Group 3 – Civic Tech & Citizen Design Science

Civic Tech & Citizen Design Science or how to build the next generation of Responsive Cities

Group under the guidance of ETH and KAIST

Lu, Hangxin – ETH
Clavier, Fabien – ETH
Lee, David – KAIST

Responsive Cities are the new frontier for the development of Smart Cities. It moves citizens from being in the centre of observation to becoming in the centre of action. Responsive Cities engage stakeholders including residents and prospective citizens from the very beginning in the planning and management of their built environment. To do so, Responsive Cities leverage human-centred approaches based on civic technologies and citizen design science. Civic technologies refer to the array of technologies that enable engagement, participation or enhance the relationship between people and government by improving citizen communications, public decision, government delivery of services and infrastructure. Citizen design science is a participatory design approach that engages citizens through online design tools and interactive system in the planning process.
This workshop aims to discuss the role of the data-driven civic technologies and participatory design, as well as explore how interactive and collaborative systems could better inform the articulation of civic engagement, urban design, and decision-making. Several questions will arise, for instance:

• What are the challenges and opportunities civic technologies and citizen design science bring in urban design and planning?
• How collaborative and interactive technologies can help collect citizen feedbacks, foster government accountability, and improve the quality of future urban planning and design decisions?
• Which guidelines could we think of to use future responsive ICT systems responsibly and strike a balance between improved transparency and efficiency?

In this workshop, we would like to invite scholars from different disciplines, such as urban design, planning, urban studies, computer science, data science, as well as practitioners already using and interested in civic tech, to think collectively about the potential use-cases and challenges in the urban planning and design space.

Two sets of research questions
1. If you build it, will they come? Has technology really increased the amount and level of civic participation? What are the unsolved obstacles, both social and technical, to increasing citizen engagement, for example in South Korea and Switzerland?

2. Will urban planning ever become fully democratized? Power and expertise in designing urban space have always been concentrated in the hands of the few. Can technology make a meaningful impact on this process, or do we need fundamental policy change to empower citizens? Is this even desirable?