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Urban Score: Measuring Your Relationship with the City

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journal contribution
posted on 01.05.2007, 00:00 by Eric Paulos, Ian Smith, Ben Hooker
In this paper, we introduce a new ambient display, personal steganography, and the concept of the urban score. Strictly speaking, the ambient display itself is a particular rendering of a value of the same name. As we will explain, the two are intricately linked. This ambient display does not convey stock prices, bus schedules, remind you to buy milk, or any other such useful bits; it gives the user a feeling--perhaps even just a hint--about their connection to the city they are walking in and its other inhabitants. Rather, we want to argue that there is another task of interest that, while it shares some constraints with Google's widgets in Figure 1, opens up a different and important design territory. This task is more closely related to exploring a new city or “neighborhood, walking into a restaurant or bar to "see what it's like”, or chatting with a friend about local political events. The task is feeling the pulse of a city. The idea of the urban score is that somehow measures and conveys that pulse.