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Ingi Helgason <[log in to unmask]>
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Ingi Helgason <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 30 Apr 2010 16:58:56 +0100
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informing the design of the future urban landscape


Workshop :: 17th August :: DIS2010 :: Aarhus, Denmark

Workshop website ::


It is envisaged that the urban spaces of the future will be saturated  
with both visible 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 forms in which this data will be presented,  
and how we decide to conceptualise it, is as yet unknown. Will the  
technologically enriched environment adapt to accommodate human/city  
contact points, and, in response, how will we choose to interact with  
and navigate through, this information landscape?
This workshop will identify emerging design themes by bringing  
together practitioners and researchers from across disciplines.  
Participants in the workshop will collaborate in a practical exercise  
designed to reveal issues that will increasingly impact upon the  
design of the products and services that will populate the urban  
landscape in the near future. The outcome of this workshop will be the  
identification of challenges that designers and technologists will  
have to address as they shape the media-rich urban landscape. It is  
hoped that this workshop would form the basis of a new collaborative  
network with the aim of taking this technological design research  
agenda further.


Participation and selection
As the aim of this workshop is to generate discussion and to  
collaboratively identify design issues, we would like to encourage  
attendance from a mix of people at different career stages, both  
creative practitioners and academic researchers. As  
interdisciplinarity is an important feature of this workshop,  
participants from a range of backgrounds in the fields of technology  
and creative design are welcome to attend.

Selection of participants will be made on the basis of individuals’  
interest in the topic, as well as an overall balance of skills and  
backgrounds in order that participants can gain from the collaborative  
experience. If you would like to participate, please reply, including  
some information about yourself, on the workshop website :: 
  by 4th June. You will be notified of your acceptance to participate  
in the workshop by 25th June.


Background & Approach

Today’s urban experience is enhanced by technology that increasingly  
enables simultaneous existence in both the virtual and real worlds.  
Such technology offers a number of bridges between these worlds but in  
so doing places an increased tension on the sense of place and  
subsequently the identity of the individual. Identity has many  
components that have to be woven in our everyday lives. It is  
postulated that in order to cope with the demands of our society,  
people must be capable of switching between identities actively and  
quickly while stitching these different identities in place (Hall,  
Humans have always been in constant engagement with their  
surroundings, often without being consciously aware of the process or  
nature of this interaction. By investigating the activities that  
currently take place in this liminal space we may be able to identify  
important themes and issues. Taking inspiration from ethnographic  
design research methods, the workshop will take an experimental  
approach to the recording of these human activities. By using the  
everyday technologies that people have to hand, the participants in  
the workshop will be provided with a new perspective on the  
traditional techniques that designers have employed, such as the  
creation of scrapbooks, mood boards and sketches. It is envisaged this  
approach will widen opportunities for participation in the design  
process. These can assist the technologists and designers of the  
future as they work to shape physical and virtual environments in such  
a way that they can be made sense of and manipulated.


Research questions
The workshop will seek to address questions such as: What form will  
the information landscape take? How will people adapt their behaviours  
and indeed how will the nature of the urban landscape alter as  
increased amounts of information is overlaid on the physical  
environment? What new products and services will be available given  
the increase of targeted information aimed at specific communities and  
interest groups? Will this result in an increase in segmentation and  
fragmentation associated with the urban experience leading to the  
possibility of the creation of multiple experiences of the same  
physical space. What will inform the visual aesthetic of the future  
information landscape?

The workshop will seek to explore the ‘bleed points’ where the  
physical and virtual worlds connect or indeed, disconnect. Examples  
will be drawn from advertising and product design (art works).  
Furthermore the workshop will focus on the small ideas that underpin  
the ‘big questions’ that too often overwhelm researchers. Indeed,  
it has been said that the ‘devil is in the detail’, subsequently  
the workshop will invite participants to adopt an attitude of  
curiosity as they seek to unpack the nature of peoples’ rituals,  
habits and priorities, focusing, in particular, on the potential for  
behaviour associated with existing technologies.


Workshop organisers
Michael Smyth & Ingi Helgason, Centre for Interaction Design,  
Edinburgh Napier University Edinburgh, UK

As the background of the organisers is in the field of Interaction  
Design, they have a research interest in how personal technologies are  
used and appropriated to record and share thoughts, times and places.  
Therefore, while this workshop uses technology in its delivery, it is  
an important factor in this experience that the technologies should be  
those that the participants carry with them (i.e. mundane) in their  
everyday lives.


For more information please contact Ingi Helgason :: [log in to unmask]
The DIS conference addresses design as an integrated activity spanning  
technical, social, cognitive, organisational, and cultural factors.

Workshop website ::


Edinburgh Napier University - one of the top 10 universities in the UK for graduate employability (HESA 2009) and proud winners of the Queen's Anniversary Prizes for Higher and Further Education 2009, awarded for innovative housing construction for environmental benefit and quality of life.

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