On the User Adoption of new Urban Infrastructure Supporting Mobility

Posted: January 19th, 2008 | No Comments »

In the follow-up of the Cyclist Dynamics in Barcelona hack, I met a couple of people related to the deployment of Bicing (community bicycle program in Barcelona). I mention deployment and not maintenance or enhancement because, to my surprise, very little (euphemism) is done to understand how the system is actually used and how its users appropriate it. I am wondering if this come from the background of many urban planners who are in fact architects. It seems that in this domain, there is no strong practice in evaluating what has been done. This shortcoming is obvious when observing the success and failures of Bicing. I apprehend of an urban future enhanced by technologies in the sole hands of architects.

bicing update fixing bicing bicing waiting bicing waiting out of order infrastructure
Observing the daily functioning of Bicing, with its “artificial” balance of bike from one station to another, fixing station, users waiting in front of a full station, and a station temporarily out of order.

Bicing, back to downtown
The spatio-temporal visualization of the system status [video]

Relation to my thesis: thinking on the design for appropriation of technologies and how we can take advantage of the digital traces left by people interacting with technologies to reveal and act upon the imperfections of the systems.