A talk by Benjamin Stokes about his project “ParTour: Mobile Storytelling and Bicycles in South L.A.”, held on the 14th of November 2012 at the Experimental Game Lab, Atlanta.
ParTour: Mobile Storytelling and Bicycles in South L.A.
Can basic cell phones and bicycles help re-imagine the city? This talk analyzes a participatory mapping platform called ParTour. Over the past year, residents have used ParTour to transform their everyday phones into multimedia tools for neighborhood storytelling. Inspired by theories of real-world games, participants map and describe their pictures in real-time (using basic phones, not smartphones). Later, the pictures are used for city planning and turned into paper maps for advocacy. Unlike many mobile projects, the goal is not to generate data, or points-on-a-map. Instead, ParTour seeks to structure civic participation, and invigorate the neighborhood imagination — a kind of urban acupuncture. Mobile media introduces new possibilities to situate storytelling in physical spaces, with implications for place-making and civic engagement.
Benjamin Stokes (@bgstokes, benjaminstokes.net) is a researcher at the USC Annenberg School, where he is completing his PhD on informal civic learning and real-world gaming. Research on ParTour is a collaborative effort by the Mobile Urban Mapping team at USC. Previously, Benjamin served at the MacArthur Foundation as a program officer in their $50M portfolio on Digital Media and Learning. Benjamin is a co-founder of Games for Change, the branch of the serious games movement which seeks to advance social change. Benjamin has also led design teams on games and e-training, reaching more than 150,000 youth at the nonprofit MercyCorps/NetAid.