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Students plot out the parks of tomorrow in Design Sprint competition

April 27, 2023

Luddy Indianapolis students raced to the finish during a pair of “Parks of the Future” Design Sprint challenges this March. Teams of students earning master’s degrees in Human-Computer Interaction envisioned how public recreation spaces might one day feature messages from the past, co-working spaces, holograms, perfume creation, and dancing in the moonlight at a silent disco.

Held in partnership with IU’s Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering in Indianapolis, and Indy Parks and Recreation, the Design Sprint competitions were March 8 and March 31. Nearly $3,000 in scholarship funds was distributed among the winners.

Student teams accepted the challenge to dream big as they envisioned what the parks of the future could look like, and how they would serve the public. About 60 graduate students worked with parks and recreation employees, visited city parks, and had just two weeks to come up with their concepts.

Support and guidance

“We are very grateful for our partnership with Indy Parks and Recreation,” says retired Luddy Indianapolis professor Steve Mannheimer, who led the Design Sprint. “Director Phyllis Boyd, and assistant directors Don Colvin and Kim Campbell (and two other senior staff) participated in informative sessions and also judging the final presentations.”

All of the student teams repeatedly acknowledged their gratitude for the invaluable help and support they received from Mannheimer. They also expressed their thanks for the assistance they received from Boyd, Colvin, Campbell, and other Indy Parks staff.

Design Sprint No. 1

First place: “Memory Park” and “Night Activities,” from Kshitij Patil, Pravallika Navuluru, and Varuun Pochampally

“Memory Park,” Patil notes, “is a haven for people to cherish memories and experiences with their loved ones, transcending the constraints of time and space with the magic of communication.”

The team members envisioned a future park “using technology to record personal greetings from relatives and friends, geo-pinning these messages to specific objects and places in a park.”

Bringing the party to the park, they said “Night Activities” would light up the night, “perhaps including the ‘silent disco’ concept, where groups of people use earbuds to hear the same music.”

Design Sprint No. 2

First place: “Hues and Aromas,” by Hemanth Pawar and Manali Parab

Parab described their project as “a unique concept that aimed to create an immersive sensory experience that would attract visitors to the park by leveraging the botanical heritage of Indiana through activities like natural dye painting and perfume making.”

“We aimed to create unique and personal experiences encouraging visitors to form lasting memories in the parks,” Pawar added.

Professor’s Choice

The team of Shreyas Patel, Drishti Jogadia, Aditya Nair, and Nisarg Rajpura received the Professor’s Choice award for their interrelated concepts to expand the experience of Dr. Martin Luther King Park in Indianapolis, home of the “Landmark for Peace” memorial, which honors King and Robert F. Kennedy.

“Parks of the Future” winning entries

  • Design Sprint No. 1 (March 8, 2023)

    1st place: “Memory park and night activities,” from Kshitij Patil, Pravallika Navuluru, and Varuun Pochampally
    2nd place: “Holograms, table-top games, adult playground,” from Sanjukta Choudhary and Mency Lobo

    3rd place: “Health through nutrition and stress relief,” from Ravi Shankar Kunapuli and Sangeetha Parthasarathi

    4th place: “Musical playground and geo-fencing,” from Laura Levine, Uzoamaka Nwaiwu, Nithika Sanghi, and Manvish Paladugu

    Honorable Mention: Various concepts were proposed by Arati Ghimire, Ching-Min Tseng, Ritu Harish Salian, Tarun Sarana, Sai Koya, Jai Thota, and Shanmukhi Damerla.

  • Design Sprint No. 2 (March 31, 2023)

    1st place:  “Hues and aromas,” from Manali Parab and Hemanth Pawar

    2nd place: “Smart benches and public art,” from Dharshi Bhavsar, Sanjana Pachipulusu, and Noyonika Saha

    3rd place: “Grow hub” (co-working spaces in parks) and “Bloom” (dating structures/places in parks), from Salonee Nadkarni, Pradnya Suryavanshi, and Riya Marium Thomas

    4th place (tied):

    • Martin Luther King Jr. Park, “Historical enhancements” and “Trees of wisdom,” from Drishti Jogadia, Aditya Nair, Shreyas Patel, and Nisarg Rajpura. (This team also received the Professor’s Choice award.)
    • “Madam C.J. Walker trail with food; family connection to trees,” Sumanth Guntumadugu and Srimayi Rapolu

    5th place (tied)

    • “Timeless journey” (heritage train ride through a park), from Mansi Rajendra Kasar and Swapnil Raj
    • Organic/harmony park from Khushboo Chandnani and Preksha Kulkarni

Media Contact

Joanne Lovrinic