Final Project: Homesticker

map

Abstract: Displacement of residents is a growing problem in many communities in the Boston area. However, this crisis in the making remains mostly unknown, partially owing to the fact that those impacted are often low-income immigrants whose primary language is one other than English. To counter both the lack of attention as well as the anti-immigrant sentiment that buoys displacement, we propose an interactive mobile installation that allows residents of neighborhoods to label locations that they consider to be their homes, giving a face to the victims of displacement and also demonstrating the problem’s magnitude.

Presentation link

Case study link

 

Interview with Lydia Edwards, Deputy Director of the Boston Office of Housing Stability

lydia edwards featured pic

https://www.dropbox.com/s/u9bizp06n14a1ah/interview%20lydia%20edwards_01.mp3?dl=0

Lydia Edwards is the Deputy Director of the Boston Office of Housing Stability, the first of its kind in the US. I first met Lydia at a Cambridge Residents Alliance event last Sunday, where she discussed her office’s purpose and the programs they have developed, including tax credit incentives for landlords to keep rents at affordable prices, a resolution in the works that would require just cause for evictions, and manuals for both tenants and landlords on their rights and the resources available to them. I was able to get a short interview with her during lunch – she has been very busy since she is taking a leave of absence to run for city council starting tomorrow.

Lydia has an interesting take on gentrification and displacement because of her legal background and her experience as a landlord herself. She believes that both tenants and landlords must be at the table in discussions of displacement. She describes gentrification as a market force that should not be used synonymously with displacement, and believes that it is actually possible for a neighborhood to be gentrified without displacing the existing communities if the community is invested in equally. Lydia and her office are both deeply involved with existing community organizations, such as Vida Urbana and the Cambridge Residents Alliance. Lydia goes to Vida Urbana meetings on a monthly basis to get suggestions for resources to work on.

When I asked her about her opinions on MIT’s influence on Cambridge land and housing, she emphasized that while universities are a big part of the Cambridge/Boston culture and a big part of this area’s “draw,” universities should build more dormitories so that students are not over-saturating and competing people in the housing market, rather than using marketing tools and community liaisons like the Volpe center.

Unfortunately, her PR representative had me cut the microphone before the interview was complete, but her biggest dream for 2030 is to be a mother and to see Boston’s housing market reflect an economically diverse community.

Project ARt

Project: ARt

By Adesewa Adelekun, Christina Y He, Jacquelyn Liu, Carolyn McKenzie

Context

Salvador Jiménez-Flores and Urbano worked together to develop an interactive, multi-purpose, movable sculpture titled  “¿Cuándo y Dónde?”, or “when and where.” The sculpture was designed to be multi-purpose engaging the community through performance, social interventions and youth-led workshops. In its next iteration the nomadic sculpture will be exploring ways to integrate audio into continued mission of collaborative and interactive artwork from and for the Eggleston community.

http://urbanoproject.org/civic-sculpture

We propose blending Cuando y Donde with Augmented reality to create ARt.

Augmented Reality gives us the opportunity to bring components of the digital world into the user’s perceived reality. 3D models, images audio and videos can overlay the user’s view of the world in real time. This allows both the media and the physical space to become interactive and malleable.

We prototype our AR idea with with 30 second clips and visual representations of our interviews.

Approach

AR allows for sharing and discovering experiences particular to a place and time. Using AR, we can create a way for Urbano students and locals to audio-record their stories or thoughts in response to a prompt. The recording is stored on a server, associated with an image of their choosing (or of their making), accessible through an AR interface. That image is printed as a sticker and tagged. They leave the “AR studio” box with stickers to place on the map or distribute wherever they wish around the neighborhood or city

The project will culminate in a geographical map of the Boston area, presented as a poster that can be posted on the outside surface of the AR studio or just hung up around town.

AR interface: scanning these elements on the map using a smartphone camera to unlock details about the interviews

  • Mp4 audio clips

  • Images

  • Information about the interviewee

Challenges & Lessons

Limitations of software

  • Confined to widgets

  • Clunky and made for marketing (not using it for marketing)

  • Freemium

 

We recognized a general lack of tools for non-experts to work with AR.

Confining a full interview to 30secs was difficult in terms of staying true to the fullness of the story vs. working to the attention span of your audience. However, we somewhat ameliorate this by adding links to resources for additional information. There is definitely a treasure-hunt-ish aspect to this.

 

Next Steps

 

  • Test print stickers of scannable elements and research ways to do this

  • Create a range of simple sticker graphics, which members of the Urbano community could use as Layar elements, containing their own content (audio recording, links, images etc.)

  • Explore logistics of creating an AR creator space in the Urbano box:

    • A mini recording studio? Can participants design their own sticker?

    • Drawings on sticker paper (more accessible, but can not produce many of the same sticker since it’s handmade) vs. digitally designing the printer and sticking (requires design software and printer but people can make multiple of the same sticker so they can put one on the Urbano map and stick others wherever they like

Companion website?

 

Class Feedback

Feedback:

- Perhaps integration with Vojo

 - Is it important to teach viewers to use Layar authoring environment or simply participate through listening, storytelling, etc.? Some classmates suggest QR instead.

