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Mobile Application for Enhancing the Human Interaction in Smart City

Technology has advanced in leaps and abounds since it is humble begins with landlines and dial-up Internet, especially in relation to new and innovative smart city applications. For example, smart cities are changing the way in which we interact with the Internet especially in third places (a third place is a place that people go to other than their home or typical place of work). A study concerning the use of Wi-Fi in public and semi-public spaces was conducted in four coffee shops around Boston, MA and Seattle WA. The coffee shops varied in environmental characteristics such as the clientele, location, and overall atmosphere.


The study showed that people were either “True Mobiles” or “Place-makers”. True Mobiles use technology as a buffer from unwarranted physical interaction as it is their sole purpose is to work, they want to be in a social setting but not socialize. They employ “portable involvement shields” which would be a laptop, tablet, kinder, etc. and use the coffee shop as a peripheral entity. Placemakers are on the other end of the social technology spectrum as their sole purpose is to see and be seen. They use technology as a tool to invite moments of social interaction. Their use of virtual applications and other interactive platforms advertise their availability to socialize (Hampton, K. N., & Gupta, N., 2008).

The “new Internet is slowing people to interact on a global scale, 24/7 365. Human interaction is rapidly becoming accustomed to an instantaneous interactive network that is unfortunately heavily reliant on using some form of a technological tool. The balance between people and technology needs to be dealt with delicately especially when designing a smart city. It is in our nature to seek out other people, therefore a city would not be a city without the fundamentals of basic human interaction. Smart cities are enhancing the tools and environments that we use to interact in public spaces and cities via smart technology to shape a better tomorrow.

Human Interaction

A city encompasses an assortment of nodes that a human can interact with, but it is through wayfinding that humans can select optimal nodes to interact with. Sub categories exist within wayfinding; transportation, visual interrupters, designed interrupters, media, human interactions, and health effects. Each of these subcategories is driving attractors describing how one begins to interact with or is attracted to a particular node over another. As the concept of smart cities is applied to wayfinding, various alterations and effects can begin to emerge. Transportation in smart cities streamlines existing methods in order to help people navigate public transportation. Dynamic signage in smart cities will improve both pedestrian and commuter efficiency with adaptive information that corresponds to their needs, giving commuters real-time information, saving individual’s time, increasing their safety, and overcoming daily distress. With an emphasis on walkability, a smart city bridges the gap between individuals; integrating local knowledge of landmarks to better expose users to their community. Through a variety of each of these methods, wayfinding is enhanced at the human scale exposing interruption nodes within the smart cities infrastructure.

Data- Driven Design For Urban Metabolism 


Data- Driven Design For Urban Ecotones

Eco-tones are boundary areas that divide a habitat. They are areas of tension and transition. They can be found within a natural setting or a man-made one within a city. They appear in a variety of shapes and sizes. They can be linear and sharp-edged in nature or amorphous with a soft and gradual blending to their shape. Some are effective as boundaries, while others are not. They are formed both naturally by divisions within nature as well as by man with divisions created within cities through the built environment.


An urban ecotone is the blending of the characteristics of two adjacent urban ecosystems. This includes elements of both bordering communities as well as the people which are characteristic and restricted to the ecotone. To evaluate an ecotone, you can first start with developing categories that are broad in nature while still providing defining characteristics. The categories for an urban ecotone begin with six separate sectors; Accessibility, geography, amenities, culture, economic diversity, and history. These categories were developed from a prior list created and researched by Jane Jacobs. From there, each sector is divided into more specific sectors to better define the category at large. Once the subcategories are defined, the area in the case is evaluated on a 1-5 scale determining presence. 1 is very little presence and 5 being a strong presence

Data- Driven Design For Health and Well-Being

Well-being encompasses how we think about and experience our lives, in communities with higher well-being, we have found that people live longer, happier lives, and business and local economies flourish. The left graphic represents the ranks of the top 10 highest and lowest states in the well-being category. The right graphic represents the ranks of the 10 highest and lowest communities. The data is from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, with over 2.1 million surveys. This analysis reports American’s perceptions of their well-being across 5 essential elements: sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security, relationship to the community, and physical health. We selected 6 cities, 4 high and 2 low, to challenge these rankings by researching new parameters that, we believe, make for a successful healthy city.

Smart City Application

Credit to: Design & Augmented Intelligence Lab and IDR Studios 

Research Team: Credited to: Saleh Kalantari, Judy Theodorson, Steve Austin, Darrin Griechen

Year: 2014

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