Skip to content
ucsd designathon

Designathon Ideas Imagine New Trolley Stop as a Vibrant Destination

Designathon Ideas Imagine New Trolley Stop as a Vibrant Destination

Designathon Ideas Imagine New Trolley Stop as a Vibrant Destination

Autonomous scooters, interactive art, food shuttles, and cable cars are just a few of the creative ideas that emerged from a two-day public designathon event that will join the efforts to transform UC San Diego from a closed campus primarily designed for work and school to destination, inviting people to come, stay and explore what the  campus has to offer. “Anybody who comes to San Diego should have this campus as a destination in addition to Balboa Park or the Gaslamp district,” said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla in a San Diego Union Tribune article.

In 2021, the UC San Diego Pepper Canyon Mobility Hub will become a major stop on a new trolley line that will connect the La Jolla campus with other major centers of activity in San Diego. In response to the incoming station, the UC San Diego Design Lab partnered with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), UC San Diego Campus Planning office, UC San Diego’s Urban Studies and Planning’s student Young Planners’ Society, LIME scooters, and several other campus and community stakeholders to host a designathon on April 6-7, 2019. They asked teams of three to seven people to come up with ideas that would increase trolley user’s mobility and access to the campus. According to the event organizers, designathons are 24-hour challenges that invite participants to “practice human-centered design by engaging real world challenges through intensive problem finding, connecting with potential users, prototype development, and iteration.” April’s capacity event brought together more than 250 participants, including high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, community members, and faculty mentors.

With encouragement from a roster of guest speakers that included U.S. Congressman Scott Peters, Sr. Associate Vice Chancellor Robert Continetti, and council members from the cities of Carlsbad, La Mesa and San Diego, 33 teams – each with a designer, a storyteller, and an engineer – were tasked with tackling a problem and presenting a solution in one of three areas of focus:  urban designs, services and programs, or data and tech solutions. Although the resulting proposals were diverse in ideas and ranged from practical solutions, such as color-coded maps and mobile apps that help visitors learn about and navigate the campus, to more imaginative suggestions, such as a glow-in-the dark skate park that would provide open space and double as an art piece, all of the projects deliberately had one theme in common: a focus on the campus and trolley users.

“We asked that teams really think about all the potential users of the hub, such as veterans coming to the hospital, people with strollers, and others who might be underserved by the current infrastructure,” said Stephanie Sherman, event lead for the Design-a-thon and a graduate student for the Design Lab, which promotes user-centered design approaches. “A lot of thought went into not only social elements, but also the urban terrain, which is really complex and impressive.”

Of the 33 ideas submitted, 10 finalists presented their ideas to the public as part of the closing day’s ceremonies, and the following five concepts were selected as winners:

Best Prototyping: Autonomous Navigational Transit System (ANTS) by team Crows Nest Engineering (Alex Branch, Owen Getz, Nyla Hekier, Robert Huffstutler, Jade Muckler, Alexis Vergnet, David West) proposed designated traffic lanes for autonomous scooter-like mobility devices that have large platform areas big enough to carry both passengers and packages and can automatically adapt to surrounding traffic conditions.

Excellent Storytelling: The Conch by team Thotty for Scotty (Ludi Duhay, Jodi Lim, Kim Luong, Lauren Ring, Sara Mei-Yuen Wang, Whitney Tsai) would create a center for culture and student activity near the trolley hub that would be a place for students to linger after classes.

Ready to Launch: UC Socially Dynamic by Team Salt & Pepper (Gregoray Boscaiu, Zijian Ding, Xiru He, Kristi Lin, Jennifer Phelps, Sophie Siemsgluess, Priyan Vaithilingam) is a project that imagines interactive art, such as light shows, a public theater and nature benches as ways to engage the campus population.

Triton Spirit: Conchierge by team Design Time! (Sophia Boss, Alvaro Mejia, Griffin Mittleman, Kyle Mumm, Sicily Panattil, John JoungSeo Kim) attempts to make navigating around campus easier for freshman students and visitors through interactive kiosks that stay updated through social media and can provide recommendations for hot spots as well as directions.

