UrbanIxD Summer School reader

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UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

UrbanIxD Summer School Split, Croatia: 24th Aug – 1st Sept 2013

There will be a line up of inspirational speakers, and participants will work in groups lead by experienced atelier leaders.

At the end of the week, the work created by the participants will be presented to the people of Split as an open exhibition. Participants have been selected to achieve a good balance within the atelier groups, so that everyone has the best possible experience of interdisciplinary work. The School is particularly aimed at three main groups of participants: Students, particularly postgraduate or research students; Researchers and academics with up to five years working experience; and Working practitioners with up to five years working experience, in the domains of Design, Interaction Design, Architecture, Urban Design & Planning, New Media Art, Technology, Sociology, Anthropology and other related disciplines

The Summer School

The UrbanIxD project Summer School is to take place in the beautiful and historic town of Split in Croatia. This will be an interdisciplinary, workshop style, event hosted by the Department of Visual Communications Design, Arts Academy, University of Split. The team in Split has been running interaction design workshops – Interakcije – for eight years.

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Welcome to the UrbanIxD Summer School

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

The Summer School

Aug 2013 ▷ Split, Croatia The waiting is over, you are now among the 40 participants who have travelled from over 20 countries to be at the UrbanIxD Summer School in Split, Croatia. So what can you expect? The Summer School has a focus on “learning through doing” so you will learn about Urban Interaction Design through the work that you do as part of the multidisciplinary Atelier Groups that are at the core of the event. Each group will have an experienced leader who will guide you on this journey. But most of all you will learn from your fellow participants as they will possess ideas and skills that, we hope, will change how you do what you do. To complement the work of the Atelier Groups, there will be presentations from practitioners and researchers, each working at the edges of their field as this is where exciting things are happening. Our hope is that they will inspire,

inform and perhaps perplex you, but most certainly they will make you think. As a catalyst for thought we have included two “working documents” from the UrbanIxD project. The first addresses the emerging trends in urban interaction design, while the second reflects on the importance of interaction design for smart urban living. Each piece hints at directions and themes that you might like to consider, they reflect our thinking in this nascent field. This is a chance – a moment if you will – to go beyond the limits of design definitions, to re-think what design is today and to explore the present role it plays in society through critical design practice. For nine days in Split, you have the opportunity to re-gain your sense of wonder. It is a time to look critically at the urban environment, to eschew the familiar diatribes of the “smart city” and tread warily around the tag of “apps for hipsters”. It is a chance to seek out those indicators and signs that just might provide insight into our shared urban futures. Now is a chance to survey the bounds of the believable and press against the perimeter of the possible.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Michael Smyth  UrbanIxD

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What you do here will be important, what you achieve in Split will begin to shape a research agenda, but at a personal level it will motivate you and sustain you through those long winter days. You will make some connections that might only last for days, but there will be others that will shape your research for years to come. But most of all, what we all must do is keep our “Version 1.0 sensibility” and ensure that we all enjoy the ride…

The Summer School

But it won’t end at the Summer School, this is just the beginning of a journey, one that will take us all in many directions.

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UrbanIxD Summer School Brief: Seams and Boundaries in the Hybrid City   Context

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader



Explosive innovation and adoption of The concept of “Big Data” has become computing, mobile devices, and rich intimately linked with the vision of the sources of data are changing the cities in “Smart City”. The Smart City might be the which we live, work, and play. It's about campaign, but it will be over Big Data us, and how computing in the context of that the battle for the city will be fought. our cities is changing how we live. It is So where does this Big Data reside envisaged that the urban spaces of the and who gets to see it, let alone make future will be saturated with both visible sense of it and use it? and hidden media that gather and transmit information. How we as physical beings connect with, interpret and shape the increase of data residing in our environment will be a significant challenge.

The Hybrid City is an environment that comprises both the tangible and the virtual.

The goal of the Summer School is the production of fictional concepts that explore the active role of citizens as designers, users and inhabitants in the emerging socio-technical situations that might characterise the Hybrid City of the near-future. At the conclusion of the School you will have produced an output that is ready for exhibiting to the public. Your display should be understandable to visitors, but does not have to be a fully working prototype.


This landscape is made more complex as these seams ebb and flow with time and place. The experience of data might only be fleeting and transient. What are the products and services that citizens of the near future will use to create and consume data in the Hybrid City? What will the toolkits of these “data hunters” contain, and how will they explore the space between and beyond buildings as they seek to understand the urban environment through interaction rather than delineation? Their mission is to identify the seams, and reveal the data, as only once this is uncovered can we really know of its existence and meaning.


UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

It is a place where data resides at the boundaries of the physical and the digital.

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Saturday 24th

Sunday 25th

09.30 Registration 10.00 – 11.00 Opening presentation: Michael Smyth

10.00 – 11.15 Talk: Liam Young 11.30 – 14.00 Atelier group sessions

11.00 – 12.30 Presentations: Introductions from the Atelier Group leaders 12.30 – 14.00 Atelier group sessions

14.00 – 16.00 Lunch break 16.00 – 18.00 Atelier group sessions 18.00 – 19.30 Film screening: The Human Scale

14.00 – 16.00 Lunch break

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader


16.00 – 18.00 Atelier group sessions 18.00 – 19.00 Guided Tour of Split

Wednesday 28th

Thursday 29th

10.00 – 13.00 Atelier group sessions

10.00 – 14.00 Atelier group sessions

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break

14.00 – 16.00 Lunch break

14.00 – 16.00 Atelier group presentations with reviewers

16.00 – 19.00 Atelier group sessions

30 min break 16.30 – 18.00 Atelier group presentations with reviewers

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Public events

Summer school faculty & participants only

Tuesday 27th

10.00 – 11.15 Talk: Susa Pop

10.00 – 11.15 Talk: Nicolas Nova

11.30 – 12.45 Talk: Platforma 9,81

11.30 – 14.00 Atelier group sessions

13.00 – 13.30 Presentations: Martin Brynskov & Gianluca Zaffiro

14.00 – 16.00 Lunch break

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Monday 26th

16.00 – 17.00 Advisory Board presentation

14.00 – 16.00 Lunch break 17.00 – 19.00 Atelier group sessions 16.00 – 17.30 Atelier group sessions 17.30 – 18.45 Talk: Andrew Shoben

