Anchor – Your local information network for when disaster strikes

School of Visual ArtsUnited States


Concept / Student


Sole Designer: Elushika Weerakoon


I have experienced first hand both hurricanes, Katrina and Sandy. My grandparents, friends, neighbors, and residents of New Orleans lost their house and livelihoods as a result of Katrina’s force. People were left with nothing but the clothes on their back, affecting them not only physically, but also psychologically.

When disaster strikes, the first thing that residents do is try to contact their loved ones or call for help. What happens when connectivity networks are unable to cope with the unexpected surge, or worse, are themselves damaged by the disaster?

Anchor is a wireless service that links up neighborhoods during an emergency to keep residents informed and connected to city agencies when the grid is down. This backup infrastructure is solar-powered and installed on existing lamp posts, building resilience in cities increasingly at risk from extreme events.

The lamp post that brightens the streets has now become a beacon of hope and access to information during and after a crisis. There are over 250,000 street-lights and an estimated 12460 traffic lights throughout New York City. During and after a flood these tall objects are still standing. Most of the time they have lost power, but that is not always the case.

In the Anchor website, residents are able to chat with local agencies and see city updates in real time. During a crisis, when residents do not know what is going on, they become anxious. Multiply that by thousands of residents it becomes a very chaotic in an already chaotic situation and this impedes disaster relief efforts.

This add-on will consist of a wifi router that will create a free, resilient, stand-alone communication system where residents by connect and chat with local agencies.

Anchor, Your local information network for when disaster strikes.



Interaction Awards is an initiative of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA), a global community of over 100,000 individuals worldwide dedicated to the professional practice of Interaction Design. Find out how to join your local group and get involved at

© 2012 - 2018 Interaction Design Association