Revisited: "Count Me In - Walking & the City"

15 Dec, 2014

Revisited: "Count Me In - Walking & the City"

On Thursday, December 11th, the Berkeley Center for New Media, in partnership with Global Urban Humanities and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, hosted Count Me In: Walking and the City, a conference on infrastructures that increase foot traffic and make cities more appealing to live, move, and walk.

During Fall 2014, a team of 23 graduate students and two professors worked with the city of San Leandro to develop digital tools to improve the way city residents live, move, and walk together. The event explored the challenges cities face in improving civic life and encouraging urban mobility with San Leandro’s Mayor-Elect Pauline Cutter, City Manager Chris Zapata, and Chief Information Officer Debbie Acosta; The Civic Engine’s Rajiv Bhatia; and East Bay Regional Parks District’s Assistant Manager Jim O’Connor. San Leandro representatives highlighted how their new private-public collaborations have enabled them to look forward and tackle innovative ideas to increase mobility. Rajiv Bhatia focused on the importance of what and how we count, while Jim O’Connor highlighted some of the planning issues East Bay Parks have faced in response to great disparities in the places park-goers visit.

Student teams then presented their projects now installed in San Leandro.

Urban Heartbeat:
Urban Heartbeat created a light installed on a normal streetlight that changed color based on the number of people walking past. If people stopped or congregated in a group, the light changed color, inciting interest and interaction with the installation. The light also had an SD card installed to count the number of individuals who pass and note the times the thoroughfare is being used.
Team members included:
Yuxing Chen
Andrew Chong
Seongtaek Lim

Walk with Me:
Walk With Me is a series of lights installed on a bridge in San Leandro. As more individuals walk across the bridge, the lights begin to illuminate until finally, by the end of the day when night falls, the bridge is fully lit. Walk With Me aims to produce a sense of community as even if you’re walking alone at night, with the bridge illuminated you know that there have been many individuals who have followed this path earlier in the day.
Team members included:
Ann Elena Danis
Stephanie Liu
Lyndsey Ogle
Yina Dong

Underglow is an LED strip beneath a dark bridge in San Leandro. The strip is installed just beneath a mural above a green wall commonly used by taggers. The strip senses when people walk beneath it and lights up in a wave pattern. When many people use the space, the strip changes colors and rhythm, creating a light-show. Underglow hoped that this would increase visibility beneath the bridge, helping make the space safe, and also encourage more individuals to enjoy the park area.
Team members included:
William Payne
Timothy Hiu Chung Wai
Yinuo Wang

Pablo Paredes and Laura Devendorf served as Graduate Student Instructors for the course. Greg Niemeyer (BCNM) and Ron Rael (CED) served as the faculty instructors.

The course was sponsored by the Global Urban Humanities Initiative, a joint venture between the UC Berkeley Arts & Humanities Division of the College of Letters & Science and the College of Environmental Design. GloUH brings together scholars and practitioners from across disciplines to develop new theoretical paradigms, research methods, and pedagogical approaches in order to help address the complex problems facing today’s global cities and regions. Susan Moffat, Director of GloUH was on hand to discuss the program, as well as Board Members Dean Tony Cascardi and Dean Jen Wolch.

Count Me In 2014