Team: Julie Hosteing (CRI), Lujia Cha Cha Yang (Harvard), Julio Mendez Cabrera (Harvard), Guillaume Zucman (SciencesPo)
Take a seat. Look around. Take count of all the electronic devices surrounding you. Could you do without them? For thousands of Parisians, doing without is not an option.
The Internet plays an essential role in our lives nowadays, but the ever-present digital divide inhibits the most vulnerable in our society from fully taking advantage of the benefits it confers. Paris itself has an amazing Wi-Fi network, but the problem lies in the lack of public devices with which to access the Internet. Our project seeks to fill this niche in an inclusive, non-socially stigmatizing way. (continue reading below)
To reach the broadest public possible, an effective medium is a piece of accessible street furniture. The bench is more than just sitting: it is retrofitted with tablets that give access to essential online services and promote civic engagement, creating a network of accessibility and connectivity. By doing this, it becomes a hub that transfers information between people, just like synapses facilitate the circulation of information in the brain.
We believe the bench is a medium for social change.
We believe Internet access is a basic human right.
We believe connections have the power to reduce inequalities.
Introducing the WE-Bench.