Brynskov, Martin, De Waal, Martijn et. al. Urban Interaction Design. Towards City Making. Research Manifesto. Amsterdam: UrbanIxD: Designing Human Interactions in the Networked City, FP-7 Action & Coordination project, 2014.

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


How do you describe emerging trends within a forming field? In this case, it was done by bringing eight people together in a remote German castle, all from very different backgrounds but a shared interest in urban interaction design, and giving them four days to describe this field. As a book.

With this inception story in mind, what you will find is a distilled conversation, filtered through the collective and embodied practises and experiences of these quite diverse individuals. We cannot claim that the result is a perfect representation of the current situation. You could claim that it is pretentious or even preposterous to make this attempt under the given circumstances. After all, all text and illustrations were produced in less than a week.

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.

I like to think of it as a guidebook, a cheap, rugged companion to a brisk walk, or a run for your life, in a somewhat unfamiliar territory. You may already know how to find your way around, easily identifying some elements, but you picked up the book because you do not feel entirely comfortable with your mental map of the area, and you are not sure you can discern the salient features consistently enough to save you the pains of acting on a misinterpretation. Others may even rely on your advice.

This is the intent and purpose of this book: to give reflected directions. No more, no less. Use your own judgment—that is what we did—and share your findings with those who walk in your footsteps. Thank you in advance for your help, too.

It is also a Thing, in the Latourian sense that it is an artefact which creates a possible meeting place for people to engage in a deliberative dialogue around it. A community of readers. That is also reflected in its somewhat essayistic nature. Please treat it as an opportunity for futher discussion, not a definitive answer to a problem. Specifically, we encourage you to read and edit the Wikipedia entry.

Urban Interaction Design: Towards City Making This publication is the result of the interaction between two projects: the UrbanIxD project, with the subtitle ‘Designing Human Interactions in the Networked City’, and the Book Sprints for ICT Research project organised by the FLOSS Manuals Foundation. Thereby, it is also a case of two network organisations partnering up to address an issue of pressing societal urgency, using the Book Sprints methodology developed by Adam Hyde.

I am deeply grateful to the contributors of this book: Juan Carlos Carvajal Bermúdez, Manu Fernández, Henrik Korsgaard, Ingrid Mulder, Katarzyna Piskorek, Lea Rekow, and Martijn de Waal, for saying yes when I asked if they would take part in this Book Sprint, and for spending so much energy and resources without knowing what would come out of it. Also an immense thanks to the Book Sprint facilitator Barbara Rühling and the rest of the Book Sprints for ICT Research team: designer Henrik van Leeuwen, editor Rachel Somers Miles, organiser Donna Metzlar, project manager Tania Goryucheva, researcher Rachel Baker and programmer Joanna Paulger for supporting the whole process so professionally and kindly, and for giving us the opportunity to work with you, and in this way. Finally, we should all thank the coordinator of the UrbanIxD project, Michael Smyth, and Ingi Helgasson for initiating both the UrbanIxD project and the Book Sprint collaboration.

On behalf of everyone involved, I hope you find the publication useful. It is a product of a collaborative writing and editing process, so all elements have gone through many iterations and hands. The authorship is therefore shared. Please use the references and links at the end of each chapter to find sources to other work that helped us shape the interesting and perhaps important topic of emerging trends in urban interaction design.

Martin Brynskov

Schloss Neuhausen, Germany March 2014