- Our future is undeniably urban. More than half of humanity is currently living in cities; by 2050, that number will rise to include 70% of the world’s population. That’s why, now more than ever, it’s time for all of us to collectively, creatively pursue the question: What are cities for?
For one week, from September 1-5, 2015, Mexico City was both the stage and the prototyping field for a collaborative effort between Laboratorio para la Ciudad and the MIT Media Lab. Two innovative labs +3,500 kilometers apart working together with the objectives of re-thinking what cities are for and how we can improve them and, exploring new ways of designing innovations for a megalopolis like Mexico City.
- Public spaces, like parks and streets, need digital public presence, apps through which citizens' ideas can be connected to those in charge of implementing changes within a community. Team ENCDMX created ENcuestaCDMX, an app that captures the opinions and ideas of citizens through a simple and quick survey. This prototype proposes the creation of surveys to be conducted quickly on the streets, and a reliable method to deliver them to the authorities.
- The A-Team created A-Pops, a platform that encourages the use of public spaces as learning spaces, through playful pop-up activities. By adding sensors and colorful lights to public spaces such as Plaza Tlaxcoaque (sample space), children can learn the principles of math, logic, and programming, while interacting with a game board that everyone in the square can see. Making the game visible through physical and digital interfaces allows for the learning experiences to be tangible and collective.
- Team Pasaporte focused on developing digital certificates validated through the blockchain protocol, the same used by Bitcoin to encrypt information. This is how it works: a student participates in a workshop organized by an institution, for example El Laboratorio para la Ciudad. Once finished, the student is issued a digital certificate which contains encrypted and verifiable proof of his/her participation in the workshop. By following the blockchain protocol, this information is highly secure, and very difficult to falsify. In the current trend of redefining our educational systems, this prototype becomes a relevant and useful tool in simplifying the verification process of any course, workshop, or degree pursued by the students.
- Team Datando Movidas focused on creating a repository of mobility data and on the analysis of how to collect more and best-quality data within Mexico City. The long-term goal of the project will make a study of the patterns of movement of citizens through a big-data analysis of the origin-destination routes, and suggest improvements based on the sophisticated algorithms currently being developed by students at the Media Lab.
- Flavorhood is a device for smart phones that can collect bacteria samples within any space, in this case, while an individual travels across the city. This prototype was developed by Miguel Perez from the Media Lab's Playful Systems group. The type of bacteria collected provides data that can be used to identify patterns of mobility within the city.
- This prototype could potentially encourage the participation of citizens, as the bacteria collected can be used to create hyperlocal products such as beer, thus fostering a sense of identity and belonging in every community.
- Team Parques Abiertos is a platform for the revitalization of public spaces and parks, which motivates citizens to schedule and program activities in these spaces that are usually neglected or unoccupied, improve their neighborhoods, and strengthen the collective spirit within local communities.
- Various teams explore the iconic Parque Chapultepec, located in the center of Mexico City.