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Urban Innovation Through Co-design Scenarios


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This paper aims to contribute to current research on learning through designing for urban innovation. It provides a framework methodology for a multidisciplinary ecosystem as a participatory method developed in the context of Mobility Urban Values (MUV), an EU Horizon 2020 project (2017–2020), that addresses the issue of behavioral change towards (more) sustainable mobility lifestyle in EU cities. The paper frames the MUV method through the combination of theories on collaborative urban planning and participatory design with a background rooted on governance of public participation, as the interplay between co-creation (thick participation) and co-design (thin participation). MUV participatory method is envisioned as a learning infrastructure that engages at different levels communities, citizens, and stakeholders. This paper addresses the question on how enabling urban innovation through sensitive phases of sociological and technical components to produce learning. The conceptual background of the MUV method and the first application phase of co-creation/co-design for the old city center neighborhood in Palermo, Italy, provide lessons on the results of this approach for a future research agenda and the loop learning. While the method is adopted specifically in relation to mobility urban values, MUV method can inspire a variety of other cases questioning urban innovation through socio-technical learning.
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Urban Innovation Through Co-design Scenarios
Lessons from Palermo
Enza Lissandrello
, Nicola Morelli
, Domenico Schillaci
, and Salvatore Di Dio
1Department of Planning, Aalborg University, Rendsburggade 14, 9000 Aalborg, Denmark
2Department of Architecture, Design and Media Technology, Aalborg University,
Rendsburggade 14, 9000 Aalborg, Denmark
3PUSH Design Lab, Piazza Sant’Anna 3, 90133 Palermo, Italy
Abstract. This paper aims to contribute to current research on learning through
designing for urban innovation. It provides a framework methodology for a
multidisciplinary ecosystem as a participatory method developed in the context
of Mobility Urban Values (MUV), an EU Horizon 2020 project (2017–2020),
that addresses the issue of behavioral change towards (more) sustainable mobility
lifestyle in EU cities. The paper frames the MUV method through the combination
of theories on collaborative urban planning and participatory design with a back‐
ground rooted on governance of public participation, as the interplay between co-
creation (thick participation) and co-design (thin participation). MUV participa‐
tory method is envisioned as a learning infrastructure that engages at different
levels communities, citizens, and stakeholders. This paper addresses the question
on how enabling urban innovation through sensitive phases of sociological and
technical components to produce learning. The conceptual background of the
MUV method and the first application phase of co-creation/co-design for the old
city center neighborhood in Palermo, Italy, provide lessons on the results of this
approach for a future research agenda and the loop learning. While the method is
adopted specifically in relation to mobility urban values, MUV method can inspire
a variety of other cases questioning urban innovation through socio-technical
Keywords: Participatory methods · Capacity building · Loop learning
1 Introduction
Participatory methods for urban innovation constitute resources for building social
capital and system-thinking learning, through the exchange among diverse perspectives,
knowledge, and experiences in local contexts. Learning, through participatory methods,
implies a systemic perspective in which the confrontation with initial assumptions of
participants, the creation of meanings, the mindset of people involved, sometimes open
up opportunities for capacity building and making urban places [1]. This paper explores
© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019
H. Knoche et al. (Eds.): SLERD 2018, SIST 95, pp. 110–122, 2019.
the linkage between learning-by-design and urban innovation. It draws from a concep‐
tual background that combines studies on urban governance and participatory design [2
8] to advance a new urban participatory method that includes different degrees of thick
and thin participation [9] into an ecosystem of loop learning [1012]. This method has
been envisioned within the context of Mobility Urban Values (MUV), a Horizon 2020
EU research and innovation project, aimed at shaping an innovative urban policy devel‐
opment to improve livability and health conditions in EU cities. This paper discusses
the main concepts and approaches that have emerged in MUV research on participatory
methods for urban innovation with an empirical exploration of the first co-creation/co-
design phase in Palermo, Italy (December 2017).
In this context, urban innovation is understood in relation not just to the ‘invention’
of a solution-design, but as a generative capacity building [4] a learning capacity that
develops through the travelling of ideas among designers, planners, citizens as individ‐
uals and communities, local businesses and stakeholders and policy administrators.
Urban innovation entails thus a systemic ‘translation from the level of conscious actor
invention and mobilization to that of routinization as accepted practices, and beyond
that to broadly accepted cultural norms and values’ [4].
The background of urban innovation so intended is a participatory process with a
focus on “the activities by which people’s concerns, needs, interests, and values” can
possibly be incorporated into “decisions and actions of public matters and issues” [9]
(p. 14). In discussions on participatory methods, a great part is on the purpose. In urban
studies, Innes and Booher [2] famously frame five purposes of participation as (1) getting
knowledge about the public interest, (2) improving decisions by using the local knowl‐
edge of citizens, (3) promoting and achieving fairness and justice, (4) securing legiti‐
macy for decisions, (5) meeting the legal requirements of the process.
