Sidewalk Labs

A public workshop and creation of useful tools that promote digital transparency in the public realm.

During Sidewalk Labs’ (SWL) time in Toronto on the Quayside project, the public discourse around data and digital transparency was of concern. SWL reached out to Puncture to help design and facilitate a public workshop focused on how to improve digital transparency in the public realm. Technology is all around us, but often invisible.



The public engagement and consultation phase of the project was developed through an in-depth research phase with internal stakeholders and community members to get a sense of their concerns around digital transparency. Together with 100+ public participants from Toronto, New York, San Francisco, and London, we brainstormed, sketched, debated, iterated, and prototyped during several sessions we facilitated.

Based on this public engagement, we developed a series of simple signs and offloaded the complexities to the digital channel. Through this process, our purpose signage and icons came to life with simple and universally recognized symbols. Each icon was carefully crafted and selected to help users understand the most common questions around technology in the public realm: what’s the purpose? The project became known as Digital Transparency in the Public Realm (DTPR).

DTPR is now an open-source communication standard designed to increase transparency, legibility and accountability for digital technology in public places. The signage systems and DTPR are being piloted in the City of Boston, District of Columbia, Sydney Olympic Park, Angers-Loire Metropolitan Region in France, and the Town of Innisfil in Canada.