afternoon.
    On Nørrebrogade, the first street to feature the Green Wave, the number of cyclists increased by 15%. Traffic flow in the intense morning bicycle rush hour was improved, providing Citizen Cyclists with a smoother, more efficient journey.
    Now, several major arteries leading to the city centre in Copenhagen feature the Green Wave for cyclists.
     
  2. Intermodality
    Combining the bicycle on all forms of transport is vital.
     
  3. Safety details
    It’s in the details when you wish to keep cyclists safe and cycling convenient.
     
  4. Nørrebrogade
    Exploration of one of the greatest urban planning experiments in recent Copenhagen history. The retrofitting of the street Nørrebrogade, complete with Green Wave for cyclists, wide cycle tracks and restricted access for cars.
     
  5. Macro design
     
  6. Micro design
    The design details on the urban landscape – many by the people, for the people – are the beautiful polish on a bicycle-friendly city.
     
  7. Cargo bikes
     
  8. Desire lines
     
  9. Political will
24 September 2013

Can Smarter Cities improve our quality of life?

goldengate

Can information and technology improve the quality of life in cities?

That seems a pretty fundamental question for the Smarter Cities movement to address. There is little point in us expending time and money on the application of technology to city systems unless we can answer it positively.

Rick Robinson, Executive Architect at IBM specialising in emerging technologies and Smarter Cities, argues that the answer is yes in a long post on his blog, that is structured around Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”.

19 September 2013

A Manifesto for Smart Citizens

citizens-science

We, citizens of all cities, take the fate of the places we live in into our own hands. We care about the familiar buildings and the parks, the shops, the schools, the roads and the trees, but far more about the quality of the life we live in them. About the casual interactions, uncalled for encounters, the craze and the booze and the love we lost and found. We know that our lives are interconnected, and what we do here will impact the outcomes over there. While we can never predict the eventual effect of our actions, we take full responsibility to make this world a better place.

Therefore…

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

5 August 2013

Smart cities workshop with the Design Center Busan

EXP_DCB_Workshop

A few days ago Experientia’s latest collaboration with Korea’s Design Center Busan wrapped up, as 21 South Korean students completed a summer study program in Turin.

Experientia ran a creative workshop for the students, titled “Barely legal, but very nice! Smart interventions in public spaces, offices and services“. The diverse curricula of the program included architecture, industrial design, visual design, fine arts and more, and was selected by the Design Center Busan (DCB), in collaboration with Gwangju Design Center (GDC) and the Daegu Gyeongbuk Design Center (DGDC). Experientia’s faculty were Design Director Jan-Christoph Zoels, and interaction designers Renzo Giusti and Seungjun Jeong.

Experientia’s workshop tackled contemporary issues in the design discourse about Smart Cities and smart citizenship, raising awareness of public interventions, grassroots initiatives, and the formal and informal best practices that cities around the world are rolling out to meet the challenges of civic development.

The workshop explored the use of participatory design techniques aimed at urban scale issues. The students were exposed to a diverse palette of solutions for issues of civic consent creation and management, creative problem solving, citizen engagement and public sphere re-appropriation.

Students were also challenged to come up with creative solutions to address real issues they identified, from their fresh perspective, during their stay in Turin. To face the challenge of designing in an unknown territory, they were invited to take a bold yet borderline stance. To conceive design intervention capable of bringing citizens together, students could design light and pop-up solutions that would achieve the goals expected, even eschewing full compliance with official regulations.

The workshop ended on Tuesday July 30th with a final exhibition of a set of posters showcasing the design interventions conceived by the 4 groups of young Korean designers. A final keynote speech by world-famous futurist and science fiction author Bruce Sterling officially concluded the proceedings.

The workshop benefitted from the contributions of many practitioners in Turin and Milan. Experientia wants to thank: Matteo Robiglio (Tra), Simone Carena and Marco Bruno (Motoelastico), Paolo Maldotti (Archilandstudio), Isabella Steffan (studiosteffan), Carlotta Bonvicini and Francesco Cerroni (MiC, mobility in chain), Stefano Recalcati (ARUP), Giovanna Castiglioni (Fondazione Achille Castiglioni), and Luca Troisi (Enhancers).

