The Public Visualization of Citizen Data: Design, Impact and Implications
The constant development of ubiquitous computing has enabled the pervasive integration of sensing and display technologies in everyday public settings. Urban digital screens are increasingly dominating the visual cityscape, and a growing amount of data, generated through social and environmental processes is being recorded and tracked. While urban screens serve predominantly commercial or entertainment purposes and ubicomp research has mainly focused on data-driven efficiency optimization, little is known on how urban data, and the technologies able to acquire and display it, can be of true value to its citizen, the people who generate it. This dissertation takes on the challenge to investigate the role of data visualization, combined with situated sensing and display technologies, in supporting social and civic purposes and public space. After an initial design inquiry on public visualization, three studies are presented, which all examine the concept in different socially relevant contexts and provide design, empirical and reflective contributions. The three studies demonstrate how situated visualization displays i) can improve perception, and lead to sustained behavior change; ii) can increase social awareness and discourse; and iii) can influence meaningful participation and a range of social interactions. This dissertation also provides an elaborate discussion of the implications for the design, use and evaluation of citizen-driven public visualization as a tool to increase public awareness, participation and discourse.