The UrbanIxD Manifesto

This UrbanIxD manifesto is a statement of beliefs about the field of urban interaction design. It represents a synthesis of the project’s work with artists, designers, technologists, social scientists, urbanists, architects and researchers; people who are motivated by a desire to explore how we experience urban living and what that might be like in the near-future. Read online or download as a free PDF here.

Creating digital urban interactions. The Industry landscape and market analysis.

The present work is framed in the Industry Landscape & Liaison work package of the UrbanIxD project in charge of Telecom Italia and with the main propose of assess the current state of commercial activity and players, discussing the value for the industry to invest in this field, describing the biggest challenges, and identifying the most promising outcomes. Read online or download as a free pdf here. Short summary here.

City Data Future - Interactions in Hybrid Urban Space

The | City | Data | Future exhibition speculates about the possible futures that city inhabitants might experience. The exhibition described here is built on work created during the activities of UrbanIxD project, particularly the Summer School of 2013 held in Croatia. This is the catalogue that accompanies the exhibition. Read online or download as a free PDF here.

The exhibition will be travelling during 2014 and 2015, to enquire about hiring the exhibition contact the UrbanIxD project.

Urban Interaction Design: Towards City Making

How do you describe emerging trends within a forming field? In this book, you will find a distilled conversation, filtered through the collective and embodied practices and experiences of eight diverse individuals. We cannot claim that the result is a perfect representation of the current situation. However, because of the experience, commitment and generosity of the contributors, this book does now exist. We have, in our hands and online, an attempt to characterise and discuss the emerging trends within urban interaction design, freely available for anyone to read, reflect upon and improve.

Read online, download as a free PDF here or buy a print copy here.

From Urban Space to Future Place

A document describing how the 2013 UrbanIxD Summer School applied critical design & design fiction to future urban technologies. Produced in collaboration with the Book Sprints for ICT Research FP7 project.

Read online, download the pdf for free here or buy a printed copy here. 

Summer School Reader

From the UrbanIxD project Summer School that took place in Split, Croatia in August 2013.

Read online, download a free pdf here or buy a printed copy here

Tangible possibilities — envisioning interactions in public space

Michael Smyth & Ingi Helgason, Centre for Interaction Design, Edinburgh Napier University

Digital Creativity Volume 24Issue 1, 2013. Special Issue: Design Fictions                 


Abstract: This article explores approaches to envisionment in the field of interaction design. Design fictions are introduced as a method to articulate future possibilities. Three case studies are described which explore interaction in public space. The fictions create imaginative projections with the intention of generating reaction and responses in the public that will lead to a greater understanding of the physical and conceptual design space. The first case study explored how citizens could anonymously comment on their relationship with a city. The second study encouraged participants to reflect on their habits and rituals and to view these through fresh eyes. The final case study sought to surprise and engage gallery visitors through an interactive piece that raised issues concerning the surreptitious capture of data. The paper concludes by reflecting on the utility of design fictions and the role they can play in concept envisionment.

DOI: 10.1080/14626268.2013.769454

UrbanIxD :: Designing Human Interactions in the Networked City

Special Interest Group at CHI 2013, Paris, 1st May

Michael Smyth, Ingi Helgason, Centre for Interaction Design, Edinburgh Napier University

Martin Brynskov, Aarhus University

Ivica Mitrovic, Arts Academy, University of Split

Gianluca Zaffiro, Telecom Italia


Interaction Design, in an urban context, is an increasingly important field of research. City populations are currently in a state of rapid flux. Conurbations are fast becoming a hybrid of the physical environment and the digital datasphere. How we, as physical beings, will connect with, interpret and adapt this increasing dataflow residing in our cities is already becoming a significant research question. The SIG organisers will frame the discussion through a human–centred view of the concerns, experiences and behaviours that may occur in cities of the future. By adopting an approach of Thinking and Doing it is hoped that the SIG will act as a catalyst for community building.

Download the paper here

Critical Design :: Is It Just Designers Doing Ethnography or Does It Offer Something More for Interaction Design? 

INTERACT 2011, Lisbon, Portugal 

Abstract: The panel will discuss the contribution of Critical Design to the field of Interaction Design and reflect on the insights that it provides on interaction.

Introduction: This panel will explore whether Critical Design offers new insight as a method for articulating future interactions. Will its promise deliver or are Interaction Designers destined to experience the same feeling of disappointment that HCI practitioners felt after the novelty of Ethnography began to fade? Will the design fictions of Critical Design mature into design facts or will the demand to solve problems short circuit the method? Indeed, is problem solving per se an out-moded way of design thinking in the context of today’s multi-layered hybrid society? 


Smyth, M., Speed, C., Brynskov, M. (2011). Critical Design :: Is It Just Designers Doing Ethnography or Does It Offer Something More for Interaction Design?. In: Campos, P., Graham, N., Jorge, J., Nunes, N., Palanque, P., Winckler, M. (Eds.) Human-Computer Interaction – INTERACT 2011 (13th IFIP TC 13 International Conference, Lisbon, Portugal, September 5-9, 2011 ed.). (pp. 685-686). Springer. ISBN: 978-3-642-23767-6  

Download the paper here