Livin’ in the City
Crowdsourced solutions could improve our urban future
Life / 28 Oct 2011
The global population is expected to top seven billion sometime next week. Of that massive population, a significant percentage is taking up residence in cities, propelling a considerable urban boom. In response, new projects are emerging to crowdsource locals’ ideas on how to make congested urban spaces more hospitable and habitable.
Place Pulse: A sort-of Fashism for urban planners, this “hot-or-not”-style site seeks to uncover and analyze the spatial and architectural characteristics of a city that immediately affect visitors’ impressions of it. Developed at the MIT Media Lab by the Macro Connections Group, its function is simple: snapshots of two distinct city scenes are displayed, and a user clicks to cast his or her vote on which place looks safer, more unique, or more upper-class. The mass crowdsourced survey has received more than 560,000 votes, and the resulting data has been aggregated and organized to provide a visual starting point for city planning and urban renewal projects.
Insert Here: Encouraging urbanites to imagine new green spaces in unexpected places, artist Eve Mosher installed arrows throughout NYC on which residents could scribble ideas for improving a chosen location. Mosher worked in collaboration with the global climate change resolution organization 350 to create the giant arrows and plaster them to building facades, fences, and telephone poles. Green-themed organizations made a point to fill in the blanks to promote their causes of choice; green spaces, rooftop and vegetable gardens, and bike lanes all made a showing. The project also featured an outdoor projection wall that showcased creative solutions suggested by pensive pedestrians via text messages.
BMW Guggenheim Lab: In what may be the first-ever pop-up global think tank, this traveling laboratory will visit nine cities over six years in an effort to ignite conversations about improving contemporary urban life. Led by experts in architecture, design, technology, and sustainability, the Lab hosts public forums to encourage ordinary residents to collaborate on solutions to local problems. The Lab will operate in three two-year cycles, each with its own theme and portable structure. Cycle one, called Confronting Comfort, is an exploration of the meaning of comfort and safety in city spaces. Having just closed up its first structure in NYC, the Lab is now migrating to Berlin.
©The Intelligence Group