As we entered the digital age, our sense of wonder, curiosity for knowledge, and spirit of exploration motivated many new technological developments in tourism, such as online trip planner, and Virtual Reality tours. However, the insatiable desire for instant information has made finding the unique, the peculiar, the locally distinct culture more difficult.

The special placeness of neighborhoods is rarely captured by the fractured, crowdsourced information provided through apps and the internet. As a result, visitors to neighborhoods in search of uniqueness and difference, find on apps only the blandest recommendations that appeal to the masses.

The objective of the project is to help people experience the city in ways that are 

-surprising

-interactive

- fun.

Citipedia is a public information distribution tool that provides neighborhood-specific recommendations for adventurous tourists and hometown explorer. Through a slot machine mechanism, it randomly generates three pieces of information: food, event, and fun fact based on the location. The user then has the option to purchase a foldable viewer postcard that leads them to explore more about the “fun fact” they just learned.

The information generated by Citipedia is neighborhood-specific, depending on where you discover the machine, you can get a very different recommendation that helps you explore your surrounding.

Citipedia is designed for adventurous tourists and hometown explorer. The user could be someone visiting NYC spontaneously, without much plan in advance. It could also be any New Yorker who just likes to wander around the city searching for exciting places to go.

That being said, the recommendation provided by Citipedia will be nothing like the same old tourist spots you see over and over again, instead, it only provides people with the most unique and authentic destinations that help you experience the city like a local.

I was greatly inspired by objects that provide fun and random experiences, such as candy dispensers, slot machines, and jukeboxes. The playfulness and sense of surprising intrigues me to think about interactions that go beyond a piece of digital screen.

I also looked at earlier products for virtual tourism, stereo viewers, such as opera glasses and view masters.

I also received feedback about users want something portable, something can be take away and carry around with. So I proposed a collection of transparent postcards that could be viewed in the city to show history and cultural information. Coupled with markers on the street, visitors use the cards to navigate in the city and locate themselves in that spot where the image on the card and reality overlays on top of each other, so that two or more layers of information will be perceived by the user all at once. 

 © by Zhan Shi