Ravija Munshi

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Diane Jones Allen


The objective of this thesis is to study the impact of Interactive Digital Kiosks upon human social behavior in urban public spaces. William H. Whyte; an author of The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces, highlights several characteristics that promote the successful use of urban spaces: sitting space, nature, concessions, pathways, and triangulation (Whyte 1980). The way in which one of these five characteristics i.e. triangulation, influences human interaction is the focus of this thesis. Triangulation is the “process by which some external stimulus provides a linkage between people and prompts strangers to talk to each other as though they were not” (Whyte 1980 p.94). The aspects of human social behavior studied in this thesis are the demographics; duration of usage; browsing data preferences; self-congestion, meaning the amount and location of new interaction; and individualism. Using the West End in downtown Dallas as a case study, this thesis uses on-site observations and interviews with users and designers/manufacturers to analyze the role of the smart kiosks, how they play a crucial role in promoting users’ enjoyment of public spaces and user interaction. For many years, the Internet of Things (IoT) has captured headlines, with various media outlets describing its potential to transform lives by enabling “smart”, sensor-enabled devices to communicate with each other, and with end users. By combining physical and digital infrastructure, city leaders can more efficiently use data to provide their constituents with an enhanced quality of life (Smart Cities Living Lab Case Study 2018). In contrast, relatively little research has been conducted on the relationship between specific Interactive Digital Kiosk functions and human social behaviors. In response to these gaps in the literature, this research investigates functions of Interactive Digital Kiosks to determine how these factors influence human social behavior. The West End which represents a microcosm of the urban environment and has connectivity to the downtown area is chosen as the case study, as Dallas is a major city that is a great testing ground with a diverse population (Smart Cities Living Lab Case Study 2018). This research uses qualitative techniques (Deming and Swaffield 2011) (Taylor and Bogdan 1998) in the form of the secondary data, researcher’s passive on-site observations to analyze the impact of social interaction and in-depth interviews with the kiosk users and designers. Visual space design factors; kiosk installation locations; typology and relationship to the surrounding environment, are recorded in photographs. This research also utilizes in-depth interviews with visitors to the location and designers to obtain a rich understanding of the users’ experiences and perspectives. Also, the research uses behavioral mapping by preparing various ethnographic studies (Deming and Swaffield 2011). Data analysis and findings from this research illustrate how various Interactive Digital Kiosks’ functions and location characteristics play an important role in people’s social behavior in West End, Dallas. Analyzed research themes are developed from both observation and interview data from the West End. The themes in this research identify which functions of Interactive Digital Kiosks can affect human social behavior and discuss how they are impacted. Themes are derived from the learning of the literature review. The findings utilize data from secondary sources, on-site observation and on-site interviews with the kiosk users and DIA team members to understand the relationship between Market Street characteristics, the kiosk features and human social behavior in West End. The defined characteristics(measures) in Market Street include the restaurant patio and seating spaces, widened brick sidewalks and crosswalks, street parking, mixed-use surrounding, transit connectivity, bike stations, historical district etc. In addition, eight themes are developed from the data: variety, accessibility, privatization of public space, triangulation, user conflict, safety/security, symbolic value, user-friendly features. Based on the defined themes from behavioral mapping analysis and on-site interviews analysis at the Market Street in West End, researcher found that kiosk has potential to make a positive impact to encourage opportunities for social interaction but needs additional key features to make it more usable by people and address issues like digital divide. When designing and planning future urban spaces, these characteristics and features can be implemented to enhance the aspects of human social behavior studied in this thesis.


Interactive digital kiosk, Social behavior, Smart furniture, Triangulation


Architecture | Landscape Architecture


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington