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Alternative Title

Design Clinic project: mobile parklet design in Northampton

Publication Date


First Advisor

Susannah Howe

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science




Engineering, Electronics, Software, Parklet, Northampton, Photovoltaics, Internet of things, Android, Application, Smartphone, Parks-Massachusetts-Northampton, Public spaces-Massachusetts-Northampton, Building sites-Planning, Photovoltaic power generation, Web applications


The disconnect between governments and their citizens is a problem that lies at the root of misinformation, lack of civic involvement, and a sentiment of disengagement within communities. The distance between community members and their governing structures is partly due to the absence of direct means of communication and civic participation in our societies. Nonetheless with the development of new technologies, digital inclusion has gradually become a potential solution to addressing this problem. Cities have taken advantage of the rising access to internet and begun to develop tools that are connected, responsive, and interactive, thus evolving into what some have defined as "smart cities". This project focuses on the question: How can we use the concept of a smart city to enable more community participation in public projects? The specific context in which the question is stated is the Northampton Mobile Parklet Design project. In order to extend the ongoing parklet project, I have designed, developed, and tested three elementary smart city features: solar-powered smart lights, a parklet visitor-counter, and a location-based smartphone application, which uses augmented reality to help locals visualize and provide feedback on possible parklet designs. The goal of this projects is to explore the collaborative potential of a smart city through research, development, and early-stage user trial of a model smart parklet and smartphone app called NohoParklets. Although the project was limited to small-scale, prototype versions of smart city features, future developments and implementations are discussed in this report.




vi, 43 pages, 41 pages in various number schemes : color illustrations. Includes bibliographical references (pages 40-43)