Abstract by AI
The Spacemaker app engages citizens in urban planning processes by raising awareness of urban change and providing opportunities for participation through contextual experiences.
Nowadays, cities are heavily investing in the digitization of participatory urban planning processes. Yet their hopes and efforts to involve young people in by utilizing digital tools remain unresolved, despite growing citizen interest.
How might I leverage technology to foster participation of young citizens in shaping their city?
Interview questions focussed on understanding the structure of current participatory planning processes. The questions try to unveil existing pain points from the municipalities and citizens perspective.
The tasks in the workshop seek to uncover the reasons for people's lack of participation in planning processes, as well as their desires, frustrations, and motivations regarding urban planning and trust in their municipality.
I summarized the vast majority of the findings into 6 overarching pain points that can serve as guidelines for future designs:
Citizens stated that they simply do not know that they can participate in such processes and that such opportunities must be actively sought.
Whether analog or digital, experts state that the target group does not change. Current campaigns targeting young people have little to no noticeable effect.
Especially young people’s willingness to get involved in city planning processes is challenged by the amount of time and effort that active participation is required.
Interviewees mentioned that it would help if citizens could experience projects in VR somewhere on the location where the project is happening.
If trust in the government is lacking, people do not feel that their opinion matters and are thus reluctant to participate in such processes.
Interviewees stated that the way topics are usually presented are very dry, difficult to understand and too factually.
I held several workshops to gather as many ideas as possible in order to spark my imagination, start discussions and explore them further.
After the workshops and inspired by the input, I ideated on several ideas from the user research results and finally narrowed them down to one solution.
With the App Clip, I found a solution that meets users' need for non-commitment, as they do neither have to download an app nor sign up. By simply spanning the code, opening the App Clip and instantly exploring concepts in AR on the location, the user is provided with an easy, quick, and engaging experience that has no strings attached.
Following their vote in the app, users will receive information on how other citizens have voted so far. To receive detailed information and updates about the project, users are encouraged to download the app.
I opted for a map-based overview of current projects categorized by topic. Users can explore projects and find out about meetings or opportunities to get involved. They are also able to get notified of the latest happenings.
The Dialog Feed allows citizens to discuss ideas, wishes and complaints with the municipality and other citizens. With the predefined topics by the municipality, I attempt to bypass the fact that, as with similar open citizen portals, complaints mainly accompany.
I put a lot of emphasis on the UI design to better appeal to the target audience and create a contrast to the often very factual, anonymous and text-heavy similar platforms.