Interactive Conversation Benches

Committee: Parks & Recreation

Cost: $60,000

Location: 4 locations citywide

Short Description: The benches will use recordings designed to facilitate interpersonal interaction between people who would not normally interact. The structures will include instructions and conversation prompts to encourage residents to share perspectives.

Long Description: Modeled after StoryCorps and the “American Therapy” interactive art exhibit, the Conversation Benches will foster dialogue by allowing unacquainted residents to come together to discuss engaging topics. The Benches will include instructions on the purpose and will also contain a pre-set list of topics. This project was designed with a mind toward building a sense of community. The Conversation Benches combine the permanence of StoryCorps facilities with the interpersonal nature of American Therapy. It’s important that we hear each other’s stories and that we be given the opportunity to share our own. The City estimates that each Conversation Bench structure will cost about $15,000.

Photos/images:

“American Therapy” interactive art installation at HUBweek (2017):

convobench.png

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  • commented 2017-11-27 18:46:37 -0500
    This seems like a really cool idea!!! I’d never heard of StoryCorps or American Therapy, so I had to google them:

    SC: https://storycorps.org/about/

    AT: http://www.bethtreffeisen.com/single-post/2017/09/28/American-Therapy-Comes-to-Blackstone-Square-Park

    Honestly, I would love more details about this! What indications are there that this will be used / are there indications of a demand for this? Are there other areas that have built Interactive Conversation Benches, and if so, how did they seem to be received (as well as would its performance there translate to Cambridge)? Is there a way to measure the benefits of something like this?

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