Weekly experimenters updates #2


In the area of app programming, we have had some delays due to different problems explained below.

At first, it was decided to program the app with the Xamarin plug-in for Microsoft Visual Studio, since it allows to develop the App in C# and then compile it for both Android and iOS, but when we tried to insert the Google Maps plug-in it was not possible to compile the code. After several days doing various tests and analyzing the errors, it was decided to develop the App with Ionic, which is a framework for the development of hybrid Apps. It is programmed in Angular and HTML 5.

This decision was made given the time limitation to develop the project, since, although it was preferable to develop in native mode for Android or iOS, with this alternative we hope to meet the deadlines set before Organicity. With the new environment, the result is a web viewer where the application runs as if it were a web page on the smartphone, even if the user doesn't notice it.

The ParGarCom project has appeared again in the press. The digital publication' Economía de Mallorca' has published information about our experiment here.


We’re continuing to work on our toolkit for public visualization. We’ve received more components and are experimenting with different content layouts, visualization and interaction techniques on the actual hardware. Currently, updating the displays is still a manual process (involving a python script and reflashing the microcontroller), but we hope to automate this process before our visit to Aarhus.

Speaking of Aarhus, we’ve booked our flights and currently planning our visit for the week of the 29th of January. Our aim is to organize two sets of workshops:

  1. A workshop methodology to define the initial goals and approach of a public visualization deployment and
  2. A set of guidelines to help in the design of public visualizations and their practical deployment.

These guidelines will be based on our extensive experience in deploying and evaluating public visualizations in cities.

Tranquil City

This week we have had been busy tailoring our upcoming Tranquil City events to each of our focus areas and setting updates in the calendar to begin promotion/getting people signed up to attend.

We have met with the City of London’s Visitor Strategy team, as well as with the Garden and Open Space manager. Both meetings were vital to expand Tranquil City’s relevance for the area. For the visitor strategy, it was important for us to explore the tranquil

Tranquil Pavement screenshots.

periods of the week, such as the weekend, where the City becomes almost desolate as all the bankers go home for the weekend. To bring people into the City during these periods will help to celebrate it as an area of escape from the crowds, such a contrast to how the City is perceived during the working week. For the Garden and Open Space manager, we are relevant to help promote these spaces to City businesses, demonstrate their inherent importance for staff wellbeing, contact with nature, stress management and even to help increase productivity perhaps.

Myself (Grant), Diana, Julie and Chloe met up at the Barbican Centre to set out the plan for the engagement events. We had been slowly developing these over the past couple of months, following each stakeholder meeting and discussion we were having. When summarising the objectives for each of the events, it became apparent just how different the priorities of each of the focus areas were.

For the City of London, the focus is very much to do with identifying tranquil spaces and what types of features help people feel tranquil in these spaces. This information can help them understand how to make the most effective improvements to spaces that are in need of care and attention. The tranquil spaces in the City are small, they’re gardens, churchyards. There are so many hidden places that people working in the area may never discover over a working life. That’s why we’re running two lunchtime events to help City workers and residents discover these secret spaces in their area and the benefits they provide.

For London Bridge, both Better Bankside’s and Team London Bridge’s priorities are to understand what features people in the area find positive, calming, cleaner and greener. So, we’re focussing on doing exploration events in the area, with a walk more suited to exploring the Better Bankside ‘Low Line’.

For Deptford, we are taking a slightly different approach, which is in our opinion an interesting and organic way to create bespoke tranquil routes in the area. We’ll be initially setting up on a couple of mornings at Deptford Station to discuss with locals their typical A to B routes and whether they feel that the area is tranquil in any way. We’ll then run explorations with the young community (potentially in combination with a local school) to help add tranquil spaces to the map and understand the characteristics of tranquillity in the area. With this information, we will create an example tranquil route in the area that will demonstrate how the Tranquil Pavement London web-app can be used to find more appealing, green and healthier routes on typical A to Bs, in combination with local residents.

Myself, Ben and Alberto worked through the comments and improvements to the current WIP Tranquil Pavement London with Amil and the team at Outlandish. We are very happy with the current prototype and are looking forward to launching it at the event we’re organising for the end of January. Keep following the OrganiCity weekly update blog to find out how to get involved! 

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Next week Green Roof Monitoring will take over our OrganiCity Instagram account!

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