City Experience Probe - Project Kick-off

We are excited to announce the official kick-off of our OrganiCity experiment - City Experience Probe!

The experiment

The vision behind City Experience Probe is to expand what is currently considered urban data (sometimes also recognized under terms such as big data, open data, smart city data or iot) to include peoples in-situ experiences, attitudes or feelings.

This may sound a bit confusing, so let's try to break it down into a couple of tangible actions and objects:

Firstly we are going to build a physical, wireless and digitally connected object that affords interaction on a level that somehow enables the prompting and capturing of the user's experience.

Secondly we are placing/releasing several of these objects into the urban space of Aarhus for people to move around and interact with. Meanwhile we are capturing and aggregating the data on a server.

Thirdly we are going to appropriate the data in order to make it available for those who create and co-create the urban space: Municipalities, shopping malls, transportation companies, stores, organizations, restaurateurs and the citizens

We know, that these actions give rise to a great deal of questions such as: How would you build a digitally, wirelessly connected object that endures the rough conditions of the urban space? How are people prompted for their experiences and how are these captured? How do we make sure that this subjective data is in any way appropriate or valuable? We could go on.

These questions are nevertheless at the center of this experiment. Which it is deliberately called experiments instead of projects because it entails exploration and because it is an act for the purpose of discovery and knowledge production.

About the blog

The purpose of this blog is to make the vision, progress, actions and results open to the public and to make the experiment as transparent as possible. We will make our best effort to answer some of the aforementioned questions within the scope of the experiment and share our findings by publishing them on this blog.

On a side note the blog also serves as a possible explanation to those who might encounter our probes or our interventions following this experiment. The project is not always easily explained to a lot of the everyday people we talk to, and in this case it is nice to be able to point people in the direction of more information e.g. on this blog.

If you want more details or more frequent updates we have a messy log that we gladly share on request and we will try to use the twitter-hastag #cityexperienceprobe

The team

We are Empati, an Aarhus-based design thinking and interaction design consultancy. We work together with mainly tech-companies in the critical development phases of projects where we provide two main services: We build prototypes (read: code, solder, draw, wizard of oz-) and we test (read: talk to real users/customers). This experiment offers one specific example into how we work, but we would also like to encourage you to have a look at our normal blog for more in depth insight into our mindset and work methods.

During the experiment we’re going to team up with different people in order to support our own competencies to ensure a broader perspective on CEP - but more about this in a later blog post!

- Peter & Jonas

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 645198

Posted on October 27, 2016 .