Final Project for Shrinking Cites:
After spending the semester reading about and analyzing population shrinkage in many major US cities, we were charged with the task of creating a game or field guide that would explore an unknown or unique aspect of a particular shrinking city. My shrinking city was Chicago (no surprise there) and I created a digital field guide/scavenger hunt that focused on the old, now unknown routes of the Chicago River.
My smart phone app, Chicago River Resurf, utilizes geo-fencing alert technology that pushes a notification/alert when a user walks “over” where the Chicago River once was. (Geo-fencing couples an alert with a geographic location. IE: you set a reminder to pick up your prescriptions and your phone would alert you when you were in a specific radius of your pharmacy.) My app will lead people to explore where the Chicago River used to be, show geo-tagged historic images and information, give real-time data about the Chicago River, and point people in the direction of cool businesses, recreation, and events that would otherwise be hidden.
Even though industry initially brought life to Chicago during its industrial boom, when industry left and the manufacturing sector shrunk, so did the population and strength of many neighborhoods along the river. My app serves to re-introduce people to the river and hopefully spur a change in perception about the activities that now happen along the river. There are more than you would think!
The only problem with my choice of a digital field guide is that I’m not a programmer, however I do create graphics on a daily basis. My submission was a map of all the old locations of the Chicago River (shown in light blue) and a series of screen shots of what the Chicago River Resurf app would look like on an iPhone. The app also utilizes augmented reality technology that uses a phone’s camera to show your surroundings with information and buttons overlaid and geo-located. What you see in the screenshots would be what you would see in those particular locations.
Would you buy this app? At the review I was told I should market this to Chicago! We’ll see…