 - How is it discoverable without a label? How would folks know to download Layar? What happens when Layar goes out of business? – Maybe QR code with link to download app / open within app if installed

 - Don’t want the project to be an ad for Layar (not a perfect tool). QR codes / website might be a way to increase access to those with internet but not smartphones

 - What’s the value added by doing this? It seems to be a way of tagging content rather than AR. Does it make more sense to embed QR code into other design elements? — but then Layar is worth trying out because there’s something interesting about your smartphone recognizing a shape. It’s hard to explain the user experience verbally, but it is kind of like a treasure hunt.

 - What would the process be to create your own sticker?  Layar offers the possibility to draw a sticker (vs print) and scan the object. People can participate in the creation of stickers that would then get pasted on computers, maps, etc.

You can either design the sticker digitally and print it (would require a sticker printer) or let participants draw stickers on sticker paper first, then scanned into Layar. (It was also suggested to use a QR sticker that people can draw AROUND but this might take away from the artistic/aesthetic aspect of our project.)

 - Do you need to pay to publish the Layar project?

YES. Apparently there used to be free publishing, but this feature has been removed. Individual pages are about four USD. This is what it says on the Layar site FAQ:

“Yes, there is no longer a method for free publication. New users are given 2 free Basic pages at sign-up as a way to test the Layar Creator. However, we do still offer discounts for students, teachers, schools, charities and other non-profit organizations.”

There is a way of testing out the AR capabilities when you’re editing, and I think Layar will only recognize the poster if you have it pulled up in “editing” mode on some computer. I’m assuming there is some kind of time-out that happens once you are not editing mode, where it will stop recognizing the poster.

 Presentation

Interview with Julia Leslie: People of Maine Win Universal Healthcare

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Julia Leslie is a sophomore at Wellesley College potentially majoring in French and Political Science. In her first year, she joined the Wellesley SLAP (student labor action project) chapter. At the time, Wellesley was one of the last college campuses in the nation that still did not compensate student RAs and house presidents, and one of SLAP’s biggest goals was to fix this. After a few years of constant dialogue with administration, this school year, our RAs and HPs are paid – including Leslie herself, who is a RA this year. But, that doesn’t mean SLAP no longer has a purpose. SLAP’s wider goal is to address issues of financial accessibility, encouraging on-campus discussions of class and continuing to work with the administration for things like securing on-campus jobs for work-study students.

Leslie also works with a non-constituted (does not receive funding from the college) on-campus org that aims to provide leadership, communication, and community organization skills training under the model of Harvard professor, Marshall Ganz. Non-constituted orgs are usually not as well known as their college-endorsed counterparts, so this was my first time hearing about it. She is also seeking deeper involvement in Wellesley Raiz, a latinx org that has been a key on-campus presence post-election.

Leslie believes that most people become involved in activist work related to their personal, lived experiences. For her big victory in 2030, she wishes for universal healthcare for all people of Maine, including children and undocumented immigrants. She said she would have perhaps gone to law school before returning to Maine, her home state, which she describes as being very politically divided and currently led by an extremely conservative governor. She also expressed interested in public school education reform.

NYT alteration

About Christina!

Howdy folks!

My name is Christina, and I’m a junior studio art and biology student at Wellesley College. Outside of class time, I research reproductive biology at Whitehead and organize social and educational events for the Chinese Student’s Association and (BC)^2, the biochemistry and biology club. I’m looking forward to learning about more inclusive and varied approaches to activism, especially those with an artistic spin, this semester in the co-design studio!

I was born and raised by my single, working mom in Montgomery County, Maryland – a county known for its wealth, diversity, and high quality of public education. Though MoCo is generally seen as a ‘progressive’ county, many microaggressions toward the growing PoC communities in the area fly under the radar. While being so close to the nation’s capitol made discussions of politics and race common both in and out of the classroom, issues of classism and ableism were often overlooked.

In the past I always felt that activism (as I knew it) took up too many spoons that I was already struggling to spend on being a good student. Though I am usually an active and enthusiastic organizer of events, when it comes to sensitive or personal topics, my confidence in my abilities plummets. I write my thoughts, revise, rewrite, but everything ends up in the bin! My tendency is toward privacy, and I generally err on the side of caution when it comes to social media interactions. However, I feel much more comfortable expressing myself through painting and other traditional fine arts – because of this, I am eager to learn more about ‘artivism’ and to explore what kind of contributions I can make to issues I care about, while remaining true to myself and my limitations.

WAAM/SLAM is a historically significant Wellesley asian & latinx movement I have become aware of recently. About ten years ago, students protested the college and made demands for multicultural resources for asian and latinx students. Eventually, the movement spread out to include latinx sibs, and they were able to move the administration to increase recruitment of minority students, appoint advisors specifically for asian and latinx students, and to expand asian and latinx studies. I am still experiencing the after-effects of WAAM/SLAM today – we just got a new multicultural center, where the asian and latinx advisor’s offices are located. The WAAM/SLAM movement continues to inspire many current on-campus advocacy groups, such as Pan-Asian Council and Raiz. https://waamslam.omeka.net/about