Carl DiSalvo

Interaction Design for Community Empowerment

In this presentation I will introduce the Neighborhood Networks project as a case study of interaction design for community empowerment. I will highlight the tactics we developed for engaging community members and enabling them to use emerging technologies to explore their neighborhood and design artifacts that communicate their desires and concerns.

The presentation will focus on three aspects of the project: the design of an accessible platform for environmental sensing and prototyping kinetically responsive objects, the development of an extensible participatory design curriculum for use with communities, and our efforts to produce public interaction design programs that are sustainable without the ongoing oversight of designers. Not all of our endeavors were successful and I will share the failings we encountered as learning opportunities for future projects. In addition to providing practical advice, the presentation will also contribute to the discussion of the role of interaction design in everyday civic life.


Carl DiSalvo is an Assistant Professor in the School of Literature, Communication and Culture at Georgia Tech where he conducts design research concerning the role of interaction design in the public sphere. He received his PhD in Design in 2006 from Carnegie Mellon University. Prior to academia, he worked as a designer for many years, most notably at MetaDesign (San Francisco) and as a design consultant to the Walker Art Center's New Media Initiative. He is also a co-founder of DeepLocal, a design and technology firm that produces location-based products and services that foster civic engagement.


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