LoFi City

LoFi City examines and discusses the consequences of urban vacancy in historic downtowns. It utilizes LoFi tactics, such as capitalizing on imperfection, to create revitalization strategies that embrace and elevate an existing city fabric. As a popular music genre, LoFi has gained cultural purchase by harvesting imperfections that forge interest through kinds of cross-disciplinary superimpositions and DIY approaches. In Lofi City, these relationships are utilized to leverage local interest, to enhance and revitalize downtowns that are experiencing urban vacancy. LoFi has benefited from its idiosyncrasies, and has in turn, legitimized itself. This thesis asserts that the translation of LoFi tactics can improve a city’s integrity without destroying the history of neighborhoods. While at the same time, elevating the current conditions for the existing communities.

To properly improve the qualities of existing communities, designers and policy makers need a deep understanding of the citizens’ aspirations for their city. To initiate positive downtown changes, LoFi City becomes a video game. The goal of the LoFi City interface makes participatory design continuous and accessible to non-designers, while simultaneously gathering vital data that aids architects, urban planners, and government officials to understand the community’s desires. LoFi City is a dual faceted game interface, where in the games ‘front of house’, residents of the city choose their neighborhood, build their character, design programs for vacant structures, and have the option to add smaller urban details like trees, benches, and trash cans. In the games ‘back of house’, data is collected, describing the percentages of gamers that added a game piece, and its location.

The LoFi City game interface aims to align the aspirations of the citizens and the actions of the designers. Ultimately to serve as a mutually beneficial tool, elevating the current conditions for the existing communities. 
Faculty Advisor:
Perry Kulper