CyberParks reflections: opportunities, limitations, lesson learnt

Roberto Pierdicca
04 to 16 February, 2018

During the experiences collected in four years of the CyberParks project, we can state that mobile devices probably represents (and will represent) the main interface through which a user get in contact with his/her surroundings. The visitors of a Public Open Space are more and more aware of their position (and of nearby services), thanks to the use of mobile applications. On the other side, during their “digital activity”, the users release a set of digital footprints that, with proper architectures, can be caught and can be of use for the understanding of the (hidden) potential of
a space. The drawback of this approach, among the others, is that this twofold exchange of information from the space to the user (and vice versa) is app based, meaning that the only way to make it real is having digital service on the hand of the visitors. Up to now, just a small number of users (w.r.t. to the entirety of the sample) have access or exploit these kinds of services. The reasons are many, but can be summarized in the following: i) not all the devices are ready to allow a simple and friendly use of such services (technological issue), ii) the users are not inclined to use further applications, more than they already do. In this light, and given the technological adoption trends by a growing number of users, it is licit to foresee that, in the upcoming years, app based solution (to provide services and collect data) will be a must have in nowadays urban settings, especially by the new generations (the so called “digital native”). The purpose of this STSM is to investigate about the drawbacks emerged during the experiences developed for the project duration, inquiry about the bottlenecks that impeded researchers to spread their tools and, in this light, attempt to draw some guidelines that should be followed for future investigations. Besides providing some hints about the development of new digital tools for making a space Cyber, an experimental test is reported, based on social media, demonstrating a new affordable and reliable way of collecting Used Generated Data.