Panel: Think BETA: Participative Evolution of Smart Cities
Betaville is a project of the think tank: Think BETA – Evolution of smart cities. It supposed to result in a platform that fosters online collaboration and participation of community groups in urban living by providing adequate tools and methods. It provides a development, communication and decision making environment for local initiatives and project groups. Betaville supports the complete development process from early-stage ideas and discussions through ongoing engagement of communities in project decision and project implementation.
In Alphaville, a fictitious city, an old factory has been torn down. The vacant area is to be revived in the near future and the city hall constitutes a planning board¬¬–the official process has started. In order to take into consideration its citizens’ demands for a livable city on the one hand as well as potential interests of authorities and technical restrictions on the other, the public administration is interested in the active participation of other parties in the decision and development process. Therefore, it creates a new project within Betaville and configures the available real estate in the virtual system. Bob likes to actively take part in the planning process about his vicinity. As he is interested in a mixed use of the area, he uses Betaville’s functionality to incorporate 3D models of a town houses settlement as well as a small shopping mall with space for different shops. Alice gets to see Bob’s proposal on Betaville and adds a 3D bounding box that serves as a request for a kindergarten that she finds essential for a vivid quarter. Later, others can specify exactly the 3D view of it in new proposals. After releasing her ideas, her friend Carol also wants to participate in the redevelopment of the area. Equipped with her mobile device, Carol inspects the area and uses Betaville’s mobile client for 3D on-site-visualizations of the different planning proposals on her mobile screen. With these authentic impressions in mind she realizes the long distance from the housing area to the kindergarten and changes the proposal directly on her mobile by drawing the kindergarten nearer. Back at home she realizes a lack of green space and substitutes the shopping mall in Bob’s design by a small park. Members of the community, local authorities, or even potential investors now have the chance to refine and extend the development branches created by Bob, Alice, and Carol, to rearrange the proposals or even to create new branches. Furthermore, every member of the community has the chance to participate in the decision making process that should end up in a small set of possible solutions. Currently, Betaville experiments with different strategies to perform this task. In order to integrate as many citizens as possible in the process, Alphaville additionally allocates interactive urban screens in the vivid city centre for communicating the current status of the development process. At multi-touch tables small groups can meet and collaborate in real life, discuss alternative proposals, create and manipulate new ideas and visualize them on the attached urban screen. Although we have focused the application scenario on urban development, the project is open to other applications that apply these three levels of (web-, mobile- and table-) colla¬boration and participation, like urban art projects or computer augmented learning.
- Prof. Dr. Helmut Eirund received his diploma in computer science from University Kiel (DE) in 1985. He joined TA/Olivetti research lab (Nürnberg) and worked within several r&d projects on multimedia document management, where he becomes Technical Project Leader of the EU ESPRIT-Project 28 Multos. Until 1991 he was a research assistent at University of Oldenburg where he also received his doctoral degree on multimedia document archival. Subsequently he worked at OFFIS research institute (Oldenburg on multimedia development tools. From 1994 to 2001 he was a professor for Media Informatics at Hochschule Harz, University of Applied Studies and Research and 2001 he left to Hochschule Bremen, University of Applied Sciences with the same position. In spring term 2005 he worked as a guest professor at Humboldt State University (CA). He is co-founder of the M2C institute of applied media technology. Helmut Eirund leads several projects and research activities in Mobile Applications, Multimedia Systems and Electronic Entertainment and is author of about 30 reviewed papers and 4 books.
- Thorsten Teschke