Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Capturing, Exploring and Sharing People's Emotional Bond with Places in the City using Emotion Maps

Stals, Shenando; Smyth, Michael; Mival, Oli


Shenando Stals


The vision of ubiqitous computing is becoming increasingly realized through smart city solutions. With the proliferation of smartphones and smartwatches, alongside the rise of the quantified-self movement, a new technological layer is being added to the urban environment. This framework offers the possibility to capture, track, measure, visualize, and augment our experience of the urban environment. However, to that end, there is a growing need to better understand the triangular relationship between person, place, and technology. Urban HCI studies are increasingly focused on emotion and affect in order to create a better understanding of people's experience of the city, and investigate how technology could potentially play a role in augmenting this lived urban experience. For one example, artist Christian Nold used wearable technology to measure people's arousal levels as they walked freely through the urban environment, identifying locations in the city that evoked an emotional response from people. After these walks, people's arousal levels were superimposed on a map of the city and participants were asked to interpret their own data, resulting in aggregated, fully annotated, and beautifully visualized emotion maps of the city. Based on a systematic review of emotions maps in existing literature, this paper discusses the strengths, limitations and potential of capturing, representing, exploring and sharing this personal, geo-located emotion data with other people using emotion maps. This is part of a PhD project which seeks to understand how people's experiences of places in the urban environment are meaningful to them on a personal level. Although our analysis seems to indicate that emotion maps in their current form are only of limited efficacy in accurately capturing, representing and communicating the profound, complex emotional bond that people have with personally meaningful places in the city, there appears to be potential for the use of emotion maps as a provocation in a speculative design approach.


Stals, S., Smyth, M., & Mival, O. (2018). Capturing, Exploring and Sharing People's Emotional Bond with Places in the City using Emotion Maps. Airea: Arts and Interdisciplinary Research, 1, 47-62.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 18, 2018
Deposit Date Nov 29, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 29, 2019
Journal Airea: Arts and Interdisciplinary Research
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 1
Pages 47-62
Keywords Urban Interaction Design; Emotion; Affect; Emotion maps; Place attachment; Place meaning; Placemaking; Quantified Self; Personal Informatics; Walking interviews; Walking & Talking method; Speculative Design
Public URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations