WitnessData :: About



Witness Data: the question and polemic

Sense the city acknowledges the fact that cities are more what we are seeing, observing and experiencing through our every day life. The focus is on the microclimate of the city and the invisible agents that make up the air quality, humidity, temperature, dust, light intensity etc.

The sensors distributed in various cities and places of the world by the Data Canvas: Sense the City initiative, assist in revealing those agents to the public to stir awareness and engagement.


Our proposal, “Witness Data”, utilises the data retrieved from the sensors, and uses design as means to convey this information to the public.

We envision a city were data will be open to the public to inform it and stir initiatives. As our project tries to illustrate data are there to inform both citizens and cities. The way we make our built environment, the orientation of our buildings, their geometry, the materials we use, the percentage of green areas and their distribution, as well as our own behaviour and habits can be questioned, informed and altered by capturing data.


Witness Data – interfaces of environmental information:

Civic communication in the city of Geneva takes place through distributed clustered panels along the pavements, which gives the city an interesting aesthetic character. The graphic design of the panels communicates different activities and things happening in the city: from referendum positions to theatrical performances. The boards assist in conveying information to the public in familiar ways, which can potential reach, a higher percentage of citizens.

By taking into account this means of civic information within the urban scape, our proposal ‘Witness Data’ aims at triggering curiosity, enhancing awareness, and ultimately lead to civic engagement.

Similarly, this idea could be expanded to the other cities and the platform of communication could change according to the particular characteristics and means of civic communication within a city (bus stops, underground screen, walls).


Witness Data: the boards

Static Board (jpegs): The boards of Witness Data ask a  “what if…” question in order to link immaterial data to the material aspect of cities and consequently to the environment of our every day life. They trigger to see the city from another point of view; one where the city responds to data and alters its form, materiality, and colour.

Dynamic Boards (link): Besides the static nature of those boards, we further propose the distribution of active interfaces of live data streaming. Similar to the previous boards, they combine the static image with live retrieve of data. The data feed is from 6 stations of the city of Geneva and shows how each area performs (by linking the sensors of Sense the City to the area they are situated in).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.