Experience Design in Cities

3 design trends that are improving connectivity, community, and collaboration

Heidi Marshman
Modus
Published in
5 min readSep 24, 2019

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Photos: Unsplash

ItIt is an exciting time to be an experience designer. With the recognition that human-centered design is necessary across multiple industries, and thought-leaders pushing the urgent need for collaboration, the importance of experience design for health, diversity, and inclusion is being acknowledged and, more importantly, acted upon. An area where this is prevalent is in the urban design and planning world, where UX enables more effective solutions that deliver great urban experiences for citizens.

First life, then spaces, then buildings — the other way around never works.

—Jan Gehl

Over the past few weeks, I have gathered some key insights from events, Meetups, and general reading that I would like to share with you here.

1. Ownership will hinder connected cities; sharing is key

Ownership and silos within cities will hinder the advancement of user-centered design and the connectivity of cities. What I mean by this is that by sharing information and data within and between industries, we are more able to take the information into a new context and foster deeper understanding. As a result, more data points will enable more insightful analytics and greater accuracy in machine and deep learning models.

There needs to be a significant shift in thinking that not only makes room for but also prioritizes sharing data. The aviation industry is a great example of this, where safety data is shared throughout the industry, ensuring that everyone is informed and moves forward together. Knowledge is power, but sharing is even more powerful; sharing prevents the repetition of mistakes, enables better and faster decision making, stimulates innovation and growth, and ultimately improves user experience.

Enabling open data between buildings will give rise to a greater experience of city-living and connectivity.

What would a city look like if the buildings could talk to each other? Building Management Systems (BMS) and the Internet of Things (IoT) has shown the power of connectivity within buildings, but more opportunities are…

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Heidi Marshman
Modus
Writer for

I write about designing spaces and experiences for your mind, entrepreneurship, brain health and performance (and occassionally other things!…)