City Tickets

What can we do with existing infrastructure to make cities more livable places for all?

Urban infrastructure is often ignored, considered to be boring and technical – but the choices we make regarding which infrastructures to build, maintain, and how we use them are profoundly political and cultural.

Parking ticket machines are an example of an intensely technological piece of infrastructure. This project explores how we can use these ubiquitous boxes to make cities more responsive to the needs of those who live in them, and proposes a service through which ticket machines become a communication channel between citizens and their local authorities.

By taking functions that may otherwise be found on websites or interacted with through mobile devices, and physically embedding them directly in the urban fabric, City Tickets democratises access and input to municipal services and brings that dialogue to where it is most relevant and powerful: here and now.

Citizens are empowered to report faults – a pothole, a graffitied sign, or a fallen tree, for example – and to make suggestions for local improvements – a bench here, a zebra crossing instead of traffic lights over there. The use of short forms printed directly from the embedded receipt printer, prepared with hyperlocal maps for indicating the exact location of a problem or suggestion and ready for annotation where applicable, make submission of this information to the local authority straightforward, where it can be processed and routed to the right department for an efficient response. On request, the local authority’s constantly updated to-do list of known issues, suggestions, and plans for the immediate locality is made available in the same way.

City Tickets makes the bureaucratic and opaque workings of governance more transparent and open, while redefining the balance of power supporting participatory urban planning and management processes. Updating current machines to also issue city tickets in addition to existing parking tickets allows this existing infrastructure, without the inclusion of any costly additional technology, to be reconsidered as a way to make neighbourhoods more liveable and cities more responsive to the needs and desires of their inhabitants.

Advisor: Gitte Jonsdatter