The two categories of thick participation (involving groups of citizens) and thin
participation (involving citizens as individuals) illustrated by Nabachi and Leighninger
are at the base of the MUV participative ecosystem that develops through a double level
of co-creation as community building [5, 13] and co-design as infrastructuring [7, 8].
MUV addresses a new participatory method that involves together thick and thin levels
of participation to enhance systemic learning within the current European urban demo‐
cratic structures of deliberation [3]. Scholars have shown that bottom-up initiatives have
the chance to succeed allowing direct and active involvement of citizens, by design, in
community development [14]. However, the issue of effective policy through citizen
participation cannot stand from bottom-up initiatives alone. It depends from actions of
facilitation of a systemic process that involves together in a co-creation and co-design
diverse actors at diverse levels. The facilitation of systemic processes is therefore a key
for urban planners and designers: ‘who facilitate public participation, as well as amongst
whom, when and to what degree’ [14] (p. 266). Facilitation is understood as a form and
function of the MUV ecosystem participatory method; MUV as a ‘learning infrastruc‐
ture’ iterates and aims to develop loop learning [12] among participants, planners and
designers. Loop learning is represented and ‘materialized’ through scenarios.
The remaining of this paper is structured in three main parts. The following part
illustrates the theoretical framework of the MUV method as based on urban studies and
participatory design studies. It follows the case of Palermo and a conclusion that
Urban Innovation Through Co-design Scenarios 111
discusses the findings in terms of loop learning and potential principles that emerge from
MUV method for urban innovation. While MUV participatory methodology is, at the
moment of writing, explored, implemented and tested in several EU cities (Helsinki,
Ghent, Fundao, Amsterdam, Barcelona, and Palermo), the paper builds on the first
experience of MUV method in Palermo historical city center.
2 MUV Participatory Method: An Urban Ecosystem of Co-creation
and Co-design
Three main concepts are at the base of MUV participatory method and research: capacity
building, infrastructuring and loop learning. Capacity building and infrastructuring
develop from collaborative urban planning and participatory design approaches [13,
15] here interpreted respectively within two diverse levels of thick participation
(involving groups of citizens) and thin participation (involving citizens as individuals)
[9]. These two levels intertwine and overlap together to generate loop learning [1012,
16]. In MUV, these loops are represented by scenarios specifically oriented to the issue
of mobility urban values (mobility scenarios, service scenarios, and scalability scenarios
(Fig. 1).
Fig. 1. Representation of the MUV participatory ecosystem with the interplay of the two levels
of co-creation and co-design aligned on three loop-learnings with outcomes on mobility scenarios,
service scenarios and scalability scenarios
2.1 Co-creation: Capacity Building and Thick Participation
Capacity building as thick participation is at the base of the conceptual understanding
of ‘co-creation’ in an urban context; here understood as a process-oriented to long-term
effects developed by interaction among citizens and communities. Capacity building, in
the MUV context, consists in the facilitation of a set of moments and structures of
112 E. Lissandrello et al.
opportunities that bring the resources of groups of citizens and individual citizens into
new ideas, strategies and actions of urban concerns [1] This process of capacity building
relates to three dimensions (1) the knowledge resources, (2) the relational resources, (3)
the capacity of mobilization [17]. In MUV, these dimensions define co-creation as within
resources and capacity of urban neighborhood. In this way, the community engagement
and facilitation of resources sharing as well as new capacities occur by the consideration
of challenges, needs and values collected with and through citizens and communities’
imaginaries of future. A focus on possibilities-building can have effects on network
creation and resource sharing that can last well beyond the temporality of design solu‐
tions. These effects become important in view of developing urban policy through scal‐
ability strategies and long-term processes for urban innovation and governance.
2.2 Co-design: Infrastructuring and Thin Participation
Infrastructuring as thin participation is the conceptual grounding of ‘co-design’ as a
dynamic in which local communities, here understood as individual citizens, engage in
dialogic moments and interaction, imagining and constructing a set of structured visions
[15]. Infrastructuring is here understood as a process that facilitates the emergence of
new design opportunities as resulted, adapted and re-arranged in relation to specific
circumstances. This process can allow stakeholders not just to find a solution but to
generate trust and to develop new design approaches that can connect individuals, small
organizations and established institutions [6, 8, 18]. In MUV, infrastructuring is inter‐
preted as distributed over three different degrees of co-design as; (1) design with indi‐
vidual citizens as a diffuse design experience related to creativity props, i.e. scenarios,
prototypes, and games; this supports the citizens’ capability to generate personal value
(utility) by aggregating material (i.e. services, technologies, tools) and immaterial
resources (i.e. knowledge, social links, word of mouth); (2) co-design with formal insti‐
tutions supporting value creation processes that can develop on specific design of serv‐
ices, platforms, software applications, and games that might transform the knowledge-
interaction between users and providers; (3) co-design with aggregates of social ecosys‐
tems, i.e. a set of relevant stakeholders that identifies elements that strategically can be
extracted, communicated and scaled-up in relation to the possible impact of the service
function and use.
