Mayor Kevin Faulconer at Downtown Works
Mayor Kevin Faulconer at the kickoff for “Desgin 4 San Diego” at Downtown Works.

UC San Diego is testing a unique crowd-sourced approach to solving some of San Diego’s most pressing transportation and mobility problems.

The university kicked off a one-month “Design for San Diego” challenge last week to harness the power of crowd-sourcing and human-centered design to address the question of “How do we create a San Diego where we all move freely?”

The “D4SD” challenge will take place through a series of in-person events and a digital public platform, where participants can network with other innovators interested in improving the city.

Steven Dow, an assistant professor of cognitive science at the university who is directing D4SD as part of the Qualcomm Institute-based Design Lab, said the challenge is focused on four related areas:

  • Enhancing the commuter experience
  • Promoting walkable and bike-able communities
  • Improving accessibility
  • Preparing for a future with autonomous vehicles

The kickoff event took place Sept. 21 at Downtown Works, a popular shared-office space. There was a design sprint on Sept. 22, and teams will showcase their solutions on Oct. 25-26 at the Design Forward 2017 Summit in Liberty Station.

The best solutions will earn prizes and private one-on-one meetings with startup investors.

“D4SD presents a unique educational opportunity,” Dow said, “both for university students and for the city’s residents — to gain hands-on experience with real-world issues and participate in San Diego’s innovation community.”

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.