June 30, 2005

Urban Tapestries Analogue Interfaces

Over the last three years of research on Urban Tapestries and Social Tapestries we've been grappling with the problem of how the knowledge contributed to a public authoring system would reach people who didn't have the kinds of emerging mobile technologies that we were specifically investigating.

As we worked with people from different walks of life, age groups and social and economic backgrounds it became clear that there are many reasons why people will or will not adopt certain technologies. Perhaps because they can't be bothered, or cannot for economic reasons; or are comfortable with other technologies (television, teletext etc)...

As Social Tapestries starts to work with some specific communities we've begun to address these directly, planning and building into the next generation of the Urban Tapestries software platform the capability to respond to some of these possibilties.

Two we are particularly pleased to share are print-based. In thinking about the structure of Urban Tapestries the Pockets and Threads we drew parrallels with existing real world media: postcards and posters. Our plan is to integrate a PDF engine (similar to the work we are doing on another Proboscis project, the DIFFUSION eBook Generator) to allow people to create PDFs that can print off pockets as postcards (A6), and threads as posters (A3)...

The sorts of things we think these postcards and posters could be used for include:
direct distribution within the community to make local knowledge more widely accessible
posting them to friends and relatives
displaying them on community noticeboards or in shop windows
as a tool for political activism, e.g. sending them to a local councillor or MP

Posted by Giles Lane at June 30, 2005 11:34 PM