Urban Pollen is a demonstration project for the Polymedia Pixel designed by Tom Barker, Matthias “Hank” Hausler, Kirsty Beilharz and Sam Ferguson. It proposes an overhead mesh network of colour coordinated pixels that track and distribute urban use.
The interactive system used the sensory and networked capabilities of the pixel to provide a means of navigating urban space based on personal interests. The project speculated on a distributed network of computation that detected and categorised spatial activity, and then directed public users to zones of use based on information about their desires. This information required a mechanism for sharing personal data, the more data shared with the pixel resulted in greater awareness of public events. This relationship of data and spatial agency sought to invert the current paradigm of the smart city that generates spatial activity to absorb and monetise data rather than benefit the public.