Register: SEP/30/2019, Submit: OCT/10/2019, Eligibility: Students, professionals, institutions; all design disciplines; individually, teams with unlimited number of members, Fee: Students 20 USD, professionals 25 USD, institutions 80 USD (MAY/03 – MAY/18/2019); students 25 USD, professionals 35 USD, institutions 100 USD (MAY/19 – SEP/30/2019); (more details on the competition website), Awards: Winner: 5,000 USD; 3 Runner-up (2 students and 1 professional): 1,500 USD each; 4 People’s Choice (2 students and 2 professionals): 500 USD each; 14 Honorable Mentions (7 students and 7 professionals): 250 USD each; (more details on the competition website)
Technology has miraculously enabled people to stay connected, informed, and entertained, from every street and corner. It is usual for someone to stare at their screens despite being surrounded by people in public spaces that are designed to offer respite from the constant hubbub of urban life and engage people in interactions. Social interaction is a way to communicate ideas, meet new people and share conversations in a social setting. However, this definition is changing with the introduction of new companions in the form of devices that accompany people. This raises the question of whether we have surrendered ourselves to devices that in turn isolate us from those around?
Or conversely, is the real world not interesting enough?
The hyper-productivity mindset with passing time has eventually made humans more dissatisfied and caught up with things in the name of efficiency. And our feelings for the role of public spaces, in general, are no different from this fundamental idea. It’s this similar mindset that propels the civic planners to squeeze in an extra office block, or a housing unit, or a road for quick mobility – instead of creating actual quality public space for plenty reasons – but mostly in the name of ‘efficient’ and ’cost effective’ city planning.
Does this mean our devices are getting better but our public spaces are not?
What can we do for these outdated poorly performing public spaces/streets suffering from this quality crisis and outdated design? If we can’t break this connectivity continuum, how can we break the screen time for a short while to disconnect and reconnect, even for a few seconds? If not possible to break the screen time then how can we use these devices in our hands to make our public spaces relevant again?