Blockchain City

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Blockchain City Enlarge image Zach Copley - Nobody gets me Bitcoins! (CC BY SA 2.0)

The Centre for Design Informatics is situated across the schools of Edinburgh College of Art and Informatics at the University of Edinburgh and is home to a combination of researchers working across the fields of interaction design, temporal design, anthropology, software engineering and cryptocurrencies. Interdisciplinary in intent, the Centre has demonstrated its distinctive capacity to anticipate the emerging paradigm of Human Data Interaction, through research collaborations, conference contributions and recognition within a peer community.

What is the problem space we will address?
Participants to this charrette will explore design approaches for alternative ways of representing, communicating or conceptualizing economic values in everyday transactions. We address the impending opportunities that new digital economic models have for the parsing, exchange and representation of value within urban contexts. By sketching complex economic cycles, we will question how they expose power, exert control and offer incentives that distort the balance of the urban landscape.
Participants to this charrette will conduct design-based research to understand the affordances of money if it were to become software. After on-site explorations, we will generate, sketch and critically discuss possible scenarios teasing out different ways of conceptualizing value, such as transport companies being able to charge customers only if their train/bus arrives at a GPS location on time, or City Councils using micro payments as incentives for pedestrians who cross roads properly.

Which methodologies will be adopted?
Research methods based on participant observation and auto-ethnography will be complemented with software on mobile devices to generate “geofences” (virtual boundaries separating physical spaces) and associate them with economic values. Addressing and interrogating the principles of blockchain technology, participants will apply algorithms to physical spaces, experimenting with how the value of a digital currency may be altered by designing specific conditions.

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