In-situ triggers for civic engagement

There are many organizations and online communities that offer services to revitalize San Francisco neighborhoods. The information about them is usually spread via word of mouth or learned after a series of search queries from a motivated civilian try to do something for the community. The problem is that it is challenging for individuals to learn about these organizations and navigate their various protocols. Even further, it is difficult to take action exactly when the pain or inspiration arises.

This project explored mobile and tactile solutions for connecting individuals with existing organizations and online communities, enabling individuals to take action while on-the-go, the moment the need and motivation arise.

Project concept developed for the Leading by Design Fellowship Program at the California College of the Arts.

Something to chew on

I wanted to share some quotes with a friend in a casual manner. This became the beginning of a personal project, a pack of 12 chewable quotes to take a break and ponder on (e.g. "One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things", Henry Miller).

I still have a few packs, so if you want to share with a friend, drop me a line (@aolmos).  It is on me, feel free to share and enjoy!

Splitting the bill

Eating out with friends is fun. But splitting the bill can be a bit of a headache. With a mobile OCR app, splitting the bill could be as easy as taking a picture. The Füd app automatically shares the bill with your friends, lets you select your items, and calculates your total including tip.

This was a quick weekend prototype put together during the 2013 Launch Hackathon, while teaming up with Ken Koster, Ed Koster and Ken Ko.

Guidelines, not rules

"There are no rules, but principles… there are guidelines... there are things that work well most of the time, but there is nothing that works all the time." - Jason Santa Maria, "On Web Typography"


Back in October I had the joy to meet and team up with Peter @bromka and Jose @tumis at the ReRoute/SF hackathon. This was organized by the Hattery Labs.

Our concept: Neighbor-line! - At glance, on a daily basis, you would use Neighbour-line to get information about the bus transportation in San Francisco (e.g. schedule, location, routing, etc). However, while waiting at the corner for the bus, you would get the opportunity to read stories happening on your own commute line, stories from your neighbor riders. Neighbour-line would allow you to contribute your own short stories as well, and report something that was not (e.g. a broken window on the bus). Because, it is not only about filling reports, but also about follow up and getting it done. Neighbour-line would send the reports directly to the MUNI officers and from Neighbour-line you could follow up the status of your request. Having the window fixed would for sure improve your daily commute. On top of that, if your story or fix-request became popular by receiving a lot of stars from your fellow community riders, you would end up earning points towards adding more rides to your clipper card.

 I am sure you can tell that this concept was inspired by Neighborland ;-)

Do you like chocolate cake?

Inspired by Alex Gilliam’s talk, (held at McGill University’s School of Urban Planning in Montreal), Jason Prince and Molly Johnson invited Alex to lead in the building of a neighbourhood master plan -- in chocolate cake! -- while inviting passing residents to explore the future of the area.

The fun and hard working students from the School of Urban Planning baked two dozen chocolate cakes for this event (and I baked some too!). During the three-hour event, people streaming into the Vendome Metro Station were asked to help build and decorate the chocolate cake model, but, before getting their hands dirty, to offer up some advice in writing on what would make Vendome a great place.

Some of the recurrent wishes of the people were: more green space, a cafe, better accessibility for those with mobility needs and better access to the metro. One of my favorite ones: Music!

But the number one issue for this part of Montreal is a 200 foot connector piece that will link two bike paths and allow cyclists to get downtown safely, as illustrated in this video. The Government is investing over 4.5B$ on a state of the art hospital and a new highway interchange nearby, and residents hope they can afford a million or two to safely connect the bike path and support active transport too!


Chocolate cake neighbourhood, courtesy of: Public Workshop and CURA: Making Mega-Projects Work for Communities (a project of McGill University’s School of Urban Planning).