Facebook launched a feature called Places that allows its users to “check in” to Places and to see where their friends are. People can also see where the most popular venue is at any given time (provided they have friends there).
SeeClickFix has mobile apps (and a website) that enables users (in participating locales) to report issues (like graffiti and potholes) in their neighborhoods.
Augmented reality apps for smartphones overlay the virtual world (of yellow pages and restaurant reviews) on the physical world depending on where you point your phone’s camera.
Is there something (an app, a concept, a teaching) that we can develop that uses these apps or the same technology to raise awareness of “urban planning” in all of our cities’ citizens? Such a scheme would attempt to educate and involve more people into the city’s social, cultural and built environments, the urban fabric (buzzword alert!), as well as the history of their surroundings.
1. While riding the train through a neighborhood, the new location-based service that encompasses everything about urban planning might aggregate information relevant to the location and activity. Perhaps the application would display to the user information about the history of this particular elevated train’s construction on this branch as well as pull up information on upcoming schedule changes. Lastly, the transit operator may ask the user to take a survey about this particular trip, looking for information on how the user accessed the station (via bike, walking, car, or bus?).
2. My friend Brandon Souba created a proof-of-concept app called Handshake that tells you about nearby app users with similar interests. But this hardly raises civic or urban awareness. Maybe non-profit organizations who need volunteers could create profiles in Handshake and when you’re near a staff member or the headquarters, your phone alerts you to a possible volunteer opportunity.
3. What are your ideas?