Carl DiSalvo, Illah Nourbakhsh, Marti Louw, David Holstius, Dan Letson, Ayca Akin, Maryann Steiner, Julina Coupland, and Kevin Crowley
The Neighborhood Networks project was a series of public participatory design workshops that provided opportunities for neighborhood residents to engage in the creative exploration and application of robotics and sensing technologies in the context of neighborhood activism. These workshops were held from 2007 to 2010 in Pittsburgh, PA.
Lawrenceville, Summer 2007
The Lawrenceville Project was the first of the Neighborhood Networks programs and focused on the Lawrenceville neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Through the program, approximately 14 residents met one evening a week for seven weeks during the summer of 2007 at the Stephen Foster Community Center to explore how sensing and robotic technologies might be applied to issues and conditions in their neighborhood. Activities included participatory environmental sensing and mapping of the neighborhood, the construction of working prototypes of robotic devices by participants, and the presentation of these concepts back to other neighborhood residents and local politicians.
Braddock Fall/Winter 2007
The second Neighborhood Networks project took place in Braddock, PA (a city on the outskirts of Pittsburgh). In this project we worked with youth to explore how online media technologies and the GigaPan system (a robotic camera and sharing site) could be used to tell stories, document issues, and creatively express the identity of the Braddock neighborhood and its multiple communities. Activities included photo-documentation of the neighborhood using the GigaPan platform and the construction of a series of interactive and print panoramas.
Braddock Summer 2008-Spring 2010
The third Neighborhood Networks again took place in Braddock, PA. In this workshop we collaborated with leaders of community organizations, neighborhood business owners, and a local air quality advocacy organization. Activities included participatory environmental sensing and mapping of the neighborhood, participatory design workshops and the construction of working prototypes of robotic devices for displaying air quality levels, public presentations of concepts, and the collaborative development of a concept for a sensor-based radio station that would broadcast radio programming based upon sensed traffic levels in the neighborhood.