Friday 30th

Saturday 31st

10.00 – 14.00 Atelier group sessions Exhibition preparation

12.00 – 14.00 Atelier group sessions Final presentations

14.00 – 16.00 Lunch break

14.00 – 16.00 Lunch break

16.00 – 19.00 Atelier group sessions Exhibition preparation

16.00 – 19.00 Exibition open to the public


20.00 Reception

Sunday 1st 10.00 – 19.00 Exhibition open to the public p. 9

Participants depart

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Faculty   Speakers


UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Andrew Shoben → the founder of greyworld, a world renowned artists’ collective who create art in public spaces. His work finds expression through the mediums of installation, sculpture and multiples. His primary objective is to create public art that involves the human in an urban context. 


Platforma 9,81 → a collective of architects from Croatia engaged collaboratively and independently in the critical rethinking and debate of urban planning and public space. Working as architects they take part in the production and transformation of the built environment, yet this practice is closely entwined with their active involvement in the organization of platforms for discussion and research into economic and cultural shifts, desires and realities that become tangible through architectural transformations. Dinko Peračić & Miranda Veljačić, from Platforma 9.81, focus in their research particularly on the Croatian coastline driven by rapid tourist development, as well as other cultural and spatial transformations of coastlines. Their other projects include an investigation into the swift changes in Croatia during the period of transition and an activation of a network of temporary public spaces for cultural activities in abandoned premises. They are based in Split, Croatia. platforma981.hr

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 nearfuturelaboratory.com /pasta-and-vinegar

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Nicolas Nova → a writer, ethnographer, and a consultant at the Near Future Laboratory. He undertakes field studies to inform and evaluate the creation of innovative products and services in the domains of video games, mobile and location-based media as well as networked objects / robots. Nicolas has given talks and exhibited his emerging technology projects, designs and concepts in venues such SXSW, AAAS, O’Reilly Emerging Technology Conference and the design week in Milano, the Institute for the Future, the MIT Medialab, the Annenberg Center for Communication ( Los Angeles ). He also teaches design ethnography and interaction design at HEAD-Genève and ENSCI-Les Ateliers in Paris. He is curator for Lift Conference, a series of international events about digital culture and innovation.

p. 12 Faculty UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Susa Pop → an urban media curator and producer based in Berlin. In 2003 she founded Public Art Lab ( PAL ) as a network of experts from the fields of urban planning, new media arts and IT. Susa Pop is interested in creative community building through networking art projects that catalyse communication processes in the public space. She initiated most of the PAL projects like the Connecting Cities Network, Media Facades Festivals, Mobile Studios and Mobile Museums. She also speaks worldwide at conferences and workshops on urban media and gives lectures at several universities like University of Potsdam / European Media Science, FH Potsdam / Arts Management, Computer Science at HTW Berlin, International Management at SRH Berlin.  publicartlab-berlin.de /public-art-lab/susa-pop

Liam Young → an architect who operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures. He is founder of the think tank Tomorrows Thoughts Today, a group who explore the possibilities of fantastic, speculative and imaginary urbanisms and co runs the ‘Unknown Fields Division’, a nomadic studio that travels on expeditions to the ends of the earth to investigate forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and industrial ecologies. Liam’s projects develop fictional speculations as critical instruments to survey the consequences of emerging environmental and technological futures. 


Atelier leaders

Chris Hand → an interaction designer with over 20 years experience as an educator. He specialises in teaching workshops and hack-labs, particularly introducing “just enough technology” to creative people of all disciplines so they can incorporate it into their practice. Chris has an MA in Design Interactions from the Royal College of Art, London, and a BSc in Computer Engineering from the University of Manchester, UK. Since 2010 he has lived and worked in India. He is currently Head of Communication Design at Pearl Academy, New Delhi. 


Carlos J. Gómez de Llarena → a Venezuelan media architect working at the intersection of physical and digital design. His projects blend technology and built environments, creating experiences that shape social interactions as well as our perceptions of spaces. He has been awarded a Golden Nica by Ars Electronica, an artist residency at Eyebeam and a US Patent, among other achievements. He is currently in New York City where he lives with his family and works in his interaction design studio. In his spare time he edits his blog, City Interface.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader



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p. 14 Faculty UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Tobias Revell → an artist, designer and educator from London. As an artist, he exhibits worldwide, most recently at Milan Design Salon, Z33 in Belgium and, in July, at Ars Electronica. As a designer he’s an associate with design-futures studio Superflux and works with ARUP’s Foresight + Innovation team. He teaches Design for Interaction and Moving Image at University of The Arts London and guests on numerous other programs. He also moonlights as a music video animator and DJ.

Gordan Savičić → born in Austria / Vienna and grew up there, though he spent some time in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He is a researcher and Critical Engineer. The main research areas explored through his projects include game cultures, digital and urban interventions, architecture, pervasive computing as well as open source technologies. As a practicing media artist he has exhibited projects and performances throughout Europe, Asia and South-America and received various awards.



Hrvoje Živčić → works as a graphic designer and deals mostly with typography and type design. He holds an MA in visual communications from School of Design, Faculty of Architecture, University of Zagreb and an MA in type design from The Royal Academy of Art, Den Haag. During his studies he started working as a freelancer which he still does, mostly on projects related to culture and often in collaboration with Dario Dević. From 2013 he is a member of the Croatian Freelance Artists’ Association and works as a teaching assistant at School of Design in Zagreb. 



