Rating systems and design languages help generate understanding around complex issues and make information easily accessible. Nutrition labels help demystify the content of the foods we consume. Creative Commons logos quickly convey the key elements of their copyright licenses. Universal symbol signs help us effectively navigate through transportation hubs anywhere in the world.
With cities increasingly embracing digital technology in the built environment, we believe people should be able to quickly understand how these technologies work and the purposes they serve. We believe that creating a unified visual language will be a critical starting point, and that digital tools could help people to follow up and learn more.
We have convened expert groups in cities around the world, co-hosting co-design sessions and holding online meetings known as “shareouts,” to collaborate and prototype an initial set of open standards for digital transparency in the public realm.
Sidewalk Labs’ goal is to make the resulting standards, as well as all the workshop activities and materials that generated them, publicly and freely available for others to adopt, use, and build upon. In this way, we hope to advance this important conversation around digital literacy and help people understand the digital infrastructures that, while invisible, permeate the public realm and impact our lives.