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Adaptive architecture and personal data
Schnädelbach H., Jäger N., Urquhart L. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction26 (2):1-31,2019.Type:Article
Date Reviewed: Nov 20 2020

This paper focuses on the implications of sensors embedded in buildings to make the buildings responsive to people. An important issue is privacy. One reason these privacy issues are important is the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The paper is oriented toward Europe. It presents questions and ideas rather than answers, and should be of particular interest to building designers.

The approach is based on design tensions, for example, the difficulty in designing for both “in the moment adaptivity” and future interactions. Star-like radar charts illustrate the design tensions, showing several tensions radiating from a common point. Three such charts are presented, dealing with temporal aspects, spatial aspects, and inhabitation.

Temporal tensions include lifetime of data versus lifetime of building, and an individual’s rights versus an organization’s needs. One spatial tension concerns sensors carried by the individual versus sensors embedded in the structure. Another spatial tension is where the data is stored, in the building or off-site. Tensions related to habitation are multiple people sharing space, the need for building operations to use personal data, and who controls the data (for example, the building management or the technology provider).

So, must a person entering a building give consent to having personal data collected? If so, how? What recourse is available to a person who does not want a record kept of access to a building? The tensions described were selected from responses at three workshops, with about 60 total selected participants.

The paper presents many ideas and is readable.

Reviewer:  B. Hazeltine Review #: CR147115 (2104-0092)
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