Downtown Iowa City uses AI Technology

for Streetscape Communications

“Hello Dubuque Steet” allows the community to have interactive conversations and ask questions
about the Dubuque Street Reconstruction Project and local businesses.

(Iowa City, IA) – March 25, 2024 – The Iowa City Downtown District (ICDD) is continuing its collaboration with tech firm, Hello Lamp Post as an innovative way to engage with the community and downtown visitors. The AI software allows community members to have direct and unique conversations with an interactive persona via an SMS text or web-based conversation.

Launching this week with its next installment, the collaboration focuses on the Dubuque Street Reconstruction Project. The “Hello Dubuque Street” edition powered by the Hello Lamp Post technology encourages people to have a conversation with the street for information about the City’s project, why it’s happening, and what improvements the street will have once complete. Participants can also use it to discover special offers, promotions, and shopping and dining recommendations for businesses on the block.

“The Hello Lamp Post technology continues to provide visitors with the opportunity to interact with the district in an engaging way. You can strike up a conversation with the street, ask about happy hour, see how you can get free delivery, and find other special offers from Dubuque Street businesses. Have fun and ask for a joke. New information will be added over the construction months so the conversation will be ever-changing. It’s a great way to ask questions, stay up-to-date on construction, learn about the businesses, and see other downtown announcements.” said Director of Marketing, Christopher Hunter.

Hello Lamp Post is a unique communication platform that uses customized A.I. technology to allow cities, business improvement districts, and neighborhoods to engage with community members in an accessible way. The platform’s concept allows community members and visitors to interact, ask questions, provide feedback, and give a persona to a place or inanimate agents in the public space and bring them to life with their own voice.

Europe has used the software over the last decade to guide cultural tours, report crime, and provide comments on construction projects. Communities throughout the world continue to use the tool to encourage anyone with mobile devices to have two-way ‘chats’ with their surroundings and provide key local information while gathering important perceptions, opinions, and ideas. ICDD’s collaboration in 2022 was one of the first projects for a city in the United States to introduce the technology. The program was used to provide workers, residents, and visitors with information on holiday happenings and gift recommendations. ICDD used it again in 2023 for Amanda Parer’s public art installation Intrude, where users could chat with the giant bunnies downtown.

To interact with the surroundings, visitors can text “Hello Dubuque Street” to 319-346-3443 or scan the QR code on the red signs on the construction fencing surrounding Dubuque Street. They will receive real-time answers and have the opportunity to ask questions. In the upcoming months, more conversations and objects may be introduced to provide pedestrians with more ways to engage with public art, provide personal feedback about their experience downtown, or learn about the latest events and programming.