Developing technology interventions to activate community spaces and public life

Developing technology interventions to activate community spaces and public life:

It might be a good talk (at the Future Design Days): “Play and the Everyday – Developing technology interventions to activate community spaces and public life” by Margot Jacobs.

Whether one lives in the city, its suburbs or a small town, the changes affecting everyday environments and their public spaces are vast and significant in our lives. In light of this, the usefulness of analyzing and understanding this phenomenon becomes quite evident.

The key question is no longer how to use technology to support work-oriented tasks or how to be more effective. Instead, the focus has shifted to how technology can support what lies beyond utilitarian demands, exploring for instance emotionally driven human needs such as supportive social systems, sustainability and even desires, such as expression, communication, and reflection. In this era, we should explore new design philosophies, combining information technologies with values of a more aesthetic nature, subtlety, and personal meaning that support happy accidents, serendipitous interactions, and the ebbs and flows of our evolving lifestyles. In sum, the play in the everyday.

‘Public Play Spaces’ was initiated at the Interactive Institute as a means of investigating the surge of computing technologies in the public arena and what the implications are for our society and culture. Essentially, ‘Public Play Spaces’ is a platform for creative work exploring the playful, emotional and appropriate incorporation of technology into everyday public life, focusing on developing both innovative design methods and experimental prototypes for social interventions in public space. Within this framework, we have taken the opportunity to reflect on, question and reexamine places, relationships and qualities for the design of technology in the public sphere. This requires that we ask different questions, apply new methods and try alternative means of prototyping.

During the Play and the Everyday workshop we will walk through a design process with a focus on a particular public space drawing on the approach and methods used within the ‘Public Play Spaces’ platform including rapid prototyping and public interventions. The purpose will be to explore new tactics for how technologies might offer critique, breaking down current accepted technological practices and challenging people to reflect as well as to add new layers for expression and participation. Outcomes will include prototypes, conceptual design proposals and use scenarios.

Why do I blog this? Because Nicolas has a sharp eye for relevant topics, we seem to research the same sorts of things, and this addresses a meme shifting tactic from the utilitarian (worked-oriented tasks) to the more ephemeral and whimsical and in my humble opinion, it is the ephemeral and whimsical that will save the planet from destruction and swerve large, networked societies away from instrumentalized activities designed to create efficiencies, add value, and manage workflows. From lifeless to lifeful.