News Item

Designing Safer Urban Spaces (DESURBS) Pilot at the Jerusalem Marathon


As part of the research and development of the European Union’s FP7 Research Programme DESURBS, a project that developed a series of tools to aid urban professionals, decision-makers and emergency personnel in creating and managing  spaces that are safer and more resilient,  DESURBS conducted a pilot joint activity with the Jerusalem Municipality and MDA (Magen David Adom, Israel affiliate of the Red Cross) at the  Jerusalem Marathon. This action took place on Friday, March 21st 2014, between  8:00 - 11:00.

The activity show-cased two security products developed by the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design within the DESURBS framework:

The HOPESPOT balloon, whose objective is to create a mark in the sky directing people  to a place where they can receive help. HOPESPOT is an efficient, cost-effective, accessible and portable product whose goal is to ease communication challenges with crowds and developed with the technology of RT Aerostats from Yavne . It was designed as a flexible component of the supporting auxiliary infrastructure with uses during emergency and planned scenarios. At the marathon the  HOPESPOT balloon was launched at the MDA first aid station in Sacher Park directing Marathon participants to a place where they could access medical services.
CityZen is a  social service that connects between citizens and their local authorities in order to create a safer environment. CityZen features a community-driven mobile application coupled with a back-end authority controlled portal. The CityZen mobile app has three primary functions: Following of the different events in the area, verifying and providing additional information about ongoing events and reporting new events. CityZen democratizes information by using and sharing crowd wisdom

During the marathon the CityZen social app was operated by a team of students and faculty to monitor the spatial distribution of places providing assistance to participants as well as reporting  events and  hazards along the running routes. A team at the Jerusalem Municipality monitored the event with the assistance of the application in real time. An extensive study of the data collected during the pilot is now underway to understand perceptions and reactions of the public to the products, as well as a GIS analysis of the different layers of information collected.

DESURBS is holding a conference on May 12th, to register or learn more about the project and conference visit: