“Science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary.” Albert Einstein said, joining the modern advocates of a morally neutral science. The Ristinummi 2.0 research project however goes beyond this as its nurture derives from the centuries old roots of modern Western science, aiming at boosting the condition of human life. The father of the modern scientific project, Francis Bacon, contested the view of science motivated solely by curiosity and determined inquisition. Instead, Bacon asserted that the goal of science should be to ease human suffering and to empower humanity.
While we by no means claim to hold the key to end human suffering, we do however strive for providing means - grounded in scientific research - for human beings to enrich their lives if they so wish. Albeit we’re naturally curious by heart, the purpose of the project is not to decipher an ultimate truth but rather to assist in strengthening social and ecological sustainability as well as well-being in a suburb of the town of Vaasa. Additionally, we do so with a user-centered approach, nudging people to be a part of their local society whenever they want to with the help of technology. We figured that we’d turn the tables and consider digital services as a means for leading a happier and sustainable life, instead of making digital gadgetry and electronic services once more a whipping boy for distress. So in short, boiling our mission in the project down to a one-liner: we seek to lower the threshold of being part of the local community for everyone who wishes to be so by offering user-friendly digital means that stimulate engagement and relations.
Therefore, we’ve created geo caches telling the tale of the magical Ristinummi suburb scattered here and there in Ristinummi. The coming fall, senior citizens are welcome to engage in this digitally supported treasure hunt in their residential area. The benefits of the geocaching experience are multilayered as it offers a possibility to play and to challenge oneself, to discover novelties, together with others in a social setting, outdoors where you learn about the local history and geography, all the while you exercise. Our intrinsic human needs of physical activity, social relatedness, competence and pleasure are being met when geocaching.
Another digital tool for strengthening well-being in midst of busy lives is a website enabling people with different cultural backgrounds to meet each other over a cup of coffee or tea in their homes. Tea time (www.teatime.fi <http://www.teatime.fi> ) enables for encounters between locals and globals which promises powerful ways to strengthening the sense of community and the individual’s own essential part of it. This is, in our view, technology for all the right reasons!
If you’re in doubt or have questions, feel free to contact us! Project manager: Susanne Hägglund