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walkon – a networked cities project

For my final project in Network Cities (ARCH531), I worked with Garin Fons and Amy Grude to explore urban flows. We propose a system that enables sidewalks to respond to you and the people who came before you. As you walk through a city, the ground underfoot glows. Intense, extended glows show the most common direction people in your place next went, while weaker illuminations indicate less popular directions.

Specific numbers of people, dates, and times are never shown. These features would increase the cognitive load on pedestrians, while we intend this service – once people become accustomed to it – to blend into the background and become a moving, changing part of the cityscape. Our goal is not to guide people to a specific path, but to highlight flows at a pedestrian’s given location. In doing so, we restore the idea of “the beaten path” to urban landscapes – something that has largely been lost with permanent, paved pedestrian ways. It is up to you to decide whether to stick with the crowds or see what lies in less frequented areas.

Explore the WalkOn presentation (Flash). The other projects in the class are worth a look too.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Andrea | May 10, 2007 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a really cool project; I tried to see the presentation but got a 404 error.

  2. sean | May 10, 2007 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Sorry about that. It’s fixed now.

  3. Bill Clerico | May 24, 2007 at 7:37 pm | Permalink


    I stumbled across your webpage – looks like you’ve been up to some great stuff. Just graduated from BC with a degree in CS, and I’m sticking around Boston next year to work for Jefferies doing middle market tech M&A. If you ever find yourself around, look me up, I’d love to catch up.


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  1. […] feature to the traces in a city: one does not see traces left just by one’s friends, no, but traces left by other users of the space, and this gives people a chance to wander from the path they were already on. One might also […]

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