Sara Božanić → CEO and founder of the Institute for Transmedia Design, based in Slovenia. She is a “hybrid” – a designer, strategist, educator and thinker. She has been working for many years on the promotion of interaction and interactive design disciplines in the region, organising events, design labs and lectures. As a consultant she has worked on various international projects in the field of creative economy. Sara believes that digital opens new paths to the public and fosters an endless series of design possibilities. In 2011 she was given a Young Creative Entrepreneur Media Award by the British Council.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Atelier coordinators


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Damir Prizmić → a designer and artist, born in Split. Areas of work and exploration include visual communication design, exhibition design, speculative design and technology. He is always looking forward to collaborating with people, intertwining mediums and discovering new fields of experiment, play and change. He has an MA in visual communication design, and has exhibited in Croatia and abroad. He is currently working in Zagreb.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader


Hrvoje Kedžo → a freelance architect, and teacher from Split engaged in critical thinking and debate of urban planning and public space. Graduated on research how can local community retake public space ( coast line ) taken by factories 50 years ago without closing it as it has a huge part in local economy. He has also been a part of several architecture and photography workshops in Germany, France, Croatia and Macedonia during studying. Before graduation he’s done an internship in China for 6 months working as lead architect on several projects in Shanghai area. Currently teaching design at Architectural and Geodetic Technical School in Split. Enjoys mountain running and is preparing for Ultra-Trail du Mont Blanc next year.

School directors


Ivica Mitrović → the assistant professor at the department of Visual Communications Design at the Arts Academy in Split, where he teaches Interaction Design and Interactive Media Design. He holds a Ph.D at the University of Split and he also specialized at several other international institutions. Since 2001 he has been working on promoting and introducing the Interaction Design in Croatia and region. The activities concerning the promotion of the interaction design include a series of workshops and they resulted in the organization of the International Symposium at the Arts Academy in Split in 2009. At the end of last year his book Designing New Media, Design and the New Media – Croatian Context ( 1995 – 2010 ) was published. He is currently coordinating the UrbanIxD project for the University of Split. Ivica is also the vice president of the Croatian Design Society. dvk.com.hr/interakcije/

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Michael Smyth → the Coordinator of the UrbanIxD FP7 project. He has worked in the fields of Human Computer Interaction and Interaction Design since 1987 and during that period has published over 50 academic papers in refereed journals, books and conferences. In addition he has had interactive installations exhibited at both UK and international conferences and arts & design festivals. He is co-editor of the book entitled Digital Blur: creative practice at the boundaries of architecture, design and art, Libri Publishing.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

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Advisory board workshop   School organizer organizers 

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader


Ingi Helgason → a researcher and lecturer in Interaction Design, and is the project manager for the UrbanIxD FP7 Project. Her research interests focus on investigating interactions with installations in public and urban spaces, and her current teaching covers technology design and innovation. She is one of the organisers of This Happened Edinburgh, a series of events focusing on the stories behind interaction design.

Martin Brynskov, Ph.D. → associate professor in interaction technologies at Aarhus University in Denmark; research fellow at Participatory IT Centre ( PIT ) and Center for Advanced Visualization and Interaction ( CAVI ); general chair of the Media Architecture Biennale 2012 and 2014, co-founder of Smart Aarhus, director of the Digital Design Lab, and former director of the Civic Communication group at the Center for Digital Urban Living. Working with municipalities, journalists, artists and industrial partners, he investigates the consequences of digitization and explores new forms of mediation within a variety of domains with special focus on the role of social interaction, materials and interfaces. He also holds an MA in information studies and classical Greek.

Local organizer


Oleg Šuran → working as an associate at the University of Split ( UrbanIxD FP7 project ), and as a freelance visual communications and interaction designer. He holds a BA in visual communications design and an MA in new media design. Since 2011. he runs workshops in the field of communication design at the School of Applied Arts and Design in Pula. His work in the field of design, art and research was exhibited in group and solo shows in Croatia as well as abroad. He is an assistant at the department of Visual Communications Design, Arts Academy of Split.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Gianluca Zaffiro → a telecommunications expert and strategy advisor at Telecom Italia, working with the Future Centre Trends group of the company Strategy department. He explores how innovation in technology and services will impact the company business and he contributes to the strategic steering. Gianluca was responsible for the Market Interaction activities in the European FP6 Coordination Action PEACH on Presence from 2006 to 2009. From 2013 he has taken the Industry Liaison responsibility for UrbanIxD. Gianluca has a degree in Electronic Engineering ( MEng ) from the Politecnico of Torino, Italy.

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UrbanIxD Summer School Reader


Niels Wouters, Belgium

 Jona Dajçi, Albania

 Mads Hobye, Denmark & Sweden

 Andreas Förster, Austria

 Peter Kun, Hungary & Netherlands

 Søren Rosenbak, Denmark

 Daria Casciani, Italy

 Bronwyn Cumbo, Australia

 Caitlin Cockerton, UK

Sergio Galán Nieto, Spain

Joatan Preis Dutra, Germany & Brazil

Caroline Peta Comino, Australia

 Sjors Timmer, UK

 Matthew Carreau, Canada

 Andreas Streinzer, Austria

 Leyla Nasibova, Azerbaijan & Finland

 Assunta Matassa, Italy

 Bastien Kerspern, France

 Sandy Claes, Belgium

 Antonella Sassu, Ireland

 Rachid Belkouch, Canada

 Luis Veracruz, Netherlands

 Louise Jensen, Germany & Denmark

 Han Pham, UK

 Laura Boffi, Denmark & Italy

 Mara Balestrini, UK

 Sara Adhitya, Australia, Italy & France

 Jenny Kempson, USA

 Isil Ruhi-Sipahioglu, Turkey

Robert Clouth, Spain

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader Participants

 Jure Martinec, Slovenia & Germany

 Olga Surawska, UK & Netherlands

 Sandro Engel, Germany

 Pika Novak, Slovenia

 Jakab Pilaszanovich, Hungary & Spain

 Lea Skrinjar, Serbia

 Ena Hadžić, Bosnia and Hezegovina

 Karey Helms, USA & Sweden

 Divya Viswanathan, India

Sarah Baron Brljević, Croatia & Germany

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UrbanIxD Summer School Reader


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only place in Croatia where you can hop on a ferry and spend the day on one of the islands and return in the evening for cocktails and dancing in the streets. On the other hand, you might think you will just pass through Split and stay for a week. We love Split. Once you meet it, you will love it too. 

