The relentless push for new, cutting-edge technology has found cities investing in so-called “smart” solutions without also taking social demand into account.This, along with the spread of digital technology, has paradoxically contributed to a most modern disease: connected loneliness. Unsurprisingly, this rift — the state of being plugged-in but also physically isolated — leads to a greater demand for genuine social connection and stronger neighborly bonds. In an era in which there’s a growing push away from social interaction that begins and ends on the screen of a handheld device, Hubbster offers an alternative that creates value for both individuals and municipalities. Our mission is to strengthen neighborhoods and communities while providing a cure for the distinctly 21st century condition of connected loneliness. As the global urban population continues to expand at a breakneck pace, we believe that one key condition for a more equitable and vibrant city is the rediscovery of (sometimes overlooked or underutilized) public places as both dynamic civic living spaces and backdrops for shared experiences.
Hubbster harnesses the power of technology to create more livable — and playable — cities. In many urban areas, play is often restricted to playgrounds, which are primarily designed for young children.
Yet as Meghan Talaroswki’s empirical research for Studio Ludo reveals, city dwellers of all backgrounds and ages would greatly benefit from having the opportunity to play everywhere. Increased opportunities for public play also benefit cities themselves. Newly designed playscapes can be viewed as a form of public health intervention given that they attract people outside, promote physical fitness and boost mental well-being through social activity and engagement. And as the Real Play Coalition highlights, play sharpens the skills and mindset needed by the workforce of tomorrow by fostering creativity, adaptability and critical thinking. Hubbster seeks to make play an integrated part of modern life as a way to support more socially robust cities, one neighborhood at a time. By combining traditional recreational equipment with state-of-the-art technology, our solution facilitates face-to-face interaction and playful encounters in public spaces. These play-ready public installations — “Hubs” — unlock spontaneous social dialogue between fellow city dwellers, creating meaningful interpersonal connections. By doing so, Hubbster bolsters comradery and goodwill within communities and supports active lifestyles. More playful and socially engaged cities are ultimately happier, and in turn, more resilient ones.
Caroline F. Hansen
Caroline is Hubbster’s co-founder and CEO. Before Hubbster, Caroline has been working the last 10 years at the crossing between urban studies and innovation, both as a researcher and as a consultant. Caroline has an MSc in Regional and Urban Planning Studies from the London School of Economics and La Sorbonne in Paris.
Peter Just is Hubbster’s founder, president and chief evangelist. He is an award-winning designer, inventor and serial entrepreneur. He has been working with disruptive innovations for the last 25 years and has 10 patents and patents pending. Before Hubbster, Peter has had a remarkable career combining PR and innovative conceptual ideation, primarily in the context of politics and modern culture. He studied at Roskilde University (Denmark), MIT and Stanford University.