This is an ongoing project with one other collaborator (Carrick Reddin). While our initial topic of focus was homelessness in the St. Louis area, we realized that people think about those who are homeless in a certain way. We wanted to design a way for people to hear stories of others without necessarily knowing who they're listening to. Bridging this gap creates anonymity and exposes individuals to others' stories that they may not hear otherwise.
After conducting some interviews, we realized that what fundamentally made people happy was "other people" and a sense of community. People really seemed to love to share their advice and experience with others; they usually just don't get the chance to. One of our ideas was called "Dear World," an undocumented journal that gets written in and passed onto someone else by each person who encounters it. We wanted to encourage this idea of sharing stories.
Our second prototype is called CityStories. CityStories is a device that is installed in public spaces: benches, street corners, streetlight poles, etc., in which people can plug their headphones in and listen to stories. It gives the opportunity for anyone to walk up to it and listen to others' stories, as well as to record their own. While there are many apps that exist, we thought that the location was particularly important for our project. Everyone has different experiences in different place at different times, and we found that place is what makes stories particularly unique.
Carrick Reddin | Architecture, International Area Studies | Washington University in St. Louis
Raissa Xie | Architecture, Psychology | Washington University in St. Louis