GOLI ± BOSI – DESIGN HOSTEL  gollybossy.com / en / home


Built in the 4th century by a retired Roman emperor that wanted to grow cabage in peace and take sluphur baths for his aching bones, Split is the second largest city in Croatia, but probably the first city of Croatia when it comes to beauty. The narrow streets of the Old Town, crisscrossed by drying laundry, small fishermen’s port of Matejuška, sandy beach of Bačvice and shaded rocks of Marjan all tell the same story. Split rules. It is the

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

The City of Split

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p. 24 Venue UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Youth Centre & Multimedia Cultural Centre Split The Multimedia Cultural Centre Split ( MKC Split ) is an institution founded by the City of Split in 1997. Its activities are to organize, produce and promote cultural programs in the fields of visual arts, music and performing arts, film and video, literary creation, entertainment, and recreational activities. MKC’s role is also to cooperate with other organizations, associations, and creative individuals in co-organizing cultural, art, and interdisciplinary programs, aimed primarily at the younger population, and to be a platform for supporting noninstitutional culture. When selecting programs, apart from being guided by program quality, programs promoting urban culture and youth culture have an advantage regardless of whether they are musical, staged, visual art, lectures, forums, or workshops. Currently, the Multimedia Cultural Centre Split is extremely concerned to regenerate the unfinished building of the Youth Centre

( Dom mladih ) and to include as many citizens as possible, particularly young people, in its programs. Dom mladih offers a venue with two stages ( small and big auditoria with 380 + 500 seats ), a spacious and wellequipped 500 m2 gallery space, dancing floor, and a number of other spaces used by other stakeholders: The International New Film and Video Festival, Cinema Club Split, drama and ballet studios for young people, stage dancing groups, a skateboard club, a free climbing club, etc. The cellar is home to a club stage and most of the activities carried out by the so-called coalition of youth associations.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader


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UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Map of Split  Venue p. 26

p. 28 Emerging Trends research summary UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Emerging Trends in Urban Interaction Design One of the central challenges of the UrbanIxD project is to identify, evaluate and present emerging trends in urban interaction design. For the summer school in Split in August 2013, a preliminary proposal for how to engage with this task is presented. Not as much as a solution but as a suggestion for how to proceed and understand the problem space; an invitation to join the discussion, both for the summer school participants and others. Laying out the future landscape of urban interaction design is as much tracing its genealogy as it is predicting the future. The changes we have seen in the past decade have been tectonic. First of all: the rise of mobile. The dynamically interlinked spaces that we now take for granted in most parts of the world have altered the conditions for designing spaces for life, with all the complexities that term, life, connotes. With this in mind, simple predictions are not what we aim for. Instead, we look for indicators that may be interpreted as critical landmarks, ways of working that may be seen as useful

modes of investigation, situations which may serve as inspiration, or forewarnings, of urban spaces in an even more digitally connected future. To be honest, we don’t have the map yet; we’re still figuring out the dynamics of the land. For a simple definition, Urban Interaction Design is the application of interaction design methods in the context of urban space. By extension, it is therefore also pertinent to those traditions – academic and professional – which have up until now addressed the provisioning and conditions of urban space for human life. Taking interaction design first, it is academically rooted in Human-Computer Interaction ( HCI ), with the added perspectives of design and artistic practices.

Martin Brynskov  Aarhus University

Emerging Trends research summary p. 29

Next, the urban, and indeed space, has been the realm of architecture for millennia, and we see the same type of shift within architectural practice and theory as that field repositions itself to address the eternal challenge: to provide spatial support for human life. Third, artists, always the avantgarde, have not lost a beat challenging perceptions of what digital technologies may herald, both independently and in collaboration with academia. Sometimes the results have been research interventions employing artistic strategies, sometimes the other way around. Currently, the coming-together of all of these people that draw upon heavy and deep traditions is, in our

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

It is hardly a tradition in and of its own yet, but rather a field of heterogeneous competences in the making, forged out of the necessities of design spaces and materials we are confronted with.

preliminary dissection of the emerging trends in urban interaction design, at the core of what we need to understand. What concepts are emerging? What issues are critical? Which ways of working works for whom? Whether it is within the context of “smart cities”, media architecture, or something else, we will meet at the UrbanIxD summer school to explore and discuss an initial set of concepts, methods, and situations. What designers call iterative process, others refer to as hermeneutical or dialogical. It is within such a mindset the current preliminary outlook on emerging trends in urban interaction design, which will be presented in Split, should be received. See you soon.

p. 30 Industry Repoart research summary UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Interaction Design puts the user at the center of innovation for smart urban living

Urbanization is a well-known phenom- Cedric Price, an English architect and inenon nicely addressed by the former fluential teacher and writer on architecMayor of Denver in Colorado, who said ture, pointed out that “technology is the that “the 19th century was a century of answer. But what is the question?”. This empires, the 20th century was a century seems to refer to one of the issues that of nation states, the 21st century will be a Smart Cities are facing, which is that they century of cities.” lack consideration of the engine at the Technology has a major role in this heart of them, the human life. “We don’t context. Digital connectedness has added make cities in order to make buildings complexity to urban space, as people and and infrastructure but to come together, things become connected and active be- create wealth, culture, more people” says yond the constraints of physical space, Dan Hill, a design visionary. e.g. via mobile services, interactive sigCurrently there are two main apnage and embedded sensors. This digital proaches to transform or make cities “layer” is not separate from physical space. “smart” or smarter. Both of them are They co-exist and form a hybrid space that top-down ones, as they are driven by blends physical and digital activities. an entity or authority down to the citi-

