Since the start of the semester I’ve been reading Smart Cities by Anthony Townsend and this quote resonated with me:

Jane Jacob’s treatise of good urbanism, The Life and Death of Great American Cities, was a love letter to New York City’s Greenwich Village…

I think this is because the idea of writing a love letter to New York—or to cities—resonates with me as a direction for my thesis. I’m also trying new approaches to my research, which I’ll be adding to this post (9.13).

I have also read John Sharp’s Design Values blog post. I found this reading extremely useful in helping me frame my thesis in clearer, more tangible ways. The following are some initial design values I want to convey into my work.

Reflection: Visualize something that was invisible before
This is a somewhat difficult value to transfer into my piece. However, it mainly touches the data visualization aspect of my work. A core goal of my project will be to explore and visualize data that would otherwise be invisible or go unnoticed.

Point of View: A love letter to cities
As I mentioned above, this idea keeps floating around my head. I have lived in cities all my life and I feel a connection with each one (Bogota and New York). As an urban animal, I’d like to instill this love, amazement and curiosity for cities into my project. The question that still lingers here is how?

Challenge: Critical and subversive, in a good way
One of the challenges I wish to accomplish is to be critical of current systems or create a subversive application (or civic hacking) that cheats the system.

Decision-making: Give the viewer ownership/power/agency over data
Through my project I’d like for the viewer/user to have better appreciation, knowledge or agency over their data. Just like some humans are somewhat afraid of new technology, I feel like some of us are afraid of data. Because of this we either ignore it or dismiss it. I’d like to change that and give people more knowledge around how their data is used in the world today and will be in the future.

Context: Web or Industrial Design Piece
Right now I’m aiming for my project to live in the web or as a piece of industrial design. This is because I want my project to be accessible online, but also because I want this to be an individual experience rather than a group experience. That being said, I’d also like the user/viewer to see themselves as part of a whole. As part of a system or as part of the city itself.