Fu Chi: A Mobile Civic Platform for Philadelphia’s Chinatown

Posted by GGuth714 on May 25, 2011
Fu Chi: A Mobile Civic Platform for Philadelphia’s Chinatown data sheet 1676 Views

Philly's Chinatown has struggled in recent years to maintain its geographic integrity with development encroaching its boundaries. There are internal challenges as well with frequent brak-ins and trash littering the streets.  There is an imperative to coordinate residents, businesses and organizations to unite to address problems and prevent further encroachment. Yet, coordination and cooperation have been difficult to attain. For these reasons we wanted to design a communication system accessible via mobile phone specifically for Philadelphia’s Chinatown, to help its citizens and organizations address themselves, each other, and the greater Philadelphia community.

The range of dialects and cultural backgrounds in Chinatown make face-to-face communication rare for many residents. We wanted to create a social media system for our project that could potentially help forge social ties and build the essential element of trust in a new way. The system we envisioned would have features that address what we have identified as needs in the neighborhood:

Basic Information
Organization involved in the project?: 
Project goals: 

Our goal for the project is to increase communication in Philadelphia's Chinatown neighborhood through a social media platform that allows for translation and an easy way for residents to report concerns and publicize events.

We also aim to raise the profile and recognition of organizations working in the community by helping them form agile responses to resident concerns. Altogether we want the community to feel it has the power to accomplish goals everyone can agree on.

Brief description of the project: 

Fu Chi is a project that utilizes the open source software Ushahidi to raise civic engagement and communication among residents in Philadelphia's Chinatown currently separated by dialects, generations, socioeconomic status, and culture. Fu Chi allows residents to report issues, events, and opinions and respond to other user’s comments. Through a collaborative design process with residents, social organizations and city government, Fu Chi aims change resident’s perception of their potential impact on the environment; at the same time it will streamline and draw attention to the work done by social organizations serving the neighborhood.

Target audience: 

Residents and organizations in Philly's Chinatown, and anyone outside the community who is interested.

Detailed Information
Mobile Tools Used: 
Length of Project (in months) : 
What worked well? : 

We engaged in a thorough participatory design process that engaged residents and community groups along the way to articulate and express their concerns and desires for the neighborhood before deciding on a specific tool.

What did not work? What were the challenges?: 

A major roadblock for us was communicating the potential of our interventions to the stakeholders and leaders of the community. We found that as we became well-versed in the potential of technology and design to revolutionize communication, it was hard for many of the people we were working with to understand what we were talking about. A major lesson for us and others taking on similar projects is to devote time and effort to explain your project in terms the stakeholders understand. Though we researched numerous examples of other communities using similar systems, and showed them the results of our clean up day test, it was difficult for some people to see how it could save time, they only saw the immense effort needed in our system to do the tasks of translation and publicity.

Display project in profile: 

Let's Play Chinese Characters - Mobile Learning Approaches via Culturally Inspired Group Games

Posted by MohiniBhavsar on Jul 02, 2010
Let's Play Chinese Characters - Mobile Learning Approaches via Culturally Inspired Group Games data sheet 2655 Views
Tian, F., Lv, F., Wang, J., Wang, H., Luo, W., Kam, M., Setlur, V., Dai, G., and Canny, J.
ISSN/ISBN Number: 
Publication Date: 
Apr 2010
Publication Type: 

In many developing countries such as India and China, low educational levels often hinder economic empowerment. In this paper, we argue that mobile learning games can play an important role in the Chinese literacy acquisition process. We report on the unique challenges in the learning Chinese language, especially its logographic writing system. Based on an analysis of 25 traditional Chinese games currently played by children in China, we present the design and implementation of two culturally inspired mobile group learning games, Multimedia Word and Drumming Strokes. These two mobile games are designed to match Chinese children’s understanding of everyday games. An informal evaluation reveals that these two games have the potential to enhance the intuitiveness and engagement of traditional games, and children may improve their knowledge of Chinese characters through group learning activities such as controversy, judgments and self-correction during the game play.