E-par­tic­i­pa­tion: En­gaged Par­tic­i­pa­tion

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Think BETA: Participative Evolution of Smart Cities

Presentation Title:

  • E-par­tic­i­pa­tion: En­gaged Par­tic­i­pa­tion

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • Panel: Think BETA: Participative Evolution of Smart Cities

    At Kris­tianstad Uni­ver­sity the in­for­mat­ics group have founded the “Col­lab­o­ra­tive media Lab” in­clud­ing par­tic­i­pants with a back­ground in acad­e­mia, de­sign and in art. The aim of the lab is to work with de­sign of new tech­nol­ogy and its ap­pli­ca­tion with a user-cen­tered per­spec­tive in both real, vir­tual and mixed media set­tings. Hav­ing worked with par­tic­i­pa­tory de­sign and 3D/vir­tual re­al­i­ties in sev­eral de­sign/re­search pro­ject, we have seen the strength of col­lab­o­ra­tive de­sign tools that allow new­com­ers to de­sign and work with 3D. They were able to en­gage in de­sign­ing in re­la­tion to rather com­plex sce­nar­ios and spaces, and in that way ex­plore the de­sign chal­lenges that are of­fered in a par­tic­u­lar con­text. This has typ­i­cally been done in groups lo­cated  and work­ing to­gether in the same room. But now with the so­cial web in­clud­ing dis­trib­uted and shared col­lab­o­ra­tive en­vi­ron­ments these set­ting can be used for en­gag­ing par­tic­i­pants in a di­a­logue of fu­ture urban de­sign chal­lenges in new ways. In our for­mer re­search we gained a lot of knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence of how to use com­put­ers and soft­ware as tools when di­rect­ing and con­cep­tu­al­ize tra­di­tional pro­duc­tions, but we still have a lot to learn when it comes to see­ing dig­i­tal ma­te­r­ial as a de­sign or artis­tic ma­te­r­ial in it­self, es­pe­cially in the area of col­lab­o­ra­tion. How­ever it is not so strange, as dig­i­tal de­sign is not yet as ma­ture as tra­di­tional de­sign. Dig­i­tal ma­te­r­ial have char­ac­ter­is­tics that dif­fer a great deal from those with which most peo­ple are ac­cus­tomed. Dig­i­tal ma­te­ri­als are usu­ally more com­plex and flex­i­ble, less trans­par­ent and tan­gi­ble. We have to point out the need for a more pro­found re­la­tion­ship when and where to use dig­i­tal ma­te­ri­als and tools. We be­lieve that in­creased com­plex­ity in cre­ative de­vel­op­ment calls for both dis­ci­pli­nary depth and in­te­gra­tive skills. E-par­tic­i­pa­tion is a way of let­ting the pub­lic into plan­ing and de­ci­sion processes. The key­word here is “processes”. Rather than e-democ­racy, e-par­tic­i­pa­tion is about cre­at­ing di­a­logues, and being able to con­tribute with new sug­ges­tions and ideas.?Working in the re­search field of de­sign, we stress the im­por­tance to give the co-cre­ators a com­mon and grounded point of de­par­ture. We there­fore use a mix of fic­tion and facts in our plan­ning and writ­ing process, to pro­vide rel­e­vant and en­gag­ing back­ground in­for­ma­tion. This is later are handed over as sce­nar­ios to the in­vited par­tic­i­pants.

    The sce­nar­ios pro­vide de­tailed and spe­cific data, which then the co-cre­ator can use as ref­er­ence ma­te­r­ial for their fu­ture ac­tion. The sce­nar­ios acts very much as con­straints, but also as a first gen­er­a­tor in a chain of as­so­cia­tive de­sign work that fol­lows, pro­duc­ing a shared pro­pos­als. Based on sce­nar­ios our model of ex­plo­ration starts in a be­liev­ably ter­ri­tory, were all of the co-cre­ators put for­ward, ex­per­i­ment and es­tab­lish­ing it­er­a­tions be­tween the them­selves and the sce­nar­ios in a col­lab­o­ra­tive 3d set­ting. The sce­nar­ios. pro­vide knowl­edge to the dif­fer­ent stake­hold­ers and in­flu­ence their de­vel­op­ment using this shared 3d en­vi­ron­ment as the sur­face for ex­plor­ing con­cepts and com­mu­ni­cate them amongst the par­tic­i­pants in an con­stant di­a­logue. A Col­lab­o­ra­tive 3d en­vi­ron­ment can be an ef­fec­tive en­vi­ron­ment for ex­pand­ing ideas and gain a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of the de­sign task. To­tally un­trained per­sons are able to build rather com­plex spaces within short time lim­its. It is play­ful, fun and stim­u­lat­ing to use, pro­moted in­no­v­a­tive think­ing and in that way ac­ti­vat­ing the de­sign process. Our con­clu­sion is that this is due to the fact that E-par­tic­i­pa­tion and the ac­tual de­sign of vir­tual spaces can sup­port par­tic­i­pants and stake­hold­ers to com­bine dif­fer­ent ideas, ne­go­ti­ate and pri­or­i­tize. In this way the shared en­vi­ron­ment deep­ened the un­der­stand­ing of de­sign­ing in the con­text of fu­ture and com­plex urban spaces.

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