In MUV participatory ecosystem (Fig. 1) the interplay between co-creation (capacity
building) as thick participation (involving groups of citizens) and co-design (infrastruc‐
turing) as thin participation (involving citizens as individuals) generate loop learning as
potential orienting scenarios (mobility scenarios, service scenarios and scalability
scenarios). Figure 1 represents the two levels of co-creation and co-design within the
MUV ecosystem.
The level of co-creation develops through three diverse phases by considering the
diverse themes related to MUV: urban neighbourhood, mobility behaviour, and tech‐
nical solutions. The co-creation level consists of three phases (1) the knowledge
resources of urban neighborhood by consideration of mobility behavior challenges,
needs, and values (co-creation phase 1); (2) the relational resources enhanced by
community engagement and by pooling diverse kinds of communities in the
Urban Innovation Through Co-design Scenarios 113
consideration of common challenges in mobility within the current constraints of tech‐
nical solutions (co-creation phase 2) and (3) the capacity of mobilization of new ideas
for technical solutions, strategies and actions of urban concerns through open imagina‐
ries of future (co-creation phase 3).
The level of co-design develops in concert with the three phases of co-creation: (1)
the first focuses on the service design development derived by the citizens’ capacity to
generate personal value (utility) in relation to possible design orienting mobility
scenarios dimensioned and refined through processes of interviewing and shadowing;
(2) the second focuses on the co-design with formal institutions supporting value crea‐
tion processes on specific service orienting scenarios by knowledge-sharing and inter‐
action between users and providers and facilitated through shadowing, prototyping, and
testing; (3) the third shapes co-design with a set of relevant stakeholders through moni‐
toring and possible data visualization and through shadowing, prototyping and testing
for the identification of elements that strategically can be extracted, communicated and
scaled-up for future policy recommendation and urban innovation. The outcomes of the
interacting phases of co-creation and co-design aim to constitute specific loop learning
2.3 Scenarios as Representation of Loop Leaning
The final aim of the MUV participative ecosystem is a loop learning approach to urban
innovation and urban policies. The three phases that align co-creation and co-design
represent three loop-learning phases as inspired by systemic levels of learning (adapted
from organizational learning literature [1012]. The three scenarios - mobility scenarios,
service scenarios and scalability scenarios - represent the diverse learning processes
enabled by the MUV participatory ecosystem as a ‘learning infrastructure’ [12] (p. 295).
Inspired by single-loop learning [10], this occurs ‘whenever an error is detected and
corrected without questioning or altering the underlying values of the system’ while
double-loop learning occurs ‘when mismatches are corrected by first examining and
altering the governing variables and then the actions’ [12]. There is also another type of
learning, defined as ‘deutero-learning’ which ‘can occur by going meta on single or
double-loop learning’ [16] (p. 1179 our Italic). Three questions are interpreted to trigger
diverse loop learning scenarios whenever phases of co-creation and co-design interplay,
intertwine and overlap at time within MUV participatory method. MUV scenarios
represent learning as in the form of questions: ‘are we doing things right (single-loop
learning)? Are we doing the right things (double-loop learning)? Can we participate in
making well-informed choices regarding strategy, objectives, etc. (e.g. triple loop
learning)?’ [11] (p. 452). This set of questions represent an inspiration to scenarios and
not a simple and direct adaptation from theory to practice.
Mobility Scenarios as Single Loop Learning
Mobility scenarios are understood in MUV participatory ecosystem as a result of a
process of ‘single loop learning’ in which co-creation and co-design dynamics based on
thick and thin participation align on the question ‘are we doing things right (in relation
to our desires of urban mobility in the neighborhood)?’ This question simplifies a simple
114 E. Lissandrello et al.
learning process with effect on adaptation of community mobility behavior e.g. in rela‐
tion to individual travel behavior. Mobility scenarios are inspired by a loop-learning
scenario of possible individual corrective actions with a possible impact on the neigh‐
borhood livability.
Service Scenarios as Double Loop Learning
Service scenarios are understood in MUV participatory ecosystem as a result of a process
of ‘double loop learning’ in which co-creation and co-design dynamics based on thick
and thin participation align on the question: ‘are we doing the right things (in relation
to possible services of urban mobility within the current constraints of existing tech‐
nology)? This question is as an inspiration for a collective participatory reframing of the
‘problem’ of mobility from individual to systemic, including mobility technical solu‐
tions to be exploited, prototyped, and tested in urban contexts with effects as shaping
Scalability Scenarios as Triple Loop Learning
Scalability scenarios are understood in MUV participatory ecosystem as a result of a
process of ‘meta-learning’ (e.g. triple loop learning). This means that co-creation and
co-design dynamics – as based on thick and thin participation – can align their focus on
the question: ‘Can we participate in making well-informed choices regarding strategy,
objectives, etc. in urban mobility? In the MUV context, this question is seen as an inspi‐
ration for participants (citizens, local communities, public authorities) for developing
new processes of re-framing mobility urban solutions into a set of strategic elements
which involve values-creation with possible impacts on existing urban policy (e.g. on
urban/mobility/management and digitalization).
