Tech-Infused Playgrounds Liven Up Public Spaces [Pics]

Tech-Infused Playgrounds Liven Up Public Spaces [Pics]

"Living Innovation Zones" give companies a chance to showcase their latest work in San Francisco.

Ross Brooks
  • 6 november 2013

The city of San Francisco has partnered with the Exploratorium, a science-education museum that’s geared toward children, to make public spaces more interesting in areas that are frequented by office workers and tourists. One of the most popular exhibits is a pair of satellite dishes that encourage people to whisper into them. The dishes are actually parabolic acoustic amplifiers, which can amplify a whisper so that it’s loud enough for someone else to hear 50 feet away.

Dubbed “Living Innovation Zones” by the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation, the spaces attempt to liven up daily life for those who might find themselves in the local area. The Mayor’s office even has a strike force of “Innovation Fellows” that have developed creative solutions to other everyday problems such as how to figure out local law.


In order to showcase the fields of technology and applied-science that many locals work on for a living, the city provides the real estate for a year or two, while each zone is sponsored by a company, arts or cultural institution. Shannon Spanhake, a Deputy Innovation Officer, spoke about the project:

We live in this amazing tech kind of city, but when you walk down the streets you don’t really feel that. This [project] brings that layer of public innovation to that realm.


Source: Atlantic Cities

Images: Exploratorium


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