Subway stations provide a unique space of urban interaction. Urban travelers fleetingly inhabit these transitional spaces, interacting with their fellow transit users in spaces of variable density, mood, noise level, and pace at all times of day. Subway stations become a prime site at which to tap into the beat of the city, it’s “vibe”. Subway users, however, are oblivious to the vibe they create. Engrossed in their own trip and isolated by media, travelers share a space, but not a common experience. The experience of the station is ignored, subservient to travelers’ desire to reach their destination and to escape the transience of transit as quickly as possible. City Beats proposes the use of vibration sensing and observational data collection in Boston T stations to develop a new understanding of the sensory experience of subway users. Through documenting the composite “vibe” of several T stations, City Beats develops a mode of comparison between the experiential qualities of stations, and relates sensed data to rider behavior and interactions. This combination of objective, sensed data and subjective, observed data allows us to observe the built environment as both scientists and designers, fusing quantitative and qualitative analysis into a hybrid form of design research.
thanks to Rob Hart
Boston, Massachusetts; 2015