Interactive Placemaking: Creativity and User Experience at Urban Installations

Mathew, Anijo Punnen (2014). Interactive Placemaking: Creativity and User Experience at Urban Installations. PhD thesis The Open University.

Abstract

Interactive placemaking offers many new opportunities for the consideration and design of urban place, particularly through offering engagement with the creativity and experiences of local populations. This thesis explores the recent area of interactive placemaking from analytical and creative perspectives in developing a framework for both describing behaviours and producing design guidelines.

The thesis begins by drawing together and building on existing work in HCI and Design to provide an initial framework for the analysis of interactive place. The framework combines theoretical and practical threads to look at two central questions: how do people behave in interactive places, and how do we design such interactive places? The assumption underlying the thesis is that users' behaviours in public spaces can be observed, abstracted, and formalised to the extent that designers can use in designing and evaluating interactive public installations.

In observational studies of four interactive installations the thesis progressively develops the original framework so that it is usable, accessible and understandable by designers. The thesis then goes on to evaluate how twenty design students used the framework to realise a number of public interactive installations in the city of Chicago. The thesis concludes by combining insights from existing research and insights from the studies conducted to present a comprehensive and robust framework structure. The main contribution of the thesis is thus a new generative and evaluative framework for interactive placemaking.

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