Team: Empati Design
City Experience Probe explores alternative methods to measuring urban data. The team has designed and built prototypes of probes and distributed them through the city of Aarhus to allow citizens to record their attitudes and feelings as they experience them.
The key members are Peter Martin Lolholm Gammelby and Jonas Frich Pedersen from Empati Design.
"We set out to provide a low-cost, easy-to-use way for ‘city-makers’ to evaluate their activities, with all the obstacles that entails. Our iterative process of going back and forth between construction and testing has provided us with insights throughout the experimentation phase, and made sure that assumptions turned into knowledge as early as possible.”
1. Interviewing ‘city-makers’
To understand city stakeholder’s decision making and coordinating process in Aarhus, we kicked off the experiment by conducting interviews with six diverse representatives who are involved in urban development in Aarhus from both public and private sector. Interviewee’s organisations are located in the map.
2. Ideation and rapid prototyping
We created ‘quick and dirty’ prototypes to test in the urban environment. In parallel with our interaction experiment, we facilitated an ideation workshop with designers and developers from Tovejs and Montem to define our mission statements.
3. First prototype of a probe
We connected SigFox to an Arduino Pro and a GPS. We then experimented with the signal coverage in Aarhus and the setup of the SigFox web service. During this time, we also developed and implemented a co-creation strategy to engage all relevant stakeholders and social participants.
4. Iteration and multiple production of probes
After assembling the first fully functioning probe, we took it out for a test in the city centre. Similar to our earlier tests, we positioned the probe in different spots and waited for bypassers to notice and interact with the probe. This time we didn’t bring the probe back with us, in order to test what would happen if we left the probe in the city for a day. Although some of our probes quickly found a new home and eventually ran out of battery, they generated a decent amount of data.
5. Data collection and experimentation
We visualised and shared the data collected from the probes to those who create and run urban spaces: municipalities, shopping centres, transportation companies, stores, organizations, restaurants and citizens.
City experience probes: The probe contains a microprocessor, a GPS and a radio transmitter with a very long range covering almost all of Europe. There are in total of 6 identical functioning probes, that can collect data in various locations.
GPS data: We visualised different GPS data on a map of Aarhus city and enabled a filtering function. Our experiment is integrated into OrganiCity so that it posts new assets every time a new reading on each of the probes is made.