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Vilnius shone at the ROCK Open Knowledge Week conference

During the project implemented in Vilnius for more than three years, the neuroanalytical system developed and applied by VGTU researchers together with Vilnius Municipality attracted great interest among the project partners and participants of the final conference “ROCK Open Knowledge Week: Cultural Heritage Leading Urban Futures“. The project team is pleased that despite the fact that the ROCK project is coming to an end, the products developed during it, such as the Vilnius Happiness Index, and research will continue, and the experience will reach other countries.

At the final ROCK project conference in Horizon 2020 program, which took place on October 27-30, not only Vilnius ROCK team but also other model cities presented their results. Almost 800 listeners from various countries of the world (Europe, USA, Japan, etc.) participated. One of the best performing Vilnius ROCK team presented a unique neuroanalytical system and its application to the needs of a sustainable city.

“It is good that we can enjoy the compliments and excellent evaluations of Horizon 2020 experts and see the real results: the uniqueness of the neuroanalytical system, integration into Vilnius city strategies and further project activities upon completion of the program,” said VGTU Professor Artūras Kaklauskas.

During the conference, the initiatives of Vilnius city municipality and society to create a better emotional environment during the quarantine announced in the spring did not go unnoticed – the capital’s public spaces turned into an open-air outdoor cafe, library to one‘s door, mask fashion week, the first outdoor cinema at the airport, etc. Concern for the security of all residents, business security has received admiration and support. The beach in Lukiškės Square was not forgotten, where it was possible to feel like by the sea and watch a movie in the evening. It was in this square that one of the sensors of the ROCK project captured the emotions of the beach visitors, and the results collected showed that the average total expression of happiness in this place was much higher than in the rest of the city at the same time. Research has also shown that changes in the mood of the population are related to the impact of the environment, to the seasons, the day and time of the week, and events organized in public spaces, such as the Vilnius Festival of Lights.

“Looking more broadly, having the courage and initiative of the team are the components that have determined the success and results of the ROCK project. We have no doubt that after this conference, the echo of Vilnius ROCK results was heard outside the project. Our researchers will have even more opportunities to improve the created system, which helps to create urban culture, public spaces acceptable to both the local community and the businesses being established there, ” as summed up by Dalia Bardauskienė, ROCK project manager.

ROCK project team and enthusiasts from Go Vilnius, Public Institution Old Town Renewal Agency believe that the accumulated depersonalized information could be useful in the future not only for urban and cultural event planning specialists, assessing the quality of municipal services, what is already being tested and practically installing sensors on Vilnius beaches, but also in the development of other personalized services. The collected data could help in finding solutions on how to activate certain places in the city, the Old Town, or for which groups of people and at what time it is best to offer one or another service.

“The neuroanalytic system recognizes 7 key human emotions (cheerful, sad, angry, surprised, terrified, disgusted, neutral state), emotional state (boredom, interest and confusion) and physiological parameters (facial temperature, respiratory rate, pulse, age, sex). Analyzing these depersonalized data, the total expression of happiness is examined, taking into account people’s moods and physiological state: circadian rhythm, days of the week, magnetic earth activity, air temperature, wind, humidity, etc. ” summarizes Artūras Kaklauskas, ROCK project manager on part of VGTU.

Over the last three years, ten ROCK cities – Athens, Bologna, Cluj-Napoca, Eindhoven, Lisbon, Liverpool, Lyon, Skopje, Turin and Vilnius – have worked with service providers and knowledge brokers to test and improve a wide range of tools and methods designed to shape a sustainable, cultural heritage-driven future for the city. The ROCK Open Knowledge Week brought together interdisciplinary research, believing that knowledge based on science-based practices will create new synergies at the level of cities across Europe. 

Interesting statistics of the ROCK project conference “Open Knowledge Week: Cultural Heritage Leading Urban Futures:

15 hours of live broadcasts over 4 days

57 rapporteurs

34 industry participants

794 registered participants

458 active participants

11342 conference page openings

01:00 – 02:49 the average time spent per conference participant per day

106 unscheduled quick meetings

171 individual interviews throughout the conference year