Mayo Nissen

Design, etc

Reframing urban infrastructures to make cities more liveable places, for all.

City Tickets

City Tickets is an exploration into how existing pieces of real-world urban infrastructure can be repurposed to better serve all of the citizens of the city in which they are installed.

Pay-and-display multi-space parking terminals are examples of intensely technological infrastructure. City Tickets proposes to use them as a read/write entry point to a citizen responsiveness system such as 311, using the technology already found in such machines: a network connection, computation, and a thermal printer - and a basic street-facing interface.

a Boston city meter, with both parking receipts and city tickets available

Originally designed for the context of Copenhagen, a New York version was created for an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2011, and a Boston version pushing live data to a repurposed parking terminal was exhibited at the Boston Society of Architects in 2013.

a New York City Muni-meter, with both parking receipts and city tickets available
a New York city ticket, being filled in with details of a street light problem

The concept explores how we can use these ubiquitous and expensive 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 or IVR phone systems, 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.

each existing multi-space terminal already includes a vast array of technology, to the tune of over $10000 each

In addition to the parking receipts that the machines currently dispense, terminals can print two additional types of ticket: a “city ticket to-do list” with a constantly updated summary of all the things the City knows are broken or have recently fixed in the very immediate vicinity of the machine in question, with a map-view of same; and a “city ticket report,” a form pre-filled with location details and space for a passerby to write in a 311 report, and a hyperlocal map for annotation or for marking the spot. The completed ticket can then be submitted free of charge at a mailbox, at any municipal office, or at participating retail locations. Although the contents of the report would need to be read and interpreted by a human, much as a phone call does, much of the metadata - location, date and time of the report - are machine readable, speeding up the process and bringing the issue one step closer to resolution.

Boston city tickets, completed with issue reports and suggestions for the local area

Citizens are empowered to report problems - a pothole, a graffitied sign, or an awkward junction, for example - and to make suggestions for local improvements - benches for sitting on, or perhaps a weekly local market, or to have a say on local planning issues.

a Copenhagen city ticket being filled in with details of an issue with roadworks to the street

City Tickets make the bureaucratic and opaque workings of governance more transparent and accountable to the people it serves. Updating current machines to also issue city tickets in addition to existing parking tickets allows this existing infrastructure, without the necessity for any costly additional technology or a major upgrade, to be reconsidered as a way to make neighbourhoods more liveable and cities more responsive to the needs and desires of their inhabitants.

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

Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody”
- Jane Jacobs

City Tickets Copenhagen

Project description above.

City tickets started out as my thesis project at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction design, in 2010. Below are some images of this original iteration of the project. More images, and higher resolution files, are available on Flickr.

a Copenhagen multi-space parking terminal decked out with City Ticket decals and instructions
a city ticket held in front of a Copenhagen terminal
the to-do lists can include pending issues including expected date by which they will be resolved, recently fixed issues, and local public announcements
a city ticket report being filled in with a non-urgent local issue for submission to the local authority

City Tickets New York

Project description above.

A New York version of the project was created for an exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art in 2011, situating the concept on the sidewalks of New York City. The City's existing naming of the multi-space terminals as "Muni Meters" suited the project perfectly, with city tickets taking the "municipal" part of the name to its logical conclusion. In addition, the City's existing NYC-311 service serves as the ideal technical backend for the proposed tickets.

More images, and higher resolution files, are available on Flickr.

a New York City Muni-meter
the existing meter interface and instructions extended to include city ticket dispensing in addition to the current parking regulations and instructions
from left to right, a city ticket awaiting a handwritten report; a hyperlocal map on the reverse of both types of ticket; and a city ticket to-do list with a real-time list of known issues in the vicinity
in the foreground, a city ticket is being filled in with a report on a damaged street light. Behind it, a city ticket is shown with a list of known and pending issues, recently fixed reports, and public announcements for the area

City Tickets Boston

Project description above.

A Boston version of the city tickets concept was created in 2013 for an exhibition at the Boston Society of Architects titled Reprogramming the City. Together with co-conspirators JD Hollis and Brian Del Vecchio, I repurposed an actual Boston pay-and-display multi space meter, on loan from the Department of Public Works, to produce tickets with live data from the City of Boston's Citizens Connect API. The terminals were renamed from Parking Meters to City Meters to highlight their broader potential use beyond the context of parking, to include bikeshare information, public transportation updates, local issue reports from a citizen responsiveness system, and public announcements.

More images, and higher resolution files, are available on Flickr.

signs indicating the availability of both parking and city tickets from the meter below. [on flickr]
the repurposed terminal, reframed as a City Meter. Parking receipts and city tickets are available from this machine. [on flickr]
the City of Boston seal. [on flickr]
the terminal interface and instructions were reworked to clearer communicate the existing parking instructions and regulations, as well as the new city ticket capability of the machine. In addition to the decals and instructions, buttons and screens were relabeled and replaced with working compoenents. [on flickr]
a city ticket emerging from one of Boston's city meters. [on flickr]
reports originating from city ticket reports, from a phone call to the mayor's 24hr hotline, and from manual entry, listed on a city ticket list. [on flickr]
Boston city tickets, completed with issue reports and suggestions for the local area. [on flickr]

And finally, proof, of sorts, that it did in fact all work:

You'll have to take my word for it that the data on the ticket was live, and that there isn't a small person inside the machine pushing a ticket through the slot every time. [400px, 600px]



Comments or questions on the project are always welcome, as are proposals to discuss implementing the concept on the sidewalks of your city. Get in touch.