Congratulations to my co-authors, Jed Brubaker, Sen Hirano, Melissa Mazmanian, and Gillian R. Hayes! I am pleased to announce that our paper, “It takes a network to get dinner: designing location-based systems to address local food needs” has been awarded a Best Paper Award at Ubicomp 2013!
Based on an 18-month qualitative study that included the creation and testing of design considerations and a prototype location-based information system (LBIS), this research provides empirical insight into the daily practices of a wide variety of individuals working to address food insecurity in one U.S. county. Qualitative fieldwork reveals that nonprofit organizations in the food assistance ecology engage in location-based information practices that could be enhanced by the design of a LBIS. Two practices that would benefit from a collaborative LBIS are 1) practices of matching in which nonprofit workers help individuals who are seeking assistance to food resources and 2) practices of distribution in which nonprofit workers help organizations access and deliver food resources to clients. In order to support such practices across organizations the cooperative design component of this research suggests that an LIBS should: support the role of intermediaries who engage in practices of matching and distribution; provide interactive mapping tools that match resources to need; enable organizations to control visibility over specific data; and document work and impact. This research further suggests that designers should explore the wide variety of spatial patterns that must align and overlap such that ecologies of nonprofit organizations might synergistically work together to address pressing social needs.