While urban hiking through your neighborhood, have you ever fantasized about redesigning that vacant lot or the dilapidated building you see every day?
When designer, artist, and TED Fellow Candy Chang noticed her New Orleans neighborhood still didn’t have a full service grocery store, she launched the I Wish This Was project. It’s an opportunity for communities to start voicing their neighborhood vision using fill-in-the-blank interactive stickers (you can find one in this issue of design mind). Local New Orleans shops and cafes stock the stickers for free, providing a low-tech tool for civic engagement, and Chang is starting to see them plastered on abandoned buildings around town. The write-in responses range from the playful (“I Wish This Was … Disneyland”) to the pragmatic (“I Wish this Was … a bike rack or art space”).
The project has been successful enough to spur Chang to launch a digital version called Neighborland, which is an effort to connect citizens with urban planners to crowd-source ideas on local redevelopment in New Orleans.
The adoption of ubiquitous computing, mobile devices, and rich sources of data are changing how we live, work, and play in urban environments. Increasingly, a digital landscape overlays our physical world and is expanding to offer ever-richer experiences that augment—and in some cases, replace—the physical experience: “The city is the platform, the network, the sensors, and the interface,” as frog creative director Rob McIntosh put it in a recent talk. To celebrate the New Cities Summit where frog hosted a workshop on the Meta-City, design mind presents a special digital issue exclusively on the future of the city and live coverage from the event.