Industry Repoart research summary

The limits of those approaches are in that they are leading to vertical solutions, separate application “silos”, and moreover that the attention to the final users is not taken into account as it should be.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader p. 31

zens and the city itself. The first approach Cities are a huge market. The City-Mart has mainly been followed in the United project calculates that “there are more States and it has technology at its centre. than 557,000 local governments around Smartness is a consequence of struc- the world, and they spend about $ 4500 tured programs from big industrial play- billion each year to deliver important ers, e.g. IBM, Cisco and Siemens. services to their citizens.” Moreover acThe second one finds its main repre- cording to a study from ABI Research sentations in Europe and Asia: it’s lead “market technologies and services needed by governments which set policies to to make Cities ‘smart’ are ranging from reach goals like being green and sustain- $ 8 billion in 2010 to $ 39 billion in 2016, able and to foster entrepreneurship and with a cumulate expense in 2012-2016 human capital, or they design complete- of $ 116 billion.” The number of Smart City ly new cities by promoting the adoption projects worldwide was over one hunof infrastructures that exhibit the latest dred in 2011, the same source reports. technologies to make them “smart”. Interaction Design can effectively contribute to make investments on this sector more profitable. It is well-known that the success of best of breed companies in other sectors, like Apple, mainly derives from the attitude of properly applied interaction design to their products. There are figures that testify how design can boost revenues and net sales when used: for instance according to a recent UK Design Council research, GB companies calculate a percentage return on design investment of 15%. Interaction design can transform a dumb product into a smart one. A good example of this is the NEST thermostat, created by a couple of former Apple employees. Thermostats are key elements in a green approach to energy consumption, they are a good example of a technology that requires both some intelligence and that gets advantage when connectable to a remote device. Till now these products have been well-recognized as to be awkward to program and use. When a new technology and a user-centric design is injected into the thermostat, as for NEST, this process enhances and transforms the

p. 32 Industry Repoart research summary UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

object into something different and better. It simplifies the look, making it a more intuitive knob to set temperature, it shifts the complex functions, such as setting a schedule, to a more handy mobile app.

The device also coaches people to use less energy showing a green leaf icon: this changes the paradigm for the thermostat from a “dumb” into a “smart” object, with a concrete consequence on sustainability that has been estimated to keep owners from using 225 million KWh of energy, saving around $ 29 million at average U. S. prices, as reported in the MIT Technology Review. The former example is clearly more related to smart homes than smart cities, but yet it provides a good idea of how people and technology, brought together by interaction design, can obtain advantages that go beyond the functional element itself. There are several companies that address the “smart cities” market. These companies approach the market mainly

in a top-down way, as we said at the beginning of this document. Most of the effort is to offer an end-to-end infrastructure, hardware or software to address application areas as silos and mainly addressing the smart grid area. Designers must be informed and aware of the available technology and its potentialities. The mentioned digital connectedness relies on the basic assumptions that in an urban space we have availability of smart, mobile, wireless devices. All those devices can access pervasive mobile and wireless ultrabroadband connectivity. These devices, either personal or not, contribute to the production of big, personal, open – but not always available – data. This flow of information is processed on heterogeneous, ubiquitous and distributed computing platforms. We believe that some technologies have to be considered as the future pillars and challenges for delivering successful and innovative urban products

Finally interaction is the heart of creating user-centric interfaces and controls.

Industry Repoart research summary p. 33

system to authenticate a user into a digitally permeated urban space in respect of the user privacy and control, in relation and to the limits of the service goal. Regarding data -and mainly the algorithms working on them- they have the power to expose, predict, and filter relevant information for the smart citizens. The availability of data to all parties ( open data and personal data and internet of / with things ) will make it possible to open the creative solution process to the best contributors, individual and industrial. Visualization is a challenge, espe- In conclusion, if our goal is not to simcially when talking about public dis- ply create Smart Cities but to provide a plays, which requires to design the “smart living”, there is a need to change visual interface properly, effectively the current approach: this can be done and as inclusive as possible. The goal is by putting people at the process center to transfer complex information and and working bottom-up in the sermake sense of complexity. vice / product creation. If we fail at looking at the user, the result might be a highly automated urbanized world where humans will not feel comfortable and everything is machine-centric. This is clearly expressed by Dan Hill’s words: “The idea that dealing with physical space and finite time is problematic might actually reveal a deeper issue that a particular culture has with these ‘constraints’ on humanity, a kind of machine thinking. It de Gianluca Zaffiro scribes a desire to control experience,  Telecom Italia, Future Centre, Trends obliterating serendipity.”

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

and services, which are: identity, data, visualisation, interaction. The industry has to address these challenges in order to effectively contribute to a future smart urban living. The reason for considering digital identity as one of the technology pillars is that it enables the creation of a seamless

p. 34 Interviews

Re: UrbanIxD A good way of getting to know someone is by asking a lot of questions. And that is exactly what we did with our Summer School atelier leaders, speakers, advisory board, and friends. Some of the answers suprised us as we read what do prominent practicioners and theoreticians in the field of interaction design think about urban interaction design. In this reader we included a few answers as a way of getting to know some of the people you will be working with for the next few days.

Carlos J. Gómez de Llarena is a Venezuelan media architect working at the intersection of physical and digital design. He is also atelier leader at our summer school. Tobias Revell is an artist, designer and educator from London, and an atelier leader at our summer school. Nicolas Nova is a writer, ethnographer, and a consultant at the Near Future Laboratory, as well as a speaker at our summer school.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Gordan Savičić apart from being an atelier leader at our summer school, he is a researcher, and a critical engineer.

Carlos → I have a mixed background in architecture and interaction design but with experience in additional fields as varied as video art, physical computing, sound design, and VJ’ing. I call this practice “media architecture” as a catchall for the notion that data, media and physical experience can be merged in designs that create new perceptions of spatial experiences, and shape social behaviors.