3 MUV Participatory Method in Palermo: The Interplay Between
Co-creation and Co-design
is the fifth most populated metropolitan area in Italy, with about 1,2 million
inhabitants. The historical center is one of the pilot areas of the MUV project; it extends
for almost 250 hectares with high-density. It is the location of the majority of the touristic
sites of the city. The area faced several modifications during the last century as seriously
damaged during II World War, with a consequential heavy shrinking in population
between the 1960s to 1970. Important initiatives for urban generation culminated just
in 1990s with the approval of a detailed Executive Plan for historic center. New urban
investments mobilized real estate commercialization of historical buildings and cultural
entrepreneurship. With the restoring of architectural heritage and the opening of several
bars, pubs, restaurants, and touristic attractions and cultural centers, today the historical
center is catalyzing again the public attention. In 2013–2014 Palermo municipality has
adopted a general urban traffic plan that has integrated previous urban mobility policy.
Especially relevant for the urban revitalization of the historical center has been the
1Palermo is historically an important city, with a population around 850 000 and a vaster
surrounding metropolitan area in the Sicilia region.
Urban Innovation Through Co-design Scenarios 115
pedestrialization policy and the recent institutionalization of the Traffic Limited Zone
(ZTL) in 2016.
In 2012–2015 a project called Traffic02 won the call “Smart Cities and Communities
and Social Innovation” promoted by the Ministry of Education, University and Research
in Italy. The project tackled the problem of Palermo’s urban traffic, transport, and mobi‐
lity from another point of view than usual solution-oriented projects for new infrastruc‐
tures, public transport or hard policies.
One of the scopes of the Traffic02 project was to shift the debate on changing cities
by switching from the urban structure (the hardware) to the changes that can be induced
by citizens through a change of their behavior and the urban communities’ habits (the
software). TrafficO2 was thought as an info mobility decision supporting system that
tried to foster a modal split through gaming policies and tangible incentives for each
individual citizen when making (more) sustainable mobility choice [19] with the help
of smartphone applications. Local businesses jointed through an ICT platform (as spon
sors) became the stations of a new kind of transport system in which only moving by
foot, by bicycle, by local public transport and by car-pooling were rewarded. Each trip
from station to station gave O2 points to the user, as the virtual money users can collect
to get prizes from the sponsors. A first test of the mobile application (an alpha version)
has started during December 2013 with about 80 students selected through a workshop
and has shown about the 55% of reduction of CO2 emissions [20].
Traffic02 experience has constituted a background for MUV research concerning the
potential of ICT-based services to enhance urban innovation. MUV participation method
includes also local businesses and public authorities’ new possibilities of interaction
through open data and technology at use as web portals and dashboard that constitute
not just tools but new organizational models that tend to flat the relations between citi‐
zens and public institutions ‘…expected to facilitate the construction of an open dialogue
with the community and easy access to data already collected and processed and there‐
fore directly “digestible” for citizens and other institutions’ [21]. The establishment of
these networks can stimulate formal government to provide more efficient mobility
services shaped by city-users’ expectations.
MUV participative methodology in Palermo is thus shaped by the ambition to enlarge
the perspective of the design experience of Traffic02 from a project-design to a process-
design based on co-creation (community building) and co-design (infrastructuring). In
the case of Palermo, gaming policies and tangible incentives have emerged as success‐
fully elements from the Traffic02 experience. MUV participative ecosystem aims
providing a deeper-learning experience for urban innovation through the very process
of co-creation (thick participation) and co-design (thin participation) rather than to
depart from a project-based approach.
MUV role in Palermo is to facilitate three main processes as: co-creation (as thick
participation) and co-design (as thin participation), and solution-oriented loop learning
scenarios. Issues as ‘sustainable mobility values’ and ‘technology in use’ are not given
determinations but shaped through MUV participatory method as a learning infrastruc‐
ture for urban innovation (Fig. 1).
116 E. Lissandrello et al.
3.1 MUV Co-creation in Palermo: Capacity Building and Thick Participation
In Palermo, a two-day MUV workshop has engaged groups of citizens and individual citi‐
zens into a process of capacity building in which new ideas, strategies, and actions for
urban innovation, departing from mobility issues, have been facilitated. Three existing
typologies of communities have been respectively and progressively involved as resources
of knowledge, relational and mobilization capacity by the MUV team: (1) community of
place, as all those group of citizens who live and work in the neighborhood through the
existent ‘street councils’
(2) community of practice, as all those groups of citizens already
involved in initiatives related to sustainable mobility, neighborhood’s entrepreneurship,
cultural or social innovation activities through ‘Mobilita Palermo’
and Palermo Innova
tion Network MeetUp
(3) community of interest, as those of groups potentially interested
in municipal initiatives included private entrepreneurial commercial groups
Fig. 2. Co-creation location Palermo, Garibaldi Theatre
The diverse themes of the MUV participatory ecosystem (urban/neighbourhood, mobi‐
lity behavior, technical solutions) as described in Fig. 1 have been tackled, following a first
phase of co-creation with a workshop in which communities of citizens have been encour‐
aged to reflect on their habitual and desired mobility behaviors in Palermo. This in relation
to urban and neighborhood identities, current challenges, needs, values and imaginaries of
2A community of about 50 people, most of with a deep knowledge of the neighborhood and local
business owners (shops, bar, restaurants, bed and breakfasts) usually facilitated by municipal
4 These sites are multi blogs top web-page
rank visited in Palermo by citizens.
