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Time Reimagined

Khyati Saraf, Master of Landscape Architecture Anji Clubb, Master of Urban Planning Harvard Graduate School of Design

towards a new representation of time


3 Artwork credit: Dave at Knechtus, “Radial Network”

Time Reimagined is inspired by a desire and need to view time in a new way. Since the industrial age, our society has shifted towards a linear view of time. Hours, days, weeks, months, years -- in calendars and other time management tools -- all are represented by a series of consecutive rows and columns. Meanwhile, task management tools, as a representation of how we spend our time, follow suit. These rectilineal visualizations leave no flexibility for imagination, no space for varying time perceptions. They convey the sense that time is marching ever onwards, constantly passing us by. They fail to comprehend the value and potential of the present moment. Through the design of a new time and task visualization tool, we hope to explore and convey a different sense of time. One that is less linear, less finite, and open to imagination and interpretation. We are currently in the research phase and are gathering feedback from scholars in psychology, sociology, and visualization to inform our initial prototype due out in early November. We sincerely thank you for taking time to offer your insight and feedback on our project. Time Reimagined is a project by Anji Clubb and Khyati Saraf as part of the Networked Urbanism studio at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Networked Urbanism is led by Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo, principals of the award-winning design firm Ecosistema Urbano based in Madrid.
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Time management and task management tools are linear and rigid. Such tools depict time unimaginatively, as a never-ending series of columns, rows, and boxes. They do not effectively distinguish between importance and urgency; they are monotone. They pay little attention to the quality of the present moment. They do not resonate with activities which are less clock-bound such as caring for loved ones or engaging in a creative exercise. They in turn prompt us to view time as ever marching onwards, constantly passing us by.
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A new tool which addresses the shortcomings of traditional time and task visualization, prompting a more holistic, flexible, non-linear approach.

To create a time visualization tool in the form of a digital app which

1. de-emphasizes linearity 2. emphasizes flexibility 3. focuses on quality of time and quality of life 4. accounts for importance and urgency

Credits (clockwise from top-left): Anji Clubb “projects”, Daniel K Walsh “Visualizing the Magnetic field of buckeyballs”, Sumio Iijima “Carbon Nano-


tube structure”, Anji Clubb “Steps”, Dave at Knechtus “Radial Network”, Bathsheba Sculpture LLC “Mobius Net”.


Prototype Design

Time Functions
• The “now” function gives a 24-hour day view • Circular structures de-emphasize linearity • Scheduled activities appear along the circumference • Unscheduled projects/activities appear in the center, varying in size according to importance and urgency • Emphasizes flexibility by allowing easy shifting of scheduled and unscheduled tasks • Focuses on quality of time and quality of life by showing important but not urgent activities, such as exercise, in the center

Task Functions
• The “projects” function gives a more flexible view of current and upcoming projects • Size and positioning varies by importance and urgency • An interactive and non-linear interface de-emphasizes linearity and emphasizes flexibility • The “steps” function allows the user to create a flexible, non-linear series of steps to complete a project

• The “always” function allows users to see a big picture view of how they spend their time as an amalgam of moments, projects, and activities • De-emphasizes linearity and emphasizes flexibility


Prototype Design

gives a holistic view of our time, including all activities such as sleeping

24 Hour Cycle - Day View

Projects Visualization

size and positioning determined by importance and urgency

Scheduled Tasks / Activities (in grey)

things that remain unscheduled but are still important and can be scheduled by dragging to the perimeter; vary in size according to importance and urgency

Floating Tasks / Time

Flexibility / Openness

interactive interface with moveable icons

Series of Steps for Project

A single activity in the picture of our lives Big Picture - collective

Easy for addition / subtraction of project tasks
interactive interface with moveable icons


Time Functions

Task Functions


Prototype Design


Focus Function
• The “focus” function allows users to specify an amount of time to work on a project • The timer appears as a calm circle rather than a digital clock rapidly counting down, conveying a meditative experience • Focuses user on quality of time

1. Do you feel the proposed design achieves the goals of de-emphasizing linearity, emphasizing flexibility, focusing on quality of time, and accounting for importance and urgency? 2. What would be your suggestions for improving this tool based on your experience and expertise? 3. Of our four goals, which do you feel is the most important for this tool/most lacking in what is currently available? 4. Do you have any suggestions regarding other experts to contact in the areas of time studies, psychology, visualization, programming, or other relevant fields? 5. Please feel free to offer any other comments or suggestions.



Khyati Saraf is currently a Candidate for a Master in Landscape Architecture (2014) degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design (GSD). She is a professional architect trained in India from the Sushant School of Art and Architecture in New Delhi. Her interests lie in exploring scales and boundaries through design and re-thinking the role that designers play in today’s world.

Anji Clubb is a candidate for a Master of Urban Planning (2014) degree from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. As an American who grew up in Taiwan, Anji speaks fluent Chinese and enjoys applying multicultural perspectives to her projects. She received a bachelor’s in international relations from Georgetown University, and her wider background is in public policy, philanthropy, Asia, and Buddhism.