Pixels of Participation

Project at MIT Senseable City Lab

Curitiba’s reputation of a great green city with progressive urban planning has prevented proactive citizen participation for the improvement of the urban and political conditions. How might we most effectively and widely provoke citizen participation on matters of their city?

The project weaves street art and public debate to form a new space for political participation.

Final product 


A lack of care and proactive citizen participation in matters of the city.

Opportunity 1
Interview with Diana, Urban Planner for City of Cutiriba

“Traditional means of participating were attracting only the few who were the same ones to show up” How might we design for mass access?

Opportunity 2 

Curitiba’s tradition for street art. How might we leverage existing ways?

Opportunity 3 
Interview with Felipe, Native of Curitiba, studying at MIT.

“Colab the app would collect some concerns, very little used it because it felt like an effort with little immediate returns” How might we make it an engaging activity?

The product and experience had to be:


Design Iterations

User Flow showing inside interaction (scan QR, respond, like, comment, make art) and outside interaction (scan pixels, view responses, like)

Basic Mockup of first interactions in the tube stop

An AI camera detects different age groups of voters. Additionally, a projector shows the QR codes, voter responses and the artwork. The outward facing layer is an LED screen that showcases the artwork of the artist in question and the pixels that pertain to the different demographics.

Regional vs City Scale Topics

A mobile AR interface allows passersby to scan the view of the façade and read the responses from outside, expanding the reach of political opinion beyond the limits of the station.

Eventually, the City of Curitiba is able to gauge and analyze voter sentiment towards specific topics, and ultimately better implement policies to respond to all.