5As uGame in which Palermitan urban planners and game designers join forces facing social issues
through gamification approaches.
Urban Innovation Through Co-design Scenarios 117
future. The first co-creation workshop took place at the Garibaldi Theatre, the old symbol
of a new Palermo, today in a process of change (Fig. 2).
The MUV community engagement activities in Palermo have been performed both
online and offline. The first MUV co-creation workshop has been related to an Eventbrite,
a well-known ICT platform in Palermo, to easily share the information about the session
and manage participants’ venue through a landing page about MUV. The links were shared
on Facebook and through direct emails sent to local communities. An offline campaign
took place across local locations in the communities mentioned above. Since the first co-
creation workshop venue was an open place, MUV posters were hanged at the Garibaldi
This was another “offline way” of reaching potential participants informing them about
the upcoming workshop. The project webpage went online on the 7th of December 2018,
as well as the Eventbrite. In one week it registered 93 sessions, 195-page visualization, and
62 users. Through Eventbrite, 307 people were reached and the 30 tickets available went
sold out. A mix of consolidated and well-known tool-kits for encouraging communities as
the “World Cafè
” or “The Arrow
” have been adopted to start-up a dialogue on current
people’s mobility behavior and desired imaginaries of urban and neighborhood mobility.
These tools have enhanced people’s reflection as a community of citizens, of adaptive
actions to meet their desired imaginary (single learning loops). As a first result, the partic‐
ipants of the co-creation workshop visualized their urban mobility scenarios on how to
correct their own mobility behavior towards safer and sustainable one with a positive
transformative effect for the neighborhood livability.
Therefore, these groups of citizens provided a collection of possible corrective actions,
either immediately achievable or already implemented, which are instrumental to the
attainment of desired mobility scenarios. Data collected in this session have been used to
select concrete people’s mobility experiences in Palermo. The result has been clustered in
two different mobility experiences, one called ‘the rational’ and the other named ‘the
emotional’. Participants were then requested to list pros and cons of four selected sustain‐
able travel modes (i.e., walking, biking, public transport, carpooling), describing their
current modal splits.
A second co-creation workshop activated through a ‘mobility brainstorming’ aimed to
identify groups of citizens’ personal positive experience related to a specific travel mode
in Palermo. The result was a mind map of the happy/unhappy mobility experience of
mobility in the urban environment. The groups of citizens in Palermo, have envisioned two
ways to improve mobility within the historical center: an extrinsic one, linked to policies,
infrastructures and environmental aspects; and an intrinsic one, related to socio/cultural
6The ‘world cafe’ is a flexible design tool to enhance group dialogues; in Palermo, such a dialogue
facilitated by the authors on the question on Palermo citizens’ challenges and desires in relation
to their personal mobility habits and behavior.
7The ‘arrow’ is a design tool to encourage participants to define, decide and eventually achieve
their goals starting from their own vision of future. In other words, this tool encourages partici
pants to an imagination based on back-casting, so to imagine a vision of the future and defining the
steps of actions that they need to undertake them as an orientation. In Palermo, the arrow has
encouraged communities of citizens to shape a common vision of sustainable mobility.
118 E. Lissandrello et al.
aspects, personal behaviors and motivations. The intrinsic way has been perceived as a
faster-track to achieve the desired mobility scenarios.
This co-creation workshop enabled participants to reflect on how their intrinsic moti‐
vations play a role making their mobility experiences as positive. Three main variables
possibly alter their actions towards the achievement of desired scenarios through behavior
change: these variables consist in (1) social motivations as feeling part of a community; (2)
intrinsic personal benefits as having an enjoyable experience and (3) monetary rewarding
as receiving a real or a virtual recognition in relation to a more sustainable behavior. The
higher ranked ‘related motivation’ in mobility positive experience in Palermo is the social
motivation. Mobility is a vehicle for community building (familiarizing with strangers on
public transport, organizing with other people to overcome risks as strikes or accidents,
joining active groups of walkers or bikers or having contacts with shopkeepers) (Table 1).
Table 1. Positive mobility experiences and related groups of citizens’ motivations from the co-
creation session in Palermo
Positive experience Related
Familiarizing with strangers on public transport Social motivation
Organizing with other people in case of a strike Social motivation
Joining events/groups of cyclists met by chance Social motivation
Get to know the shopkeepers and get in touch with them Social motivation
Sharing long car trips with friends Social motivation
Carrying shopping bags easily by bike Intrinsic benefit
Uncovering the beauty of the city and its hidden places Intrinsic benefit
Being quicker and more punctual thanks to the bike Intrinsic benefit
Discovering new places and shops simply by walking Intrinsic benefit
The first cycling route on the new bike lane Intrinsic benefit
Improving back pain, improving posture Intrinsic benefit
Sharing gasoline through carpooling, saving money Monetary reward
Personal motivation resulted as a driver for mobility behavioral change to meet
community’s desired values as safety and sustainability. In the first co-creation session,
technology at use in citizens’ everyday life - both within the urban space and through apps
- has emerged as an important element in relation to social interaction. In Palermo, nowa‐
days mobility is a source of frustrations for many people one the conclusions and leading
design principles coming from co-creation sessions is the need of a playful experiences to
have ‘fun’ again with mobility and the value of social interaction as priority area. Results
in terms of capacity building have been shown in relation to mobilization capacity through
the connectivity of diverse communities of citizens – sharing the same imaginary and
values for the future – of a safe and sustainable urban future.
Urban Innovation Through Co-design Scenarios 119
3.2 MUV Co-design in Palermo: Infrastructuring and Thin Participation
The concept of co-design as thin participation has been operationalized in Palermo
through user-centered design sessions involving both mobility management officers and
local business owners. Mobility management office sessions have been as ‘a day in the
mobility management office of Palermo’ to collect technical insights on data sources,
touchpoints, and decision-making mobility planning practice. Local business-owners
have been engaged to reflect on digital equipment, business networks and connections
at the neighborhood and urban scales. The specific challenge of the first co-design
session was to find solutions to reduce vehicular traffic in the old town especially on
nightlife. This challenge includes conflicts among local residents’ (families) in need of
parking spaces and of a quite family lifestyle that clash with young people (students and
professionals) lifestyle and mobility behavior who enliven the neighborhood at night.
The co-design with individual citizens has been focused on game prototypes to enhance
individual capacities to generate personal design in relation to their game attitudes (i.e.
competitive vs cooperative, multi-players vs single players) and in relation to soft or
hard materials (i.e. apps; touchpoints, urban spaces). This prototyping has pointed to the
social dimension of mobility as a vehicle for improving social interaction and safety of
meeting places (walking together, collective transport, car-sharing). Co-design with
formal institutions have led to design principles that might transform the knowledge-
interaction between users and providers (i.e. through mobility data exchange). MUV co-
design as infrastructuring includes also local businesses and public authorities’ new
possibilities of interaction through gamification; open data and technology at use as web
portals and dashboard emerged as potential triggers for new organizational models for
new trustful relations between citizens and public institutions, especially important in
4 Loop Learning Dynamics
As discussed in the first part of this paper, loop learning has been an inspiring concept
in the context of MUV for developing a pathway towards urban innovation processes.
Re-framings mobility urban values into a set of strategic elements with a possible impact
on existing urban policy (e.g. on urban/mobility/management and digitalization) is one
of the expected results of the MUV project. The conclusions of this first phase of co-
creation/co-design in Palermo has provided lessons in terms of systemic learning.
Taking again the question ‘can we participate in making well-informed choices
regarding strategy, objectives, etc. in urban mobility? [11] in Palermo, a mobility
scenario has been related to personal motivations in co-creation sessions. The starting
preconditions in the historical center of Palermo in terms of urban mobility is a network
of automobiles roads within urban historical cultural values in the neighborhood and
missing significant and effective participatory methods in current urban decision
making. The case of Palermo offers interesting principles for urban innovation; the role
of MUV as a learning infrastructure is those to generate new relational and mobilization
capacity through interactions between existing communities of citizens but also to
establish a new channel among citizens, stakeholders, and public administration. Trust
120 E. Lissandrello et al.
is an especially important issue in view e.g. of securing a more transparent use of data
on mobility, more safety through social interaction and to meet the legal requirements
for a new participative urban culture in decision-making processes in Palermo. Learning
from the first phase of MUV co-creation and co-design in Palermo, a new mobility
scenario shows the need to turn the negative frustrations of citizens and communities
towards their potential responsibility on governing their own mobility behavior and
consciously their impact in their urban environment in terms of livability. Playful
dynamics among stakeholders, citizens, and administrators have resulted to have an
important role whenever a conflict of values occur e.g. between family life and nightlife
in the neighborhood, with the hope to turn individuals and communities towards a
common desired future of mobility urban values.
Acknowledgments. This research has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon
2020 research and innovation programme, under grant agreement No 723521. Our thanks to three
reviewers SLERD 2018 for their helpful comments on a first draft of this paper.
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122 E. Lissandrello et al.
... In this sense, it is essential to ensure the liability of the SW initiating body, the quality of the participatory process, and the reliability of the SW results (Eshkol & Eshkol, 2017). Literature includes a range of smart participatory methods and tools aiming to capture the feelings and habits of people through their shared digital reactions (Salvia et al., 2021) and on purpose-made online platforms (Lissandrello et al., 2019). In any case, the scope of these participation methods and tools may support but not replace physical gatherings. ...
