[iDC] Anxiety, Comfort, and Play in Public Places

Trebor Scholz trebor at thing.net
Mon Jul 24 11:24:51 EDT 2006

[Check out the Familiar Stranger project 
by Liz Goodman and Eric Paulos. 
best, Trebor]

The Familiar Stranger Project
Anxiety, Comfort, and Play in Public Places


As humans we live and interact across a wildly diverse set of physical
spaces.  We each formulate our own personal meaning of place using a
myriad of observable cues such as public-private, large-small,
daytime-nighttime, loud-quiet, and crowded-empty.  Unsurprisingly, it is
the people with which we share such spaces that dominate our perception
of place.  Sometimes these people are friends, family and colleagues.
More often, and particularly in public urban spaces we inhabit, the
individuals who affect us are ones that we repeatedly observe and yet do
not directly interact with ­ our Familiar Strangers.  This research
project explores our often ignored yet real relationships with Familiar
Strangers. We describe several experiments and studies that lead to a
design for a personal, body-worn, wireless device that extends the
Familiar Stranger relationship while respecting the delicate, yet
important, constraints of our feelings and relationships with strangers
in public places.

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