The suggestively named St. Louis collective “Brain Drain” has come up with an interesting idea to display what they termed the city’s “creative talent.” Seeking to counter the general view of St. Louis as a sleepy city, they’ve designed a system to display, both physically and virtually, the vitality and human capital of the place.
The physical visualization would be comprised of light beacons spread throughout the city, equipped with proximity sensors so that they would grow brighter when people approached them. They would also serve as additional lighting and landmarks for the urban landscape.
In the virtual realm, users would be able to access a on-the-fly heat map of the city’s activities, which would combine the beacon sensors with social media information such as Tweets, Foursquare check-ins, Flickr pictures, etc.
Another branch of the physical system would be creating digital kiosks that could display this information, so people could find activities going on in the city as they are happening.
PS: I was pretty scared about one statistic mentioned in the video: that 1/4 mile is generally the longest distance people are willing to walk before resorting to a car (so that would be the radius of the beacons’ coverage).