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This article presents and discusses the results of the Stakeholder Workshop (Co) Designing for Quality of Life: Exploring Challenges and Opportunities, which was held at Middle East Technical University (METU) in Ankara in October 2022 in the framework of the COST Action CA18137 European Middle Class Mass Housing (MCMH-EU). The workshop aimed to discover the possibilities of participatory design as a tool to address the necessary updating of the housing complexes of the Modern Movement (MoMo). The workshop, which was conducted on a cooperative housing estate, namely Ümitköy Sitesi, Ankara, Türkiye (1970), was carried out in five groups with members of different nationalities, ages, and experiences. This article argues that the public and private strategies which were followed to rehabilitate these complexes by focusing on the technical problems (construction pathologies, energy inefficiency, accessibility, parking, among others) tend to neglect, even ignore, the diverse social aspects involved. As a group of participants of this workshop, the authors of this article consider the involvement of all parties (experts, residents, housing management cooperative, and municipality) in the improvement processes of such middle-class mass housing sites as the key instrument to make these neighborhoods more inclusive and sustainable. This article evaluates the Stakeholder Workshop’s co-design performance as an instrument to improve the Quality of life (QoL) and sustainability of the neighborhood. The critical analysis of the workshop results leads to several significant conclusions: Social aspirations do not always coincide with political and technical ones; technical rehabilitations are not sufficient for the total improvement of QoL and sustainability of communities; (Co-)Design may have to be approached from different perspectives and, consequently, have different results; citizens have a great potential to participate and contribute to the improvement of QoL with innovative ideas and actions of different scales. However, the socioeconomic diversity of the inhabitants and restrictive legislation are the difficulties to be considered.
... The MUV project [12] is a concrete critical attempt to experiment with a gamification approach, with the main objective to engage people to promote a shift towards more sustainable and healthy urban mobility. MUV engagement strategy of co-creation and co-design [13] is based on urban governance and participatory design theories [14,15] that aim at triple-loop learning [16]. Public involvement of citizens and policy actors occurs progressively through thin and thick levels of participation [17] and serves in the co-creation of game communities and in the codesign of game solutions that aim to enhance interaction and to transform urban policy through a 'conversational planning' among a variety of actors (from communities to public authorities and vice versa). ...
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Urban areas can be considered the ground for the challenges related to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The objective of shaping cities as human settlement that will see a more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable future is often argued in literature as an issue dependent on behavioral change of inhabitants in urban areas. In this paper, the authors question if experimental applications based on gamification can co-produce more sustainable neighborhoods through an impact evaluation method that departs from individual choices within the complex of urban mobility. This investigation is carried out within MUV (Mobility Urban Values), an EU research and innovation project, which aims to trigger more sustainable urban mobility in six pilot cities. This article describes the critical method of validation, an impact assessment of the MUV experimental gamification in the pilot cities, in order to represent a proof for future urban strategies. This methodological approach is based on an evaluation structured on indicators of both impact and process suitable for urban contexts. As based on six pilot cities, with possibilities for transferability to other contexts and scalability to other cities, the method represents a reference work for the evaluation of similar experimental applications.
... The MUV gameplay model aspires to become scalable with an impact wider than the limited niche in which the service is actually enabled [14]. ...
This working paper investigates the question of changing people mobility towards more sustainable habits involving them in an engaging gameplay. The work is performed within MUV H2020 research and innovation action. The game design, definition and features have been co-created through the involvement of different citizens and stakeholders in six European neighbourhoods. The paper discusses the game design as resulting from co-creation and co-design experiences with each neighbourhood communities involved in initial phases. The paper argues that the local co-design activities have influenced the game definition, together with the community engagement approach. The MUV gameplay approach results thus a demand-side measure able to encouraging people to sustainable mobility modes in the awareness of their potential role as agents of urban livability. The data collected by the players will be used to support a citizen-centric approach to facilitate equity and mobility justice in urban policies.
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The first step toward change is awareness." The research aims at tackling the challenges and the opportunities coming from the renovated attention on the field of Urban Forestry, focusing on understanding the potential role of citizen participation and awareness in the development of forestry strategies. Both on scientific research and implementation layers there is a limited spread of such interventions, due to the difficulty of providing a definition at a general level, which is also reflected on the institutional and policy frameworks, as well as with a deep lack of comprehension on benefits and necessities - constituting a lack of awareness. Where the top-down approach does not seem to provide the expected results, the proposed solution is the bottom-up approach: can a reverse of concept be the effective solution to boost Urban Forestry on the European territory, reconnecting people with nature? The thesis research makes an attempt in acknowledging the framework of forestry and its main constraints, with a specific focus on the attention given by institutional organizations to the awareness of cities' inhabitants, to understand the perception and the consequential actions. This is conceived with a multidisciplinary and transcalar approach - involving urban forestry organizations, citizen-science surveys and interviews to relevant professionals and institutions. Through awareness we can get to an active intervention and a greater sensibility towards urban forests from our citizens, which may be the only way to enable and revitalize top-down actions, making the difference - from the bottom.