Unique Concept: Foodie App by Team Yoo (Mingxuan Fan, Kaiyun Fu, Osgood Gunawan, Jiarui Han, Yiwen Hou, Dian Yu) solves the problem of hungry commuters with no time for breakfast by combining an app for ordering food from campus eateries with a pick-up shuttle service that will have the food waiting for commuters when they get off the trolley.

The Design Lab and the Campus Transportation office are now working together to present the five winning ideas to campus leadership and other stakeholders. However, all of the projects submitted during the designathon will impact the planning for the Pepper Canyon Mobility Hub by demonstrating the utility and potential of the site from perspectives not typically obtained through traditional development channels.

“[A designathon] provides us with a more in-depth understanding than through a traditional public engagement process,” said Danielle Kochman, Associate Regional Planner for SANDAG. “The participants provide a fresh set of eyes and out-of-the-box thinking to generate new and innovative solutions.”

A majority of the designathon participants were students, and their experience as both campus and technology users is exactly the perspective that organizers need to update the vision for the transportation hub, which has been 16 years in the making. Since planning began in 2003, innovations, such as e-bikes, scooters, ride sharing, and autonomous vehicles, have dramatically changed how people get around. Events like the designathon not only help planners to adapt to these changes, but they also provide a way to involve the community in the process.

“Designathons are a wonderful way for people to learn human-centered design while also producing end products and services that can actually be implemented, all with the aid of the people for whom the work is intended to serve,” said Don Norman, Director of the UC San Diego Design Lab.  “The success and popularity of these designathons encourages us to increase the number and scope of these events, partnering with other organizations to make the designathon’s emphasis on multi-disciplinary human-centered design of needed services and products a frequent and important part of UC San Diego’s activities.”

Autonomous scooters, interactive art, food shuttles, and cable cars are just a few of the creative ideas that emerged from a two-day public designathon event that will join the efforts to transform UC San Diego from a closed campus primarily designed for work and school to destination, inviting people to come, stay and explore what the  campus has to offer. “Anybody who comes to San Diego should have this campus as a destination in addition to Balboa Park or the Gaslamp district,” said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla in a San Diego Union Tribune article.

In 2021, the UC San Diego Pepper Canyon Mobility Hub will become a major stop on a new trolley line that will connect the La Jolla campus with other major centers of activity in San Diego. In response to the incoming station, the UC San Diego Design Lab partnered with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), UC San Diego Campus Planning office, UC San Diego’s Urban Studies and Planning’s student Young Planners’ Society, LIME scooters, and several other campus and community stakeholders to host a designathon on April 6-7, 2019. They asked teams of three to seven people to come up with ideas that would increase trolley user’s mobility and access to the campus. According to the event organizers, designathons are 24-hour challenges that invite participants to “practice human-centered design by engaging real world challenges through intensive problem finding, connecting with potential users, prototype development, and iteration.” April’s capacity event brought together more than 250 participants, including high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, community members, and faculty mentors.

With encouragement from a roster of guest speakers that included U.S. Congressman Scott Peters, Sr. Associate Vice Chancellor Robert Continetti, and council members from the cities of Carlsbad, La Mesa and San Diego, 33 teams – each with a designer, a storyteller, and an engineer – were tasked with tackling a problem and presenting a solution in one of three areas of focus:  urban designs, services and programs, or data and tech solutions. Although the resulting proposals were diverse in ideas and ranged from practical solutions, such as color-coded maps and mobile apps that help visitors learn about and navigate the campus, to more imaginative suggestions, such as a glow-in-the dark skate park that would provide open space and double as an art piece, all of the projects deliberately had one theme in common: a focus on the campus and trolley users.

“We asked that teams really think about all the potential users of the hub, such as veterans coming to the hospital, people with strollers, and others who might be underserved by the current infrastructure,” said Stephanie Sherman, event lead for the Design-a-thon and a graduate student for the Design Lab, which promotes user-centered design approaches. “A lot of thought went into not only social elements, but also the urban terrain, which is really complex and impressive.”

