To really talk about Smart Cities means talking about Smart Citizens. We live in a time where great amounts of data are produced by sensors, wearable devices, and mobile phones. These data are gathered, analysed and used by companies and city councils in an attempt to manage and control cities in a top-down and centralized manner. While such management and control is supposed to contribute to citizens’ wellbeing and safety, in most cases citizens are largely out of the loop. In fact, they often do not have access to these data or do not have the knowledge to make use of them.
To empower users to take ownership of smart technologies and data, it is necessary to create interfaces that creatively engage people and facilitate processes of data sensemaking and analysis. If these data were to be exclusively managed by governments and corporations, citizens could lose ownership of their urban environments and services… And even worse, it could pave the way towards a surveillance society.
In an attempt to design new interfaces to foster citizen engagement with data and sensemaking, we propose Light-Waves. It is a light installation aimed to depict and help understand the behaviour of the sea around Spain, showing real time generated data and its variation in order to encourage citizens to establish links and comparisons.