10 Jul 2015 Measuring emotion with Summer Scouts

The cities we live in are complex systems. To assure that these systems keep running smooth we already measure multiple things from our transport system to air pollution and demographic changes. But with our ever growing urban landscapes we are facing new challenges to keep them at the same time highly functioning yet liveable.Can we make cities smarter so they are able to adapt, react and ensure the well-being of its citizens?

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With this project design students Johanna Pichlbauer and Mia Meusburger take a look at the smart city from a completely different angle: Summer Scouts measure emotion. They believe that in the future

“the smart city optimises our routes, manages the distribution of resources and makes life more comfortable for its citizens”,which left them wonder if and how this city would measure elements of well-being inside its urban structure.

Although Summer Scouts is only a conceptual project, the idea of measuring well-being besides more technical data sounds very intriguing. Adapting the concept to a different range of questions could open up new concepts for city development. What if instead of detecting that summer has arrived the sensors were able to detect stress levels at traffic intersections, the amount of foot traffic in certain areas, determine movement patterns of different demographic groups or even enable cities to test urban structures and determine their benefit prior to construction.

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At this moment liveability of a city and thus well-being of its inhabitants is measured through annual surveys. These take a variety of criteria into account from safety to health car, culture to public transport and recreation. Imagine smart city sensors that could collect data in real time, generating not only a city survey but also enabling you to zoom into different neighbourhoods.

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And one more random thought: Can we please make all sensor data collecting robots look as adorable as the Summer Scout group?

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