With Brittney Silva’s tragic May 2014 death fresh in everyone’s memory, the city of San Leandro began collaboration efforts between them and the University of California, Berkeley to do something to make the city safer for pedestrians. A course was developed at UC Berkeley called Sensing Cityscapes, offered Fall 2015, aiming to collect data about human activities too often ignored. As part of the interdisciplinary UC Berkeley Global Urban Humanities Initiative, the class aimed to harness methods not just from city planning, engineering, and architecture, but from the humanistic disciplines, cognitive science, art, public health, and performance studies, bringing students together from each field. We now are bringing the installation back to the streets of San Leandro with the support of a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Our Town grant for a project called Interactive Urban Light. Transferring the project from the lab back to the street, we observe that the positive impact remains, and that responsive lighting creates safety through attention.
For more on the Interactive Urban Light Project, check out: Waves of Data: Illuminating pathways with San Leandro Lights
Boom: A Journal of California, Vol. 6 No. 3, Fall 2016; (pp. 80-83) DOI: 10.1525/boom.2016.6.3.80
Principal Investigator: Greg Niemeyer, Associate Professor, New Media Studies, UC Berkeley