Thesis Weeknotes 00 [starting points]

So, onto the thesis. We’re on our own now. And, no pressure: this is, we are told, the project where we get to define ourselves.
No pressure? eek!

We had our midterm exams, where we had the opportunity to reflect on the year, project, work, and learnings so far, and to start a conversation about where we were thinking of taking the thesis, and get feedback from the CIID faculty and also from external advisors, Gitte and Niels, both ex-IDEO and now in Copenhagen at ReD and Designit, respectively.

And so, onto my thesis, or final project, at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design. Here goes!

As a basic starting point, I’m interested in exploring the overlap between the emergence of ubiquitous computing, and the city and urban environment, and the opportunities for taking a design lens at the opportunities for services that evolve out of that combination. There are huge bodies of work on both areas – ubicomp from a technological and computer science perspective over the last 20/30 years (with some more social-science work more recently, as it has moved out of research labs into the world), while urbanism has been a field of study for most of the 20th century, primarily from architectural and sociology angles. Urban computing as a field of study fits in there somewhere, too.

I’m not completely sure of how it all crystalises into a design project yet, but I’m working on it. I’m hoping to combine the more systemic thinking inherent in service design with some aspect of craft and tangibility, drawing from my background in industrial design. Micro and macro, if you will.

Rather than write long descriptions of my thoughts, or try to make any structured sense of it all at this early stage, I’m just going to make a list of the things I’ve been thinking and reading about in the first week of the project. What I have as a start is broad – almost infinately so – and I know that my first major challenge will be to define some constraints and find that one little seed from which the rest of my project can grow. But for now, I’m trying to soak up as much as I can, to give myself a general understanding of what has been done, and fill some of the gaps my more haphazard reading over the last couple of years has left.

If nothing else, this should give a feel for the mess in my brain at the moment – with overlaps, repetitions, gaps, and tangents all part of the deal.


ubiquitous computing, ubicomp, internet of things, pervasive computing, everyware

mobile computing

infrastructure – digital, physical, static, dynamic

the points where infrastructure is exposed.





networking, networked objects

nearlynet, permanet

system failure

touch, RFID

the city

city as platform


urban planning

urban sociology


security, privacy


data – open data, APIs

homogeneity, heterogeneity, difference

transport, mobility, systems,

the mundane

designed vs not designed objects

maps and territories

barriers, borders, edges

industrial design in an urban context

combining service design with tangible product/industrial design

focusing on something small and exploring the consequences

and more…

"Get Excited", by Matt Jones

I’m excited by what it could become. Now I just need to figure out what exactly that is. 3 months seems ridiculously long… until you start counting the weeks, discounting the ones already taken (two industry projects, my recently booked trip to San Francisco in July, etc) – and then it seems frighteningly short. So. back to reading, thinking, making. But faster than before.

And always remembering to strike a balance between the two posters above my head in the studio, reminding me to Keep Calm and Carry On … and Get Excited and Make Things.

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