The Heart Sounds Bench amplifies the heart sounds of those sitting on it. It explores the role of sensing in public space and how we might rethink “smart” cities as “social” cities. Instead of efficiency and surveillance, how can city IoT embrace visionary urban scholar Jane Jacobs’ call to celebrate richness and diversity in cities?
This bench is a speculative design investigating how we might use urban sensing to support rest, emotional reflection, and respectfully sharing space with strangers. This semester, Howellstudied the bench with 19 participants indoors. Based onqualitative analysis of their experiences, she outlined affirmationas a designerly concept for reworking visions of urban space from “smart” to “social” cities.