Of the 33 ideas submitted, 10 finalists presented their ideas to the public as part of the closing day’s ceremonies, and the following five concepts were selected as winners:

Best Prototyping: Autonomous Navigational Transit System (ANTS) by team Crows Nest Engineering (Alex Branch, Owen Getz, Nyla Hekier, Robert Huffstutler, Jade Muckler, Alexis Vergnet, David West) proposed designated traffic lanes for autonomous scooter-like mobility devices that have large platform areas big enough to carry both passengers and packages and can automatically adapt to surrounding traffic conditions.

Excellent Storytelling: The Conch by team Thotty for Scotty (Ludi Duhay, Jodi Lim, Kim Luong, Lauren Ring, Sara Mei-Yuen Wang, Whitney Tsai) would create a center for culture and student activity near the trolley hub that would be a place for students to linger after classes.

Ready to Launch: UC Socially Dynamic by Team Salt & Pepper (Gregoray Boscaiu, Zijian Ding, Xiru He, Kristi Lin, Jennifer Phelps, Sophie Siemsgluess, Priyan Vaithilingam) is a project that imagines interactive art, such as light shows, a public theater and nature benches as ways to engage the campus population.

Triton Spirit: Conchierge by team Design Time! (Sophia Boss, Alvaro Mejia, Griffin Mittleman, Kyle Mumm, Sicily Panattil, John JoungSeo Kim) attempts to make navigating around campus easier for freshman students and visitors through interactive kiosks that stay updated through social media and can provide recommendations for hot spots as well as directions.

Unique Concept: Foodie App by Team Yoo (Mingxuan Fan, Kaiyun Fu, Osgood Gunawan, Jiarui Han, Yiwen Hou, Dian Yu) solves the problem of hungry commuters with no time for breakfast by combining an app for ordering food from campus eateries with a pick-up shuttle service that will have the food waiting for commuters when they get off the trolley.

The Design Lab and the Campus Transportation office are now working together to present the five winning ideas to campus leadership and other stakeholders. However, all of the projects submitted during the designathon will impact the planning for the Pepper Canyon Mobility Hub by demonstrating the utility and potential of the site from perspectives not typically obtained through traditional development channels.

“[A designathon] provides us with a more in-depth understanding than through a traditional public engagement process,” said Danielle Kochman, Associate Regional Planner for SANDAG. “The participants provide a fresh set of eyes and out-of-the-box thinking to generate new and innovative solutions.”

A majority of the designathon participants were students, and their experience as both campus and technology users is exactly the perspective that organizers need to update the vision for the transportation hub, which has been 16 years in the making. Since planning began in 2003, innovations, such as e-bikes, scooters, ride sharing, and autonomous vehicles, have dramatically changed how people get around. Events like the designathon not only help planners to adapt to these changes, but they also provide a way to involve the community in the process.

“Designathons are a wonderful way for people to learn human-centered design while also producing end products and services that can actually be implemented, all with the aid of the people for whom the work is intended to serve,” said Don Norman, Director of the UC San Diego Design Lab.  “The success and popularity of these designathons encourages us to increase the number and scope of these events, partnering with other organizations to make the designathon’s emphasis on multi-disciplinary human-centered design of needed services and products a frequent and important part of UC San Diego’s activities.”

Autonomous scooters, interactive art, food shuttles, and cable cars are just a few of the creative ideas that emerged from a two-day public designathon event that will join the efforts to transform UC San Diego from a closed campus primarily designed for work and school to destination, inviting people to come, stay and explore what the  campus has to offer. “Anybody who comes to San Diego should have this campus as a destination in addition to Balboa Park or the Gaslamp district,” said UCSD Chancellor Pradeep Khosla in a San Diego Union Tribune article.

