Hub2 adds to the existing community process by enabling groups of people to engage in non-verbal deliberation about their shared spaces. Through a set of formal workshops and informal drop-in hours, community members were encouraged to express their opinions by showing instead of telling.
We think this is the big IDEA (imagine, design, engage, activate). We believe it is possible for people to fully engage in urban design decisions without being an expert in urban design. Through the power of Second Life and the participatory platform we designed within it, participants were able to imagine what a space could like look, design that space to their liking, engage with that space by actually being in it, and activate that space by having the language to talk to their friends and neighbors about good design.
We understand that some people are not comfortable with computers, and moving a mouse, not to mention navigating a virtual world isn’t the least bit appealing. For this reason, we employed teenagers in the neighborhoods in which we worked to serve as technology “interpreters.” This accomplishes two things: it makes the technology less intimidating and fosters inter-generational communication around local and neighborhood issues.
Funded by the City of Boston, the Boston Redevelopment Authority, and the Allston Development Group of Harvard University
Co-Directors: Eric Gordon (EGL), Gene Koo (Harvard Law School)
Organizational support: The Berkman Center for Internet and Society, Harvard University