Thesis Concept Statement

Context: what are your areas of inquiry, what are you studying, and why?

Sustainable Cities and Responsible Tourism

We are inquiring into how cities can be sustainable in order to overcome environmental, economic and social challenges. We are researching on how and why tourism can play an effective role in making cities sustainable. The impact of tourism on the environment and social structures. How they influence the standard of living and lifestyle of local residents. We are trying to understand how local governments and departments can play an efficient role in sustainable efforts.

We are studying this in the light of climate change and other environmental challenges that hamper the growth and life expectancy of cities.

Intention: what do you plan to make, and why? How is this making a response to your inquiry?

We plan to make a mobile application (potentially with a web component) that can be used by tourists to help them make responsible choices to help keep the cities they visit sustainable and resilient as more and more people keep heading into cities. We plan to consider gamification and Augmented Reality, include location services and motion recognition, and work in either swift, react native, or angular js. We are making this to respond to the problem of tourists contributing to the decline of cities. This app is making a response by informing tourists and nudging them (potentially through gamification and incentives) to make the better decisions for the city’s resilience.

Impact: what is the goal of your project, why is it important, and why should we care?

The goal of our project is to implement and have a flexible system in place that can be easily adopted by cities at a global level.

To get tourists interested in sustainable efforts while engaging them in experiences that make their travel seamless.
We should care because we live in cities and we love cities and want to keep them resilient, we also identify as tourists often and don’t want to be part of the problem- we want to help it.

Prototyping Statement

You refine your work through making, address the following questions:
What are the critical issues in your thesis?
What are the core issues in concept or central problems in making you need to overcome via prototyping?
A Proof of Concept prototype experiments with and demonstrates overcoming critical issues through making.

Grid of 9

*Because I worked with Shikha, we created 4 topics, with 3 ideas each, so it's really a grid of 12


“We would like to research local governments and the citizens participation in them. From this research we will create a narrative where local governments can provide pertinent information to increase citizens’ participation.”

1. A platform where local governments can choose to opt in and provide pertinent information such as election dates and information about candidates that is then readily available to citizens just by typing in their zip code.

2. Local government chatbot (on fb messenger / Google Allo) - find out information about your local government’s election days/candidates & their stances from the bot. Have the bot remind you of important dates to vote or participate. (alternative to email spamming or apps) Interactive UI using editable cards or pdfs to enter information, carousel of info cards / images.

3. Social media platform for local governments where citizens can post ideas and initiatives for their local area on a moderated platform, where others can vote for their idea- based on the popularity or “trending” ideas-  the government could choose to take action on the idea. Vice versa for ideas generated by the govt.


“We would like to research cities that are likely to get affected by the rising sea levels and climate change. From this research we will create a system or a platform that helps local governments in taking actions to make their cities sustainable and have responsible tourism.”

1. A product built on top of Google maps that allows users to find the scenic or accessible routes/small businesses/sustainable alternatives (ie bike shops over bus tours, drinking water taps, etc.)

2. An augmented reality tour guide that gamifies the tourist walking experience- making them take sustainable approaches to tourism. The product would include recieving badges for accomplishing certain tasks- and it can even be a somewhat curated experience based off of the user's interests.

3. Sharing networks: being able to share your network with a group of people for a short period of time such as a week while traveling.


“We would like to research the benefits of a shared economy for large cities. From this research we will identify products / services that citizens could share in order to reduce the pressure on resources.”

1. An app that helps you find people who can offer assistance in running household errands, traveling, hobbies, shopping, packing, cooking, etc. Works on hashtags data that has been identified by the skills people can offer. 

2. Food trucks for local communities to help feed the homeless or the less fortunate. Citizens can donate leftover food to the food trucks, who collate the items into a daily menu. The homeless can go to these trucks and pick from the selection of dishes for the day. #reducefoodwastage #redistribution

3. Using the energy produced from running on a treadmill, using an elliptical, or cycling to reduce the energy costs of gyms.


"We would like to research companies/governments that build trust on transparency. From this research we will create a way to help boost the significance of transparency in these area's in today's world."

1. A platform where companies can opt in to include all of the information they feel makes them transparent- users can come on the site to see the level of a company's transparency. The more a company fills out, the higher their transparency percentage will go.

2. A platform specific to transparency in health. A place that busts myths about the foods you eat and the drugs you take, where people can comment and discuss the positives and negatives of certain foods we eat and drugs we take.

3. An informative projection mapping on landmarked buildings in lower manhattan. The projection shows data structures of the planning of these buildings in aesthetic blueprints. The projection would then highlight how these urban planning structures can be made sustainable to combat the rising sea levels.

Canopied under the concept of “inside out”.