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gordan → My interests and work formats have changed over the past years, most of them were developed with a critical aim towards rediscovering the way we use everyday technologies. In the world of contemporary art, certain practices often remain self-referential within their own world, while others – more engaging and so-called activist –

tobias → I work primarily in futures across a variety of disciplines. I work in academia, design, corporate foresight and as a practicing artist with the “public”. These are four very different outlets with a diaspora of output forms, media and audiences but a unified input, often building on the same ideas, theories, design and personalities. I do try and cross over between them all. This means using a wide variety of media and thinking about how techniques that may work really well in one field could be linked across to all.


nicolas → My interest in “Design fictions” makes me interested in the intersections between design and art. Said differently, I’m intrigued by how creative practices enable to speculates about new ideas through prototyping and storytelling, how they can help designing, challenging and understanding speculative future realities.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

How would you place your work in the context of the contemporary design/art practice?

projects try to engage the public sphere; nowadays merely mediated through network topologies. That’s exactly the reason why we need to develop a critical language towards emerging technologies. Tiny little interconnected objects invaded pretty much every aspect of our everyday life. In 2011 together with Julian Oliver and Danja Vasiliev, both well-known Critical Engineers, we authored the Critical Engineering manifesto which tackles most of the issues in what we call “most transformative language of our time” – expanding our views beyond the context of contemporary design, art and engineering practice.

p. 36 Interviews UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

How do you see the current relation between the design and art?

carlos → I see contemporary design concerned with solving a problem and art as concerned with raising a question or issue. Both share creativity at its root, and we may find elements of both in an artist or designer through history – from Michelangelo, the Arts & Crafts movement, Bauhaus, to Dunne & Raby. The overlap is quite rich for aesthetic and / or speculative works. I see designers borrowing plenty of ideas from art, but not so much the other way around. When an artist draws inspiration from design, often the output seems to fall out of the artistic and into the commercial one way or another. Not that there is anything wrong with that – a lot of current art is commercial to begin with. tobias → In the area that I work it’s interchangeable. Even in design practice and corporate foresight we rarely look at marketable outputs so much as learning curves or experiences that can trickle down to inform things later. The delineation I draw between practices comes more in the form of who it’s for and why I’m doing it. Thinking about someone else’s brief or researching for someone else’s benefit falls into design. If it’s exploring my own interests or talking about things I want to talk about it’s art.

The form of the end product is largely irrelevant so much as the reason for doing it in the first place. nicolas → They both correspond to a creative practice that operate with different constraints. It’s curious to see how some people are concerned with being on one side or another. That’s not really my problem. I think both are important and can benefit from one another, especially because of the different ways they operate and the type of outcome they produce.

I see contemporary design conserned with solving a problem and art as concerned with raising a question or issue. → carlos

tobias → The critical design approach is very important to my work. I find that design and market techniques are more and more aimed at obfuscating ideologies and motivations, often even to their creators. In a world that is so complex and so multi-dimensional, a critical approach gives the opportunity to unpick, dissect and try to understand the mechanisms that drive and control the world. Through my various practices, the aim is ultimately to expose, explain and consider what these might mean. p. 37

carlos → I would say that critical design is the Velvet Underground of the design world – it’s not for the mainstream, but those that do follow its contribution and ideas are often other designers that will be making the next few waves of popular design innovations. I think I have done a few artworks that align with aspects of these critical approaches, but in hindsight these did not


nicolas → I do not necessarily frame my work under the “critical design” umbrella, “design fictions” sounds a bit closer to my interest. Unlike foresight-related tools ( opportunity maps, scenarios ), design fiction use standard objects and media conventions as a way to express ideas about the future: a fake product catalogue, a map of a fictional area, a newspaper, a short video showing a day in the life of a person, etc. ). To some extent, design fiction is like science-fiction in that the stories bring into focus certain matters-of-concern, such as how life is lived, questioning how technology is used and its implications, speculating about the course of events.

gordan → Frankly, it was only two years ago since I’ve discovered this term in the fascinating book Hertzian Tales by Anthony Dunne. Nonetheless, even before becoming aware of his work, I was applying a critical design approach to most of my work. Critical thinking allows us to push the limits of our lived experience; by doing so we can freely act within a cultural, political, social, psychological and technical medium. With the book on “Unpleasant Design” which I co-authored together with Selena Savić, we tried to emphasize on the emergence of critical-designed objects and behaviours. With Unpleasantness, we applied a design approach that tries to look at objects as silent-agents, very much like algorithmic artefacts deployed within our urban perception.

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What is the role of the critical design approach today and how important is it in your work?

stem from a critical inquiry but rather a creative exploration on the possibilities of interactions in public space. I don’t see myself as a critical designer.

p. 38

Why do you think it is important to question the current scientific and technical development?

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader


nicolas → Having a background in life sciences, cognitive sciences, and human-computer interaction,

I have always been amazed by the lack of consideration given to “why” questions in scientific and technical development...

scarcely challenged. There’s a need to think about these differently, at least have a conversation about them and avoid taking very new possibility for granted. tobias → I think if we’re not critical then we just accept the major consensus narrative as so many do. The world is divided and divisive and it’s easy to look for easy answers or a sense of solidarity – to turn to an established narrative that best aligns with how you think you should feel or what you think you should believe. A critical approach gives us the opportunity to read past and into the obfuscating effects of technology. We may not be able to propose alternatives, and we probably shouldn’t when we find something wrong. But being aware of them might allow us to steer better.

carlos → I believe questioning scientific and technical development can make us think about the consequences of our decisions. Contemporary mass culture is numbed by consumption, and usually science and technology are major pushers of the drug. If we look back at the 20th century, there is a legacy of modernist belief in progress that produced wealth and wellbeing but also a vast catalog of social, urban or environmental malaises – like sprawl, global warming, contagious Why are we doing this? Why are we de- social unrest, digital divide, to name a few. veloping this piece of genomic sequencIt’s hard to forecast the deepest and ing? Why is this bit of geopositioning de- long-term consequences of any techvice relevant to our society as a whole? nological development. Usually it all Assumptions are rarely questioned, and starts with the hype of the future, or the scientists or engineers’ preconceptions next big thing, and aggressive adoption about life, cognition, society, etc. are strategies based on some well-marketed

