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The Synthetic City 2023

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference - Academic



Here, we describe a project designed to explore how creative design methods can support the development of ethical policy for public space Internet of Things deployments. This work is also intended to support communication, collaboration and consultation with the public about what the imaginings, impacts and implications of sensors, data collection and new technology in urban spaces can be. In collaboration with local authorities at various urban locations around the UK with different scales and environments, we imagined a digital urban future in which we synthesised existing deployments with potential futures of emerging technology in public space.

We then designed, created and deployed physical artefacts from this imagined future into the here-and-now. Through walking workshops, we explored these synthetic cities and spaces with various stakeholders including place managers, digital specialists and local residents, by leading them on a guided tour of these deployments; real and fictional combined. This tangible, yet synthetic experience created a situated testbed based on creative methods. We also constructed
a synthetic city in a virtual space (Gathertown) for each urban location. These included abstracted elements to represent the key features of the geographic location and place. The synthetic elements which are both artifactual and virtual give participants space to imagine, explore and challenge data driven emerging technology and its impacts on places and spaces. These methods can be used to consult in a way which equally values technical expertise, lived experience and emotional response. This can then inform participatory policy for the transformation of cities. The goal is to support digitally augmented cities which are trustworthy, ethical and do not exclude or exploit their inhabitants and visitors.

Event (Conference)

TitleThe Synthetic City 2023
LocationDublin City University
Degree of recognitionInternational event