Design Research Workshop on Digital Transformation of Urban Experiences
November 1-3 2007
Student Activities Centre
Temple University Main Campus
The Philadelphia Wireless Project promises to deliver affordable broadband wireless services to citizens in all areas of the city. It is the largest project of its kind in the world and may transform the urban landscape of the City of Philadelphia by enhancing the lives of community neighborhoods and overcoming the digital divide. Temple University has partnered with the City of Philadelphia to envision how a broadband wireless network can transform the lives and experiences of its citizens and visitors alike. The Philadelphia Wireless Project provides a source of inspiration for novel ideas as well as a living laboratory for examining new applications. Bill Mitchell, Professor and Director MIT Media Lab Smart Cities, will keynote the conference and set the stage.
Cities-arguably the most ambitious and successful of humankind’s design achievements-have become mired in problems like accidents, crime, poverty, traffic and pollution. Despite the advancements in society at large, a significant portion of urban residents have been left behind. The emergence of digital technology gives us a chance to re-shape the landscape of the urban community. We have the opportunity, as well as responsibility, to design this emerging digital urban environment right, so that it benefits people in all walks of life. It requires the creation of both a large-scale information infrastructure that will cut through existing physical and social infrastructures in the city and the design of new services and applications. It also requires new media both in form and function that can take advantage of the mobility and the ubiquity of information. It forces us to re-think the meanings of familiar activities, while at the same time it allows us to envision novel forms of social interactions. It demands new forms of partnership between public and private sectors, researchers and practice, and the social and technical realms. The digital urban community, then, is a socio-technical innovation space where new forms of digitally mediated social interactions are designed and the meanings of old social interactions are re-shaped and mediated through new technologies.
The Designing Digital Communities Workshop
The workshop organized by the Institute for Business and Information Technology, Fox School of Business, Temple University will be the first in a series of activities that will bring together leading academics and practitioners to analyze, design and describe ways to transform urban communities. Designers, architects, technologists, artists, policymakers, engineers and entrepreneurs will join academics in management, economics, architecture, communication, history and sociology to identify visionary design scenarios and narratives of future digital urban communities. The participants will look for examples, images, stories and vocabularies that can inspire both research and practice going forward. The workshop will:
- consider how a ubiquitous information infrastructure can transform everyday experiences
- explore design challenges in realizing the vision of a digital community, and
- influence the transformation of an urban community through the use of technology.
The Design Challenge
Design is positioned as a central theme in bringing together diverse perspectives that are necessary to realizing the vision of digital urban environments. Through the power of the design attitude the world can be made better by bringing entrepreneurial and technical knowledge together with the advances in digital technologies. Design thinking balances technical and engineering excellence with humanistic values, and rational analysis with aesthetic judgment. Design thinking can solve existing problems, but also evoke new images of urban life experiences, new social institutions and partnerships, and new models of value in our lives.
The workshop will take the everyday experience of Philadelphia residents and visitors as the point of departure for design inquiry. We will focus on three groups: residents in center city including underprivileged residents, commuters, and visitors. Participants will envision new technology, services, business models, and research projects that can enhance the everyday experience of one of these three groups by taking advantage of a citywide broadband wireless infrastructure.
Each attendee will write a short statement (c.a. 500-1000 words) that addresses a critical aspect of transforming everyday life as experienced by one of the three target populations. These statements will offer a basis for intensive discussion. Participants will be divided into small groups, each focusing on one of the four target populations. Small group discussions will be punctuated with plenary sessions for open dialogue and a keynote.
The workshop is by invitation only and will include leading practitioners, innovators and entrepreneurs who are thinking about the state of the art digital technology, as well as leading academics in related fields. We will provide hotel and food. There is no registration fee.
Impact and Deliverables
By systematically involving leading innovators and entrepreneurs along with leading academics in exploring and envisioning the future of a digital urban community, we intend to serve as a catalyst for the creation of ubiquitous information environments that serve in realizing human ideals and values. This will in turn stimulate companies and organizations to design new products, new services and new organizational forms. By creating a space for conversations across different disciplines, we believe that the workshop and related activities will create a significant opportunity to stimulate new approaches to interdisciplinary research that could have enduring consequences in enhancing the quality of life through the design and use of emerging digital technologies.
The workshop will result in an edited book on the theme of digital community design and ubiquitous information environments. The book will be used to drive future research and impact into the broader community. We also expect that the workshop will result in specific new collaborative research and development projects.
Please contact Professor Youngjin Yoo at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-215-204-3058.
- Richard Boland, Case Western Reserve University
- Fred Collopy, Case Western Reserve University
- Peter Coughlan, IDEO
- Dan Fesenmaier, Temple University
- Munir Mandviwalla, Temple University
- Youngjin Yoo (Chair), Temple University