Mill Road

The project

During August and September 2013, we ran a community project on Mill Road (Cambridge, United Kingdom). With the help of various businesses and local artists, we collected "community data" and visualised the results as street art.

smiley device in shop


Eighteen participating shops on Mill Road had a little "smiley device" installed on their counter, on which a different question around the Mill Road community were displayed every other day. Customers were encouraged to express their opinion.

visualisation outside shop


After processing the gathered data, we visualised the results on the pavement in front of the shops, with the help of local artists. We made use of chalk graffiti, which fades after rain. The visualisation became a bit bigger every other day.



Along Mill Road, 18 businesses participated: Oxfam, Computer Resale, CB1, Sally Ann, Bosphorus, Raj, Bacchanalia, H. Gee, Cho Mee, Mini Market, Black Cat, Interflora, Kailash, Urban Larder, RSPCA, Limoncello, Hillary's Greengrocers and Cafe Coco Belle.



We evaluated the effect of the public visualisation of community data. What does it do to the Mill Road community? How can it inform people on what other members of the community think of specific local issues? Does it encourage reflection and discussion?

visualisation outside shop


Visualising Mill Road is a project by Lisa Koeman (, Dr Vaiva Kalnikaite ( and Prof Yvonne Rogers from ICRI Cities at University College London.

You can also follow us on Twitter.


MetaTrend: '지역 공동체의 미디어가 되는 보도블럭', May 2014 (PDF [Korean])

Fast Company: 'How These Simple Chalk Infographics On The Sidewalk Created A Neighborhood', 25 March 2014 (link)

Experimenta Magazine: 'Visualising Mill Road, ICRI Cities', 17 March 2014 (link [Spanish])

Infosthetics: 'Visualising Mill Road: Informing Communities by Infographics in the Street', 27 February 2014 (link)

Mill Road Bridges Newsletter: 'Mill Road data project intrigues BBC News', November 2013 (PDF)

Cambridge Edition: 'Visualising Mill Road', October 2013 (PDF)

Cambridge News: 'High-tech study asks whether divide between two halves of Mill Road in Cambridge real or imagined', 31 August 2013 (link / PDF)

BBC News: 'Cambridge Mill Road chalk graffiti charts scientists' community data', 30 August 2013 (link)

Radio interview on BBC Radio Cambridge's 'The Paul Stainton Bigger Breakfast Show', 30 August 2013

Radio interview on Cambridge 105's '105 Drive with Julian Clover', 28 August 2013 (link)


Koeman, L., Kalnikaite, V. & Rogers, Y. (2015). "Everyone Is Talking about It!": A Distributed Approach to Urban Voting Technology and Visualisations. Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI '15). [PDF][BibTeX] (Honorable Mention Award, top 5%)

Koeman, L., Kalnikaite, V., Rogers, Y. & Bird, J. (2014). What Chalk and Tape Can Tell Us: Lessons Learnt for Next Generation Urban Displays. In Proceedings of the 3rd International Symposium on Pervasive Displays (PerDis '14). [PDF] [BibTex]