(Smart City) User-Centric Design

How can we understand the role of users and support bottom-up approaches to city-making?

This workshop starts with a historical case of smart city innovation: the introduction of self-service in Amsterdam tramways around 1970. The case shows the failure of a top-down approach, despite several strategies to align the affordances of technology with the capacities and aspirations of users. Following the fate of self-service trams over their 25 years life cycle, a narrative unfolds about the Amsterdam people and the escalation of fare dodging ( zwartrijden).

The lessons learned from this case are a starting point for a co-design workshop developing ideas for using so-called ‘smart technologies’ for citizen empowerment: enabling citizens to form communities around issues and act from bottom-up to influence larger stakeholders such as the municipality, developers, city planners etc. Could novel technologies such as big data, media platforms or even games and play empower citizens to mobilise and organise them around collective societal issues?

This workshop is based on research project STEC: Smart Technologies, Empowered Citizens.

This workshop is part of the second round of the break-out sessions (14:15-15:15h) of the day conference Next Generation Cities on Thursday, June 21.