Imagine how embedded sensors, personal digital technologies, and live data can be used to promote the goals of PlaNYC; Bloomberg's bold vision for a sustainable New York.
This is exactly what fourteen SVA Interaction Design students did throughout a 7-week Design in Public Spaces class. The course was led by Jill Nussbaum, Executive Director of Product Design at the Barbarian Group, in collaboration with PlaNYC.
Throughout January and February 2012, student groups worked through design phases including: primary research, concept development, and user journey creation. The results tackled challenging issues including community supported agriculture, landfill park conversion and urban farming.
Project by: Sarah Adams, Tony Chu, Sana Rao
A service making finding and joining a CSA easy.
Investigations into food supply in the city lead to a focus towards Community-Supported Agriculture, an alternative, locally-based socio-economic model of agriculture and food distribution. Through speaking with supermarket shoppers and CSA organizers the group discovered a growing demand for locally grown produce, resulting in long CSA waiting lists.
Seedspeak is a website and interactive subway advertising campaign that makes it easy to find a CSA nearby. By aggregating & publicizing available spots, Seedspeak promotes growth of Community-Supported Agriculture as a viable local alternative when purchasing groceries.
Freshkills Park: A Section Story
Project by: Shanshan Gao, Prachi Pundeer, Tash Wong
An interactive installation to educate and raise awareness of Freshkills Park with New York City commuters.
Until 2001, Fresh Kills, located on Staten Island, was the world's largest landfill. By 2030, after extensive rejuvenation, it will be one of NYC's largest parks. The problem? Very few New Yorkers know it exists and those who do are concerned with its past-life. The group carried out research, speaking to members of the public as well as Carrie Grassi, Land Use and Outreach Manager for Freshkills Park, to establish the most effective way to communicate the complex story to the public.
Environmental graphics and video installations convert unassuming NY subway stations into 3-month exhibition spaces. Here, escalator walls are used to display layers of graphics, which represent a section-cut of the site evolving from landfill to park. Above ground, commuters encounter an installation of native plants and a series of birdhouses, each displaying a video feed of birds in the park.
Project by: Minnie Choi, Tom Harman, Minseung Song, Guri Venstad
An ecosystem designed to raise awareness, educate and support urban farming in NYC.
In January 2012, NYC's Department of City Planning proposed opening up 1,200 acres of commercial rooftop space for public use. Using this as a starting point the team interviewed expert and novice farmers, discovering four key barriers to participation; limited time to care for crops, lack of community support, low awareness of farming opportunities and lack of education on how to start.
Inspired by the traditional scarecrow, the group sought to re-imagine how technology could facilitate and inspire people to take up urban farming in the city. Focusing on novice farmers, the solution leverages multiple touchpoints; an iPhone application, a physical scarecrow, and targeted educational email and traditional website and poster campaigns to create a cohesive educational tool and community platform.
PlaNYC is an aspirational vision that touches the lives of every New Yorker. The ideas we presented begin to scratch the surface of incorporating digital technologies into city initiatives. Through this project, we learned to navigate the scale of the city's ambition, combine it with our own observations, and craft a compelling narrative to explain our ideas. As designers, our takeaway is the realization that we have the potential to seriously impact the long-term development of our cities.
See more work from students at the SVA Interaction Design MFA program here.