Currently, there is a large gap between the political system in The Netherlands and its citizens. Elections are held every four years and public inquiries can be lengthy. However, citizens are getting more and more used to social media enabling them to respond instantly and collaborate at a large scale. At the same time we see the rise of new technologies such as smart phones, interactive media with gesture and touch interfaces, that allow for a more rich interaction between citizens and the authorities. In this way participation of citizens can be greatly increased.

These interactive technologies could be part of our future smart cities. But this future of participation is threatened by a vision of a smart city being a control room for majors to monitor the citizens and while invading their privacy.

In this research project it was found that citizens need to be facilitated in order te start participating. Three dimensions were identified: the ability to express oneself, the empathy for others, and the satisfaction during the participation process. Based on these findings an interface was designed. This design could be the layout of a participating system te be implemented in future smart cities, allowing for governments and citizens to co-create the public space.

Click here to download the report: Participation and Co-creation Public Domain STT (Sept, 2011).


Delft University of Technology, department of Industrial Design.
Student: Nathalie Sembert.
Coaching: Ingrid Mulder and Pieter Jan Stappers, professor Industrial Design Engineering.