Project Overview

In your classes, studios and daily lives, you encounter problems and challenges in the urban and suburban environment. Your project will respond to one of these problems or challenges by creating an electronic (e.g., Arduino) intervention in the public realm. This intervention will include both sensing and response.

You will work in teams of 3-4 people. Ideally, your team will have common interests, but diverse skills. The perfect team would include one person with a strong design vision, one person who likes to code, and one person who is interested in the circuitry. In reality, everyone has some of each of these characteristics, but consider all of these needs as you build your team. We will finalize teams in class on October 17.

Scaling up to work in the public realm will require some leaps. So far, you have primarily worked on small, desktop-sized projects. To gradually go larger, you will complete your final project in two phases. On the syllabus, this is called Project 1 and Project 2.

Following is a brief sketch of the remaining assignments in the class. I will post more on each assignment as the due date nears.

Phase 1

In the first phase, you will develop your project concept, and then dive into the details to ensure your concept is feasible.

  • You will create an elevator pitch for your project. What is a problem that you see in the urban environment? How does your project address this problem?
  • You will diagram your project. Where will the project be located? What are you sensing? How are you responding? Include a preliminary equipment list with costs.
  • Divide up your project. Think of the different connections and questions that need to be answered in order to build your project. Each person in your team will work on one piece of the overall design. (For example: how can you drive and power four servos simultaneously? how can you collect data from an anemometer?)
  • Each person in your team will write a blog post on this site (I will give you permissions to publish here as the time draws nearer). It will be a tutorial on how to execute your piece of the project. It will include a circuit diagram, code, and any other information you need to make your tutorial as clear as possible (e.g., text, images, or a brief video).
  • Your team will present your project concept to the class. Professor Louise Mozingo will join us. You will talk to us about the design and technical questions your team is wresting with. We will give you constructive feedback on how to advance your project.


Phase 2

Some people will find that, after exploring the details, their concept is not working. That is OK. At this point, everyone should take a step back and think about how their project should evolve, based on your new technical knowledge and design considerations.  You may choose to do a major project revision.

This revised project is the project you will execute for the rest of the semester. As you move through execution, iteratively consider:

  • How will we manage costs (i.e., complete the project within budget)?
  • How will we power the project?
  • How will we protect/enclose the project?

On December 11 (10a – 1p), you will present the problem your project responds to, what your project does, and how you do it. Your audience will be the class, Professor Mozingo, Professor Kyle Steinfeld (Architecture), and Andrea Gaffney (Gehl Studio/LAEP Lecturer). Depending on your concept, the project may be at full scale, or may be a model. Regardless, it will be a prototype of an urban solution.

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