Improving Commuter Safety Through A Public Art App
Look Up is a way to get New Yorkers to grow more aware of their surroundings
New York City is an ironic city to live in. Its populated with millions and millions of people yet it is easy for anyone to feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness at times. In an effort to remedy this problem and our unhealthy addiction to our phones, artist and designer Ekene Ijeoma decided to create Look Up. Look Up is a public art app that wants to encourage New Yorkers to look up from their phones and interact with the physical world.
The app works by vibrating, showing an animation and displaying an intersection’s “energy score.” The energy score refers to NYC DOT’s Vision Zero’s data on crash injuries and fatalities data. The score gives a number from 1 to 5, which lets a pedestrian know that the higher the score, the higher number of crashes that have occurred in a specific area. Therefore, they should be more cautious and aware of their surroundings. It also works for people biking or driving in a car. Another great thing about this app is that it runs in the background as a phone’s wallpaper, making it possible to use any other app concurrently. It also does not suck up a lot of data or battery.
The overall purpose is to get people making eye contact and exchanging non-tech pleasantries. The website explains, “Look Up hopes to tear down the digital walls we build up, opening us to seeing, acknowledging and valuing the people and city around us.” There are so many people and places to see in NYC that technology distracts us from us sometimes. However, if it takes more technology to help us see that, then another downloaded app is not the end of the world.