From the T Dan Smith walk to “City Walks” : testing City Walks as a two part method

Walks prototypes and tests from the Tuning into T. Dan Smith project have driven the development of a prototype city walking tour, called “City `Walk” that utilizes participants generated content gathered in the T Dan Smith walks undertaken during the first few months of the project.

The T Dan Smith provided new content (places in the city and participants’ opinions) that was used for the construction of socio-material design in the second part of the project. Content informed the design of “City Walk” which comprised the following tools: a new counterfactual map and the participants’ voices were put into dialogue with the voices of the archive.
Participants’ new audio material were mixed with short archival extracts. Each new mix of recordings featured diverging opinions and contradictory histories and was assigned to the particular locations pinpointed in previous walks by participants.
Booklets corresponding to particular locations whose names were inspired by the new audio materials in the new map were made. Each booklet included instructions encouraging site exploration, NFC tags triggering related audio material and a question for groups to collectively consider at each place. Lastly a brochure was designed to contain booklets and map.

11 new participants gathered via a social media site were invited to take part in the walks. Each walker/participant was given a brochure and each group the following instructions: collectively decide locations to visit from the ones presented in the brochure; collectively work out a route to get to those locations; at each locations open the booklet relating to it and follow the instructions. Participants were also given a camera, smart phone and Bluetooth portable speaker. A time limit for talking was not set for these walks leaving their unfolding purposely open to internal group dynamics.

All tests and data generated across the walks will be analyzed and written up to consider its benefits and potential for issue-based walks and drive future research and technology and design developments.