Design for San Diego (D4SD)
Led by: Narges Mahyar
We partnered with leading local organizations to drive collaboration, innovation and impact. In collaboration with City of San Diego, SCALE SD, the Design Forward Alliance, and the National Science Foundation, we launched Design for San Diego (D4SD), an online platform to engage the public in solving San Diego’s mobility challenges. The challenge is open to anyone from students and senior citizens to entrepreneurs and designers. D4SD creates unique opportunities for the public, government, academia, and industry to collaboratively design innovative civic solutions through a mixed engagement approach. Our project goal was to provide an equal voice for everyone to collaborate with other city innovators to solve the most pressing mobility-related issues in San Diego. In addition, during Fall 2010 Narges Mahyar co-taught a course called Civic Design at UCSD, where she taught the human-centered design principles and provided students with guidance and feedback on their D4SD projects.
Led by: Narges Mahyar
CommunityCrit: Inviting the Public to Improve and Evaluate Urban Design Ideas through Micro-Activities, CHI 2018
While urban planning affects the public, most people do not have the time or expertise to participate in the process. CommunityCrit is an online platform that offers “micro-activities” to help community members make meaningful contributions without significant time commitment. In order to lower the barrier for the public, CommunityCrit reduces urban planning documentation into quickly consumable excerpts, and works on a variety of devices. Many online tools solicit public input, yet typically limit interaction to collecting complaints or early-stage ideas. CommunityCrit extends status quo by offering activities that engage community members in elaborating and evaluating urban design ideas, empowers them to contribute, and supports diverse levels of skills and availability.
Civic Data Deluge
Led by: Narges Mahyar
The Civic Data Deluge: Understanding the Challenges of Analyzing Large-Scale Community Input
Advancements in digital civics have enabled leaders to engage and gather input from a broader spectrum of the public. However, less is known about the analysis process around community input and the challenges faced by civic leaders as engagement practices scale up. To understand these challenges, we conducted 21 interviews with leaders on civic-oriented projects. We found that at a small-scale, civic leaders manage to facilitate sensemaking through collaborative or individual approaches. However, as civic leaders scale engagement practices to account for more diverse perspectives, making sense of the large quantity of qualitative data becomes a challenge. Civic leaders could benefit from training in qualitative data analysis and simple, scalable collaborative analysis tools that would help the community form a shared understanding. Drawing from these insights, we discuss opportunities for designing tools that could improve civic leaders’ ability to utilize and reflect public input in decisions.
Led by: Carolina Aragón, Mahmood Jasim, Narges Mahyar
RisingEMOTIONS: Bridging Art and Technology to Increase Public Engagement with Climate Change
RisingEMOTIONS is a collaborative art project that displayed projected flood levels and people’s emotions about sea-level rise in East Boston. The installation showed the elevation for the projected 1% annual chance flood for 2070 with colored ribbons to raise awareness about climate change. The colors represented people’s feelings and contained hand-written transcriptions of comments left by participants in an online survey. Over 150 people responded to the survey about their feelings related to the effects of sea level rise in East Boston. (http://risingemotions.cs.umass.edu/) These responses were color-coded and transcribed into ribbons to represent the feelings. The art project was on display in front of the East Boston Branch of the Boston Public Library. The opening celebration was attended by Speakers included State Representatives Sen. Adrian Madero and Sen. Joe Boncore, and climate scientists Dr. Paul Kirshen and Chris Watson from UMass Boston Sustainable Solutions Lab.