In 2021, the UC San Diego Pepper Canyon Mobility Hub will become a major stop on a new trolley line that will connect the La Jolla campus with other major centers of activity in San Diego. In response to the incoming station, the UC San Diego Design Lab partnered with the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), UC San Diego Campus Planning office, UC San Diego’s Urban Studies and Planning’s student Young Planners’ Society, LIME scooters, and several other campus and community stakeholders to host a designathon on April 6-7, 2019. They asked teams of three to seven people to come up with ideas that would increase trolley user’s mobility and access to the campus. According to the event organizers, designathons are 24-hour challenges that invite participants to “practice human-centered design by engaging real world challenges through intensive problem finding, connecting with potential users, prototype development, and iteration.” April’s capacity event brought together more than 250 participants, including high school, undergraduate, and graduate students, community members, and faculty mentors.

With encouragement from a roster of guest speakers that included U.S. Congressman Scott Peters, Sr. Associate Vice Chancellor Robert Continetti, and council members from the cities of Carlsbad, La Mesa and San Diego, 33 teams – each with a designer, a storyteller, and an engineer – were tasked with tackling a problem and presenting a solution in one of three areas of focus:  urban designs, services and programs, or data and tech solutions. Although the resulting proposals were diverse in ideas and ranged from practical solutions, such as color-coded maps and mobile apps that help visitors learn about and navigate the campus, to more imaginative suggestions, such as a glow-in-the dark skate park that would provide open space and double as an art piece, all of the projects deliberately had one theme in common: a focus on the campus and trolley users.

“We asked that teams really think about all the potential users of the hub, such as veterans coming to the hospital, people with strollers, and others who might be underserved by the current infrastructure,” said Stephanie Sherman, event lead for the Design-a-thon and a graduate student for the Design Lab, which promotes user-centered design approaches. “A lot of thought went into not only social elements, but also the urban terrain, which is really complex and impressive.”

Of the 33 ideas submitted, 10 finalists presented their ideas to the public as part of the closing day’s ceremonies, and the following five concepts were selected as winners:

Best Prototyping: Autonomous Navigational Transit System (ANTS) by team Crows Nest Engineering (Alex Branch, Owen Getz, Nyla Hekier, Robert Huffstutler, Jade Muckler, Alexis Vergnet, David West) proposed designated traffic lanes for autonomous scooter-like mobility devices that have large platform areas big enough to carry both passengers and packages and can automatically adapt to surrounding traffic conditions.

Excellent Storytelling: The Conch by team Thotty for Scotty (Ludi Duhay, Jodi Lim, Kim Luong, Lauren Ring, Sara Mei-Yuen Wang, Whitney Tsai) would create a center for culture and student activity near the trolley hub that would be a place for students to linger after classes.

Ready to Launch: UC Socially Dynamic by Team Salt & Pepper (Gregoray Boscaiu, Zijian Ding, Xiru He, Kristi Lin, Jennifer Phelps, Sophie Siemsgluess, Priyan Vaithilingam) is a project that imagines interactive art, such as light shows, a public theater and nature benches as ways to engage the campus population.

Triton Spirit: Conchierge by team Design Time! (Sophia Boss, Alvaro Mejia, Griffin Mittleman, Kyle Mumm, Sicily Panattil, John JoungSeo Kim) attempts to make navigating around campus easier for freshman students and visitors through interactive kiosks that stay updated through social media and can provide recommendations for hot spots as well as directions.

Unique Concept: Foodie App by Team Yoo (Mingxuan Fan, Kaiyun Fu, Osgood Gunawan, Jiarui Han, Yiwen Hou, Dian Yu) solves the problem of hungry commuters with no time for breakfast by combining an app for ordering food from campus eateries with a pick-up shuttle service that will have the food waiting for commuters when they get off the trolley.

The Design Lab and the Campus Transportation office are now working together to present the five winning ideas to campus leadership and other stakeholders. However, all of the projects submitted during the designathon will impact the planning for the Pepper Canyon Mobility Hub by demonstrating the utility and potential of the site from perspectives not typically obtained through traditional development channels.

