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UrbanIxD: Exploring human interactions for the hybrid city

Stals, Shenandoah Leonardus Anna


Shenandoah Leonardus Anna Stals


With the vision of ubiquitous computing becoming increasingly realised, a need is identified to create a better understanding of the relationship between person, place, and technology in the urban environment. The aim of this research in the field of Urban Interaction Design is to investigate how people’s emotional person-place relationships with personally meaningful places in their city of residence, can inform the design of technological devices and services that augment this urban lived experience in the hybrid city of the near future.

Based on insights from social science studies of place attachment and research focusing on technology mediating the emotional experience of and in the urban environment, a holistic, human-centred bottom-up approach is taken. It investigates the full range of experiences-in-place and emotions from which emotional person-place relationships in the city develop. Using a three-staged, multimethod approach consisting of a Walking & Talking interview and two sedentary interviews with (speculative) evaluative map techniques, 45 emotional person-place relationships of eight residents of Edinburgh are investigated. This resulted in a taxonomy of 16 types of emotional experience-in-place, and identified potential for capturing, representing, consuming, and sharing emotional person-place relationship data based on different types of positive and negative emotional experience-in-place, different types of representations and sensorial experiences, the closeness of social relationships and shared interests, and to support the self-regulation of emotions.

These main findings informed the design of a suite of three speculative design fictions in the form of two short films and a comic, to further explore this design space. These authentic, personally relevant, and provocative conversation pieces successfully engaged residents of Edinburgh in three focus groups on a human, personal level in an informed discussion, enabling critical reflection on current practices and interactions, and speculation about possible future scenarios for this unfamiliar design space.

This contributed to a set of design guidelines for emotional experience-in-place. It serves as a framework for urban interaction designers to understand the context of, identify potential for, and inform the design of technological devices and services that leverage emotional person-place relationships in the hybrid city of the near future.

Thesis Type Thesis
Deposit Date Nov 28, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 28, 2022
Public URL
Award Date Jul 7, 2022


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