Workshop report “How to engage citizens with the help of digital media”, Urbanism Week 2012 TU Delft


A while back I was invited to give a talk and host a small workshop during the 2012 edition of Urbanism Week. This is a yearly event organized by Polis Platform for Urbanism, the study association for Master’s students in Urbanism in the Faculty of Architecture at Delft University of Technology. This year’s theme was “Second Hand Cities: rethinking practice in times of standstill”. The organizers put together a pretty impressive program filled with interesting speakers. The workshop I gave was called “How to engage citizens with the help of digital media”. Here’s an impression.

12:30 − 12:45 Introduction Michiel de Lange
12:45 − 12:50 Form teams around issues
12:50 − 13:00 In teams, identify main issue to tackle (analysis phase)
13:00 − 13:10 Analyze stakeholders are involved and take a perspective (analysis phase)
13:10 − 13:30 Generate ideas (brainstorming phase)
13:30 − 14:00 Select one idea and start developing a rough prototype (prototyping phase)
14:00 − 14:30 Plenary presentations

In a handout (pdf) to the workshop participants I described the aim of the workshop in the following way:

The overarching aim is to use digital media technologies and principles in whatever form in the proposed design. The challenge is not only to use technologies but also to find out how to port collaborative principles from online culture to urban situations!
This can be in the process of gathering (new types of) information, in the creation of new networks of collaborators, enabling citizens to become active creators, in finding new financing, as part of the creative design process, as part of the proposed product or outcome, in the communication strategy, as a way to deal with maintenance, repair and repurposing, or in any other possible way you can think of.

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Reports on the ‘Designing for Ownership’ workshop at Strelka Institute, Moscow

From 9 − 14 July 2012 The Mobile City (in this case Marc Tuters and I) developed and gave a six-day workshop ’Designing for Ownership’ at the Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design in Moscow. The workshop is part of a series of Summer at Strelka workshops aimed at a practical change in the city’s microrayons. The microrayon where we did research and development is Yuzhnoye Medvedkovo (south Medvedkovo).

This workshop aims to help create an actual long-lasting change for the better in an urban neighborhood in Moskow. This is done by bringing together creative workshop participants and various neighborhood stakeholders (citizens, local government, businesses, neighborhood organizations, and so on). The workshop aims to find out how these different people can communicate better with each other, by making a prototype for a product, an event, or a service that acts as a catalyst for conversation.

The workshop also aspires to create a methodology for activating citizens with the aid of digital media technologies that could also be applied elsewhere. How can we design a process that allows people to feel ‘ownership’ over their living circumstances, and actively participate in making their environment a better place?

Read my reports of the six workshop days on the Partizaning Blog.


Some upcoming events & activities I am working on

The beginning of this academic year will be quite busy:


Sept 14 2011 Amsterdam.
Session during PICNIC 2011 “Future Cities: Designing for Ownership”

First, at PICNIC this year I’ll present a fresh new study about ‘Ownership in the Hybrid City’ that I’ve done together with Martijn de Waal. The study was commissioned by Virtueel Platform. More about this study (and the international event we are planning in its wake) soon at The Mobile City website.

More information >>

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Sept 20 2011 Istanbul
Session during ISEA 2011 “Beyond Locative: Media Arts after the Spatial Turn”

After PICNIC I rapidly move on to Istanbul for the ISEA 2011 symposium, where I’ll be in a session together with Marc Tuters, Tristan Thielmann, and Mark Shepard, to talk about the future of locative media.

More information >>

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Sept 22 – Nov 3 2011 Utrecht
Lecturing course “The Media City”,
Utrecht University

Just back from ISEA, I will start teaching a course that I have been developing as part time lecturer New Media Studies, Utrecht University. It is a totally new program for an existing bachelor II course, called “new media in the current debate” (the course is in Dutch). I have chosen to take ‘the media city’ as an umbrella theme. A fine group of guest lecturers will be giving talks. This is how the course looks in a nutshell:

week1, Sept 22 – Introduction (Michiel de Lange)

week2, Sept 29 – ‘Hybrid space’: the relation between digital and physical space (Eric Kluitenberg)

week3, Oct 6 – New media and urban publicness (Martijn de Waal)

week4, Oct 13 – Privacy & surveillance in the media city (Sander Flight)

week5, Oct 20 – Media art and the urban experience (Annet Dekker)

week6, Oct 27 – Urban play & gamification (Kars Alfrink)

week7, Nov 3 – eParticipation and co-design: designing cities with new media (Carl Lens)


Sep 1 2011 ->
Research project “Mobile Learning”

This academic year I will also devote one day per week to the research project in progress about “Mobile Learning”, joining several of my colleagues at the Center for the Study of Digital Games and Play, at Utrecht University, and mobile story-telling platform 7scenes.

More information >>