Co-City

Many strategic decision making process for city planning are usually using representative democracy. To create better civic engagement and raise the awareness of social responsibility, direct democracy could help the public participate in building the city together. As public space is an important space for every citizen, empowering citizens to constantly communicate their needs on using public spaces and encouraging changes that have real needs are crucial.

From research, Bliv Hørt is an official website from the government to communicate city planning to the public, which there’s low engagement as the website provides complex information in technical wordings. The language and illustrations were made for professionals and not easy to comprehend for citizens with non-architecture background.

 

This leads to research How might we improve the communication channel between citizens and the municipality which fosters more engagement in urban planning?

The team follows the process in the service design class below:

Desk research -> Insights -> Intercept interview -> Prototype 1 -> Interview & Co-creation -> Insights -> Prototype 2 -> Interview & Co-creation ->  -> Insights 3 -> Prototype 3 -> Expert Interview & Co-creation -> Final prototype

 

Each prototype was tested with citizens in public spaces. The team collected different feedback and iterated the concept 4 rounds.

Key Insights:

  1. People want references (successful cases or existing other projects) for their ideas

“I don’t have any good ideas, would be great if I can see others’ suggestions and support them.”

  1. People only care about the public space that they use or is near them.
  2. People might lose their interests in creating their own projects when presenting only rendered images.
  3. People didn’t feel their voice would make a difference. They have low trust in politicians.

“We have tried to mail them to ask for containers for our kitchen. But there are so many stakeholders and things go very slowly .”

  1. A physical stand with a larger sign in public space attracts more people because they feel more related to the place.
  2. An organised and digestible data report will help architects for understanding the needs and prioritize.

“It’s good to have data backup for us to prioritize and argue. You need to group it if there are too many answers.”

The result of these insights lead us to the final concept:

Co-city is a concept to bridge the communication gap between citizens and government. It’s set in the public space that everyone can easily access it. With simple interaction drag and drop, the participants can create their project on how they want the space to be like with their actual needs and the location they want. Some other existing projects are shown for them to either support or gain some guidances. After submission, Co-city system will organize the data and generate a report to the municipality. With data support, municipality can make a better informed decision and respond to the public of their future plans.

Public spaces will never be a finished product, the service is aiming to be an always developing entity where citizens have the possibility to change the space to meet their ever-changing needs.