Critical views can present alternate visions of how things could pan out,

gordan → Great name for a tumblr blog series: “5 years from now”, “10 years from now” and “50 years from now”.

p. 39

All statistic indications put attention to the trends of the constant growth of the urban population. How do you see future cities in 5, 10 and 50 years? 

tobias → “The City” as a construct is interesting in itself. The world is often referred to in terms of “The City” as a whole. There’s good reason for this. The City is the primary geopolitical unit of “The Cloud”. Geo-politics is no longer horizontal, divided across states and political bodies but is also vertical. The city is a focus point for networks, technologies, interfaces and the cloud – a boring hole in which the stratified layers of geo-political, social and technological progress can be seen. Urbanisation and connectivity are increasing so rapidly and the traditional Westphalian state border feels so fragile that in 50 years we may not be able to define between cities – we will all live in The City. In the shorter term, cities act as flashpoints for individual agency – the revolutions and protests of the last few years – and the ongoing battle between polities – people, markets and governance. Perhaps they will become more entrenched and brutal ideological warzones but perhaps some might emerge as models of genuine and hopeful change.


and this serves an important role in helping raise awareness of our own personal responsibility to each other, our descendants, our planet.

carlos → They will probably look like 2013 but a lot more crowded, some of them with permanently flooded areas, and a myriad of technologies covering their streets, waters and skies. I like how the writer William Gibson sums it up: “… cities are like compost heaps – just layers and layers of stuff. In cities, the past and the present and the future can all be totally adjecent…”.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

working theory of benefits – the negative effects are hardly spoken of, let alone understood. Just look at the history of the automobile to see the profound impact it had in affecting modern life, cities and the environment.

p. 40 Interviews UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

Cities will more and more look like scrambled eggs from an information perspective while mediated information will surround us on every step we make. Big data will not play such an important role since there will be such a vast amount of hybrid information that one will rely solely on patterns and applied mathematics. We might need to borrow the term “Big Narrative” from Evgeny Morozov to understand what will be the challenge ahead of us. Big Narrative is an anthropological approach that seeks to explain why things are the way they are – a story driven way through Big Data sets. Hence, we must understand the underlying mechanisms that connect data and our behaviour. Data not seen through the lens of digital humanities is just noise. Other voices in my head are telling me; Ouch! 50 years from now, countries will fight over water resources and Europe will harder than ever try to close up its borders. Dark technology will be sexy! The way we eat, travel, buy and

spend our leisure time will be based on recommendations which are computerised based on previous patterns.

How do you perceive the influence of the new technologies to life in the future cities?

gordan → What we have right now are huge resources just at our fingertips. 3D printing, crowd-funding and the occupy movement are emerging battlefields influencing our abilities to share and distribute behaviours. But besides that, the challenge ahead will be how individuals or groups can take part in shaping their mediated urban environment. After all, we are the stakeholders of our everyday experience. The importance of maps will play a central role within this mediation. The way we eat, travel, buy and spend our leisure time will be based on recommendations which are computerised based on previous patterns. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just the question who will be in charge of orchestrating all that. carlos → Technology is a tool we use – I hope we don’t forget to always think and act as humanists above all. Cities are one of the best reminders of this since so many people have thrived and coexisted peacefully in them for thousands of years in many cases.

We can imagine a roboticized urbanism featuring robotic plazas, streets, urban furniture, infrastructure and even stadiums for new sports with robots.

p. 41

Parts of our cities may resemble an animatronic Disneyland or 1980’s Transformers – but more importantly, how


than ever, but this is also the dawn of an unusual era where radical technological innovations may outnumber us for better or for worse in at least a couple of ways. The first is that by 2014 there will be more activated mobile phones in the world than people. I see that as a great opportunity for citizens and the wide range of activities we like engage in – but too much of a good thing can be bad. In New York, I have noticed couples on dates over the course of a dinner not looking at each other but at their smartphones and I wonder if they were texting each other? Modern love. I see people sitting on the subway staring at their tablets, and not noticing a pregnant woman or elderly person in need of a seat. I’ve heard screaming breakup conversations by phone as I’m walking by a park. With this mobile communication we’re neither here nor there, and that’s making us somewhat insensitive to our surroundings or just rude at times. Technology is able to both improve and undermine our ways of thinking and socializing with each other and this will definitely be played out and experienced in our cities in the near future. The second aspect somewhat disturbs me and is informed by what Sherry Turkle calls the “Robotic Moment” and what may happen to us if we become cozy with the notion that robotic com-

panionship is just as good as human company. This is particularly worrisome as this age is set to spawn an intelligent zoology of robots including unmanned drones,sex robots, robo-cheetahs able to reach 50 km/h, flying insect-sized spybots and everything in between. If this wasn’t enough we’re also seeing that the internet will see explosive growth of Machine-to-Machine ( M2M ) and Internet of Things ( IoT ) networks with millions of nodes scattered worldwide. Soon enough, most of global internet traffic will consist of these devices. What are the implications of the Robotic Moment to the future of our cities and how we live them? In a way, the Smart City is a harbinger of the Robot City.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

The fact is that technology has always played a role in shaping urban life one way or another—we had to master agricultural tools and irrigation techniques before we could settle on a patch of land and build our first urban settlement a few thousand years ago. In the 21st century we are more urban

p. 42

good will quality of life, human condition and dignity be in this place for us? What will the social contract be between us and the technologies that run the state and the city?

What are the biggest issues and challenges for interaction design in an urban context?

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader


a quintessential Parisian, Hong Kong, Lagos interaction? ) Another set of challenges will be in the hands of municipal decision makers and how open or not they will be to innovation and experimentation in public spaces, considering post-9/11 policies. Will they adopt a top-down approach and pick who gets to introduce what or will they open the city to the hackers and makers to experiment? In New York, interaction designers and artists have been arrested for doing DIY art installations on the street without a permit.

