SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – An exhibit showcasing Springfield’s participation in Futurescape City Tours is being held on Thursday, Dec. 12, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the UMass Design Center, located at Court Square. Futurescape City Tours is a national public engagement project that offered residents of six cities the opportunity this fall to explore how new technologies could change public spaces in the near future.
The reception will include comments from Springfield residents who participated in the project; images and captions that represent the past, present and future of technology in Springfield, and a mini “makers space,” where people can tinker with and share hands-on engineering projects.
Other cities participating in the Futurescape City Tours are St. Paul, Minn., Portland, Ore., Phoenix, Washington, D.C., and Durham, N.C. In each of these locales, residents, stakeholders, scientists and engineers toured their neighborhoods and talked about how new technologies like nanotechnology could change buildings, transportation, food, healthcare, energy use and more.
Springfield participants, including Congressman Richard Neal, took a guided walking tour of the city last month, documenting their experiences with photographs depicting Springfield’s rich history of innovation in technology and manufacturing. Participants also captured images of present and potential sites for future technologies that have the potential to enhance quality of life and promote new industries within the city.
The Springfield arm of Futurescape City Tours involves students in a new UMass Amherst graduate-level research methods course, “Participatory Digital and Visual Research in Community-Based Learning,” taught by anthropology and public policy Professor Krista Harper and Gretchen Gano, a lecturer affiliated with the Science, Technology and Society Initiative at the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA).
This project is funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation under the National Nanotechnology Initiative. Next week’s exhibit is co-sponsored by the Loka Institute for Science and Technology and the Center for Nanotechnology and Society at Arizona State University.
CPPA is the hub of interdisciplinary public policy research, teaching and engagement at UMass Amherst.