CityPulse : Making Data Physical


Data physicalization is at the crossroads of information visualization and tangible interfaces. It makes data less abstract so that a wider public can understand it and appropriate it more easily. This emerging field of research offers new possibilities to meet the rising democratic challenge that is every person’s ability to analyze and interpret an increasing volume of data. City Pulse is designed to explore the general public’s understanding of data and how it can be used to improve life at street level - be that, better access to services, improving social relationships, better engaging with local governance, etc. City Pulse materialises data using a large, mechanically driven adapted departure board. Designed as both a spectacle that visually appeals to onlookers and a visual form of data representation that people find compelling and want to engage with. For art and design researchers this project will provide insight into the different intellectual communities’ approaches, theories, and terminologies bridging diverse knowledge and practices that require an understanding of each community’s values, biases, and assumptions. Practically, it will build skills and expertise drawing on data visualization (i.e.,how to effectively encode data), Tangible User Interfaces (i.e., how to amplify the capabilities of the physical world for interaction design), and design (i.e., how to identify and leverage a material’s potential). Through this hands-on engagement it is intended that the broader objective of educating participants on the opportunities and limitations of data physicalization will help progress STEAM-based awareness in high school students, their families and the broader community.


Paul Egglestone
Director FASTLab , Humanities, Creative Industries and Social Sciences, University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia

Jon Drummond
Associate Professor, School of Creative Industries, College of Human and Social Futures, The University of Newcastle, Australia, New South Wales, Australia


Presentation Type

Innovation Showcase


Design in Society


Data, Visualisation, Interaction Design, Community, Data Literacy

Digital Media

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