“[A designathon] provides us with a more in-depth understanding than through a traditional public engagement process,” said Danielle Kochman, Associate Regional Planner for SANDAG. “The participants provide a fresh set of eyes and out-of-the-box thinking to generate new and innovative solutions.”

A majority of the designathon participants were students, and their experience as both campus and technology users is exactly the perspective that organizers need to update the vision for the transportation hub, which has been 16 years in the making. Since planning began in 2003, innovations, such as e-bikes, scooters, ride sharing, and autonomous vehicles, have dramatically changed how people get around. Events like the designathon not only help planners to adapt to these changes, but they also provide a way to involve the community in the process.

“Designathons are a wonderful way for people to learn human-centered design while also producing end products and services that can actually be implemented, all with the aid of the people for whom the work is intended to serve,” said Don Norman, Director of the UC San Diego Design Lab.  “The success and popularity of these designathons encourages us to increase the number and scope of these events, partnering with other organizations to make the designathon’s emphasis on multi-disciplinary human-centered design of needed services and products a frequent and important part of UC San Diego’s activities.”

Read Next

J. Tanner Cusick

J. Tanner Cusick joins the Design Lab as a Designer-in-Residence

When J. Tanner Cusick took a class called Social Architectures, he never expected that the trajectory of his career would change forever. While pursuing his MFA at UC San Diego, Cusick explains that it was in this class that he and his classmates designed “interventions” around campus. "Basically, we would change the environment and see how it influenced human behavior,” says Cusick. “I did a piece under Geisel that challenged people to use the space differently by creating a game of human Candy Land. I colored all the blocks beneath the library, and everyone came in costumes.” He reflects that what he didn’t realize at the time was that they were really practicing experience design.

It was the combination of this event and Cusick’s experience as a teaching assistant (TA) that taught him what User Experience (UX) was. “While I was a TA, I taught a digital art class and students were assigned The Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman. I'd never read the book before and I was amazed by it," said Cusick. It was the ideas in the book that influenced Cusick to shift the context of his work. “I ended up teaching myself about the discipline and doing a lot of UX design and content design. And that's what I have been doing since then."

Don Norman debates John Maeda of Automattic, the company behind WordPress

In January, world-renown executive, designer and technologist, John Maeda, and a team of 25 people…

Don Norman Interview Design Usability

“I Think We Have to Start Over”: Usability Guru Don Norman on the Next Internet

"I think we have to start over. And we may need very separate networks. The notion that there is one network that is for everything maybe is wrong. We used to have separate networks. They were, in fact, determined by the technology. Hence radio was different than telephones, which was different than television, which was different than printed books. And today we say, “Nah, it’s all information,” and that this isn’t that neat, because on the internet you can do all of that. Well, OK. But the content is really what’s important, not the technology or the way it’s distributed. And I would love to find a different scheme where people are controlling their own data." - Don Norman
San Diego Profs Tackle Dying Oceans

San Diego profs tackle dying oceans and idea cross-pollination at global exhibition

San Diego Union Tribune

Design Lab member and Visual Arts Professor Pinar Yoldas joins the 2021 Venice Biennale to promote discussion of dying oceans and idea cross-pollination through a global exhibition.

This summer, 112 artists and architectural teams from around the world were invited to the annual Venice Biennale in Italy to create artworks that answer the forward-thinking question: “How will we live together?” Two of the invitees to this prestigious exhibition are from San Diego.

Pinar Yoldas, a multidisciplinary art professor at UC San Diego, took an imaginative look at what the world’s endangered oceans might look like in 30 years, while Daniel López-Pérez, a founding faculty member for the architecture program at the University of San Diego, studied the global dialogue of ideas inside a spherical structure inspired by R. Buckminster Fuller’s geoscope design.
Design Lab Connect2health National Cancer Institute

UC San Diego Design Lab Joins FCC, NCI to Champion Critical Role of Broadband in Rural Cancer Care

The Federal Communications Commission’s Connect2Health Task Force (C2HFCC) announced last week that the FCC and the…

SPUR Team 6

This report outlines the journey of a team aiming to improve how undergraduate students identify…

Back To Top