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Building Smart and Connected Communities through Urban Place-making


What makes a city meaningful to its residents? What attracts people to live in a city and to care for it? Theories of "placemaking" from humanist geography and urban planning offers ideas for developing community attachment, heightening the legibility of the city, and intensifying lived experiences in the city. We add to this body of research with an analysis of several initiatives of City Yeast, a community-based design collective in Taiwan that proposes the metaphor of fermentation as an approach to placemaking. We suggest that smart cities can also be pursued by leveraging the knowledge of city residents and helping to facilitate their participation in acts of perceiving, envisioning, and improving their local communities.


  • Virtual ethnography

  • Literature review

  • Social media data scraping 

  • Qualitative analysis


  • Encourage civic participation in urban planning initiatives to create a sense of community, ownership, and connectivity.

  • Motivate empathetic/participation design projects and support sustainable neighborhood development plans; doing so helps create communities that are resilient, prosperous, healthy, and safe. 



Guo Freeman (research manager), Jeffrey Bardzell (research manager), Shaowen Bardzell (research manager), Xi Lu (researcher), Diandian Cao (researcher).


*This project was funded by the National Science Foundation (USA).

*Image courtesy: City Yeast.

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