CITIZEN DESIGN SCIENCE

 

A combination of Citizen Science and Design Science employing bottom up flow of data and information to improve the planning and functioning of a city.

The last decades in urban design research are characterised by a focus on technological aspects of cities which is commonly known as the smart city strategy.  The concerns and interests of citizens are coming to the forefront nowadays with the awareness that a liveable city does not only consist of good infrastructure and sustainable energy supply but also citizen input and feedback. In this paper, we present Citizen Design Science as a new strategy for cities to integrate citizens’ ideas and wishes in the urban planning process. The approach is to combine the opportunity of crowdsourcing opinions and thoughts by citizens through modern information and communication technology (ICT) with active design tools. The active design feedback from a city’s inhabitants is identified as a yet missing but essential way towards a responsive city. We therefore propose a system to merge Citizen Science and Citizen Design, which requires a structured evaluation process to integrate Design Science methods for urban design.

We show examples of existing approaches of Citizen Design Science and present the Quick Urban Analysis Kit (qua-kit) as an application of this methodology. The toolkit allows users to move geometries in given environments and provides the opportunity for non-experts to express their ideas for their neighbourhood or city.

 

If there is no Citizen Science, the active designing with people will stay on a low level. Even for design issues on a neighbourhood scale, it is nowadays necessary to involve more than thousands of people since many people live in one neighbourhood of a high-density urban area.

CDS without Citizen Design, may be an option for current cities to become more liveable. However, it would not enable opportunities to get creative ideas for urban design. The allure of Citizen Design is also the gamification aspect. Not only is it a “no right or no wrong” process, but people can also express their ideas in an unanticipated way which could mean a higher motivation to participate.

 

Design Science methods are indispensable for CDS. It is simply not feasible for a designer to analyse thousands of design proposals and find commonalities between all ideas. In the same way, technologies are used to provide tools for Citizen Science, they must be employed to evaluate the designs.

Contact: 
Hangxin Lu  | lu@arch.ethz.ch | +41 (0) 44 633 72 14 

Johannes Mueler (FCL Singapore)