Finally, special thanks go to SeungJun Jeong (Experientia) for managing the workshop preparation and facilitating the relationship with Design Centre Busan, and to Federico De Giuli for hosting us at the wonderful Cluster Learning Communities space.

31 July 2013

Usman Haque: ‘Messiness will inevitably arise in spite of smart cities’

Smart-City-10-1

No matter what attempts are made to impose order and predictability on cities of the near future, a messiness will inevitably arise, argues Usman Haque.

“Grub City citizens recognise it’s through the activity of measurement, not passive interpreting of data, that we understand our environment; that we build up intuitions about how we affect it; and through which we develop our own standards of evidence. It’s the ensuing heterogeneity of understandings, explanations and attempts to control (as well as the heterogeneity of goals implied) that is essential for any sustainable model of city-making. New technologies help us do this not “better” but “differently”. We will see contradictions, for even collaboration does not need consensus. But no matter what attempts are made to impose order and predictability on cities of the near future, a messiness will inevitably arise.”

11 July 2013

Microsoft’s CityNext initiative ‘puts people first’ (uh oh)

citynext

So who else is putting people first? Microsoft‘s new smart cities initiative!

“Cities play a vital role in our lives – both now and in the future. Microsoft’s CityNext initiative puts people first and builds on this new era of collaborative technology to engage citizens, business and government leaders in new ways,” said Laura Ipsen, corporate vice president of Microsoft Worldwide Public Sector, as Microsoft today announced CityNext, a global initiative empowering cities, businesses and citizens to re-imagine their futures and cultivate vibrant communities.”

They talk a lot about open formats and the centrality of people, but I am not sure to what extent this drives the initiative, especially when IT talk such as servers, platforms, software and clouds still remains so central in the Microsoft discourse:

“With its software, device and services platform, Microsoft believes that cities “can deliver personalized services and apps with a people-centric approach, enable real-time dialogue via social media, and spur app development and economic growth with open data initiatives, resulting in better-served and engaged constituents.”

Microsoft CityNext partner Socrata Inc., for example, a cloud software company leading the shift to data-driven government, is working with Microsoft to bring open data technologies to cities worldwide on the Windows Azure cloud platform.”

8 July 2013

Saskia Sassen and Scott McCloud keynote speakers at Interaction14

interaction14-230x180

Interaction 14 just announced its first keynote speakers:

Saskia Sassen is someone to look forward to. A sociology professor at Columbia University, she is known for her critical and thought provoking thinking on a wide variety of themes that are very strongly related to the wider contexts in which we design: from Smart Cities, and urbanising technology, to the “global street” and capitalism, and from the connection between exclusion and globalisation, to the challenges of the megalopolis and the potential for reverse migration.

Scott McCloud is best known for his books about comics theory in which he set a new standard for comics as visual language. His ongoing experiments with comics designed specifically for the web resulted in techniques like the infinite canvas, which allows storytelling in ways not possible in the paged format of a physical book.

6 July 2013

Seoul, the Sharing City

seoulsharing

On 20 September 2012, the Seoul Metropolitan Government disclosed its plan for promoting the “Sharing City, Seoul” project, which includes 20 sharing programs and policies for generating or diffusing “sharing city” infrastructure after declaring the “Seoul as a Sharing City” vision.

The Metropolitan Government regards “sharing city” as a new alternative for social reform that can resolve many economic, social, and environmental issues of the city simultaneously by creating new business opportunities, recovering trust-based relationships, and minimizing wastage of resources.

In particular, the city plans to deploy secondary sharing infrastructure from now on to enhance the usefulness of idle resources such as space, objects, and talents since its urban policies have concentrated on constructing primary sharing infrastructure to date, such as roads, parking lots, schools, and libraries. Parallel to the above, the Metropolitan Government plans to implement policies of opening public resources to the citizens by having the public sector take the initiative while focusing on the implementation of policies that respect and promote private sector capabilities.