This paper introduces a new experience-driven design concept to public spaces, such as bus stops, to strengthen connections between cities and their citizens. With the prototype described here we are provoking inquiry into whether the "technology" that is a bus stop, with high tech augmentations can engender civic engagement and more interconnected cities. Our preliminary user studies showed that people, while waiting for the bus, do not interact with each other, and as such are “alone together”. Our concept is to connect people in the city, and also between two different cities by utilizing their waiting time. ‘Virtual Garden’ creates the experience of ‘being connected’ by providing users with the possibility to ‘grow’ a collaborative garden using a smartphone and natural gestures as the control interaction. Lo-fi prototypes were used to gather user feedback which informed the design of the 'Virtual Garden'.
Ubicomp '13 Adjunct Proceedings of the 2013 Acm Conference on Pervasive and Ubiquitous Computing Adjunct Publication, 2013, p. 761-764