Having said all of the above, I also think we can have urban interaction designs without computer mediation or technology

carlos → If we are strictly speaking of computer-mediated interactions, I see social or technological issues such as access ( physical and digital divide ), privacy or security fears, obsolescence, scalability and interoperability. But to me the more interesting challenges for urban interaction design may reside in seamlessly meeting perceptions or expectations that citizens of a particular place may have around context ( both cultural and geographical ) with a proposed interaction ( its relevance, functionality, usability, feedback and gratification ). Or in other words, contextualizing interactions to such a degree that their geographical, – for instance, human interactions physical and digital elements are indi- shaped by purely architectural means. visible and create unique urban experiences that will help you belong to and tobias → Cynically, I think proving itself form a sense of the city – rather than as non-frivolous. Some urban interacdetach you from it. That this urban feed- tion interventions either invent a new back may have local character would be problem to ‘solve’ or just act as a speca fine goal for both 21st-century place- tacle to distract from a real problem. The making and experience design ( is there problem is that to sell that design, the

can become a mobilised polity that can make things happen. carlos → Luckily this is all happening at the same time as the rise of the hacker  / maker and crowdsourcing. With more global broadband access, 3D printing, and easier-to-program electronics and robotics we are going to see a lot of design happening, from many different parts of the world representing a range of contexts, viewpoints and ideas.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

spectacle is a requirement. Most sources of funding require the spectacle as a precursor to handing over money for any kind of project. Tied with this, is proving it’s relevance. Europe is dominated by conservative austerity policy. Most initiative is preventative rather than innovative and involves restricting measures on granting power to the individual which is one of the most important things a design needs to function properly and morally.

How can design Societies should help society to adbe able to replicate, dress these issues?

p. 43

tobias → New funding and production streams like crowd-funding and 3D printing have the potential to offer a way out of this, where support for an idea can be built at a base by the people who genuinely need it most who previously would not have been able to act on it. Critical design also plays a role in awareness and engagement. If we can help people to read the world in a critical way and to move away form the major consensus narrative then the commons


gordan → I wouldn’t separate one from the other. Design and society are not separate things; they do not interact through a mediator where design helps society or society helps design. On the contrary, their causality is a constant feedback loop where designers, artists and engineers become actuators acting upon and within their subsequent modifications.

try out, choose and improve design solutions that best fit them.

p. 44 Interviews UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

What skills would a young designer or researcher need to work in this field in the future? 

carlos → The urban interaction design field will require cross-disciplinary skills or working in teams with people that have them. Knowledge of architecture and urbanism is a good foundation to understand cities. Some ethnographic research or observation techniques are helpful to understand citizen behaviors. Interaction design, prototyping and even fabrication skills are needed to test and get the user experience right. Finally, keeping up with technology is going to be a life-long process. tobias → Desperate enthusiasm and a confident critical mind. You need to spread your mind far and wide to understand the connections and implications that go into building the world. Every designed thing is the product of hundreds of years of history and will result in hundreds more. The better this is understood by a young designer the more consciously they will design. Talk to everyone, read everything, see everything, learn all you can about everything you’re not doing. And, cheesy though it is, you have to be determined not to “sell out” – not to turn your idea into another

corporate cash cow that reinforces the status quo. This is getting easier and easier to do which is why I think it’s a great time to have great ideas. gordan → The toolset of a computer-scientist combined with the critical mind of a philosopher and the work-enthusiasm of an architect mixed with a good sense for product design; all this blended together with a rock-solid understanding of robotics and well-educated in geo-historical and socio-political issues should be the hightlights of his / her CV. Fluent in Mandarin and / or Arabic is an asset.

Interaction Design, in an urban context, ( UrbanIxD ) is an increasingly important field of research. City populations are currently in a state of rapid flux. Conurbations are fast becoming a hybrid of the physical environment and the digital world. How we, as physical beings, will connect with, interpret and adapt this increasing dataflow residing in our cities is already becoming a significant research question.


UrbanIxD project partners are: • Dr Michael Smyth Edinburgh Napier University, UK • Dr Martin Brynskov University of Aarhus, Denmark • Gianluca Zaffiro Telecom Italia, Italy • Dr Ivica Mitrović University of Split, Croatia


p. 45

UrbanIxD is a Coordination Action project, running from 2013 – 2014, for the European Commission under the Future and Emerging Technologies programme. This Coordination Action will define a coherent multidisciplinary research community working in the domain of technologically augmented, data-rich urban environments, with particular focus on the human activities, experiences and behaviours that occur within them ( Interaction Design ). The project will employ a “Critical Design” methodology to explore social and technological issues that will be important to future FET research agendas. This Critical Design methodology will act as a catalyst for reflection and examination, leading to a high-profile public outreach programme, including an exhibition, and will enable the production of an informed Research Agenda output. This Agenda document will use the exploratory design activities carried out across the duration of the project to reflect upon emergent issues, and synthesise these into a focussed statement on future research directions.

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader

About the UrbanIxD project

This publication is the part of UrbanIxD: Designing Human Interactions in the Networked City is a Coordination Action project

funded by the European Commission under FP7 Future and Emerging Technologies (  FET Open  ). 2013 – 2014 Project Number: 323687

UrbanIxD Summer School Reader Publisher Department of Visual Communications Design, Arts Academy, University of Split ( Igor Čaljkušić ) Editorial Board Dr Ivica Mitrović, Dr Michael Smyth, Dr Martin Brynskov, Gianluca Zaffiro, Ingi Helgason, Oleg Šuran Editors Dr Ivica Mitrović & Dr Michael Smyth Photography Vicko Vidan Design and Layout Oleg Šuran Typography Marlene & Source Sans Pro Print Slobodna Dalmacija, Split http://www.urbanixdsummerschool.eu Split, August 2013 Additional Support Ministry of Culture and Ministry of Science, Education and Sport of the Republic of Croatia, University of Split, Arts Academy, Split