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Playful Citizen Participation in Urban Planning
 Posted on 31/05/2014 - 09:48
Idea Outline
We aim at amplifying citizen engagement and participation in processes of urban planning and project development. On a community platform, citizens will be able to comment urban development plans and contribute own ideas in a visual, playful manner.

The Challenge
Citizen participation in urban development projects, while legally possible or required in many countries, is often low due to a lack of awareness and interest, or the abstract nature the planning materials. In particular, younger people are often reluctant to engage themselves in these processes. Criticism or open protest sometimes only arises once construction works begin, long after the official hearings. There is a societal need to engage citizens earlier and more effectively in the process of urban development and planning, be that at the level of master plans or concrete land use or building plans. A key factor will be to significantly lower the barrier for participating by offering easy-to-use, attractive and concrete methods of evaluating proposals and of expressing own ideas.

The Solution

A platform will be developed that allows citizens to participate in urban planning processes at different levels. Users will have access to relevant planning materials online, in particular to 2D or 3D visualizations, and can comment and discuss the proposed plan. They will also be able to express own ideas and develop alternative plans, using a set of intuitive 2D/3D drawing and construction tools. This input can be fed into political decision and processes and the administrational planning.

In a first phase, we will define the functionality and user interface of the system based on mock-ups and informal descriptions which we will discuss with citizens and city planners. In a second phase, a prototype will be developed, based on geospatial datasets that already exist in many communities.


Target group and social impact
We aim at creating benefits for several target groups. The main stakeholders will be citizens who will be empowered to participate and engage themselves more easily and effectively in community planning processes. Targeting a broad audience, the platform will be particularly attractive to younger people. In contrast to existing participation processes, the creative potential of citizens will be exploited for improving the quality of planning. The platform will increase civic awareness and can lead to more consensual planning decisions. City planners will receive earlier and better feedback from citizens and can exploit the results of a broad creative process. Finally, political actors will be able to take better-informed decisions and anticipate citizen’s reactions to their decisions.




Competences of the applicant
Our group has long-standing experience in HCI, Interactive Systems and Social Media. We aim at creating highly usable, enjoyable and smart forms of interaction. Our main fields are: Information Visualization Intelligent Interactive Systems Playful & Social Interaction UI Engineering and UX Research For this project, the competences gained from several social media projects will be relevant.


Video Link
None posted
Social Category
  • Civic Empowerment and Community Engagement

  • Tecnology Category
  • Social Software
  • Web/Internet

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