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This paper investigates mediated negotiations in ‘smart city’ experimentalism. As often claimed, data can open pathways for innovative planning processes. However, the idea of planning underpinned by the interplay between citizens and data too often remains unquestioned. How might we move the idea of planning from data to provide (technical solutions) to data to transform (urban societal realities)? How can data empower citizens as true drivers of a transformative urban change? This paper argues for a planning perspective to enhance a new sense of citizenship in a future technology-driven urban democracy. The framework combines planning theory with theories of societal change under a critical pragmatism. The empirical research derives from Mobility Urban Values (MUV2020), a Horizon 2020 innovation and research project (2017–2020), with the ambition to change mobility endeavors toward a more participatory and sustainable urban policy. The paper synthesizes analysis of the ‘practice stories’ of professionals dealing with and facilitating the interplay between data and citizens in six European cities. It then discusses MUV’s deliberative planning process in which citizens generate data (co-creation of values), interpret data (co-design of facts) and perform utterances to call for new urban policy (co-production of actions). The conclusions draw a possible pathway to enhance smart urban planning as a perspective to empower citizens with data for a progressive democracy in the era of digitalization. Change-oriented practitioners can potentially facilitate smart urban planning through: 1) technological devices that engage individual citizens (choices) with data practices in everyday life; 2) frames for the interpretation of data with citizens’ and communities (practice) and 3) public conversations between citizens with other publics (system) for new street-level practices of urban democracy.
In public urban spaces different generations meet and eventually end up by sharing the same kind of activities. Nowadays, more occasions of encounter are generated by a widespread push to the re-appropriation of urban spaces for green, social and inclusive aims, so creating sustainable urban ecosystems. Information and Communication Technologies scattered in the urban environment boost these processes by supporting the user experience in different kinds of services. For example, in the transport sector several digital technologies allow the use of shared mobility services and sustain other kinds of more sustainable behaviors for travelers both improving their mobility experience and motivating them towards a common green goal. According to this scenario, the paper examines the physical and digital media and services that might support the user experience during a scattered cultural urban event. Indeed, events that concern different urban spaces at the same times require different kinds of efforts by the attendants, from retrieving information about the available sites, to getting the indication on how to reach them. However, different habits and needs emerge according to the different age of the attendants. The paper shows the results of a survey administered to a group of people from different ages attending a cultural event in Rome. The study analyzes the kind of media and services people used and suggested to retrieve information about the event. Then it envisions some opportunities that emerge in creating services supporting the communication and the user experience of the event, and of the city as well.
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In this paper, we present a general overview of the perspectives and issues of Big Data and Open Data in a Smart City, with specific implications for the municipality of Trento, Italy. We start by presenting the current state of the art of Big Data and Open Data in Trento and continue by proposing a line of development for these two topics that could positively impact the everyday life of its citizens. We will place particular emphasis on the results that emerged from the discussion we had during the working group meeting that the municipality organized on this topic. The challenges posed by four enablers of Big Data and Open Data projects and initiatives are described: cultural enablers, organizational enablers, governance enablers and technological enablers.
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In the organizational learning literature a variety of concepts exists denoting some third order of organizational learning, notably that of ‘triple-loop’ learning. Despite this there has been no systematic, critical consideration of this concept or its origins, impeding both theoretical development and empirical research. Whilst ‘triple-loop learning’ has been inspired by Argyris and Schön, we establish that the term does not arise in their published work. Indeed, we argue that conceptualizations of triple-loop learning are diverse, often have little theoretical rooting, are sometimes driven by normative considerations, and lack support from empirical research. We map the major influences on these conceptualizations, including Bateson’s framework of levels of learning, and offer an original theoretical contribution that distinguishes between three conceptualizations of ‘triple-loop learning’. We also highlight implications for practice, and caution against the uncritical preference for ‘higher levels’ of learning that is sometimes discernible in the literature and in practice.
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This paper draws on institutionalist approaches as developed in the fields of policy analysis and planning, to develop a methodological approach for assessing how the governance capacity for socially innovative action might emerge. After introducing the problematic of the search for governance relations which have the capacity for social innovation, the second and third parts of the paper summarise the emerging social-constructivist 'institutionalist' approach in policy analysis and planning. The fourth part draws on a three-level analytical model of governance dynamics to explore the dynamics and dialectics of urban governance transformation processes, illustrated with a case study of a socially innovative area-based initiative. The final section considers the power dynamics of episodes of socially innovative governance arising from within civil society and their potential to transform wider governance processes and cultures.
This title was first published in 2002: Urban governance has faced numerous challenges as city governments, their partners and their critics struggle to transform themselves in the context of post-industrial economies and societies. This context has generated new relations of economic life and social activity to be accommodated in cities, and has also changed expectations of the roles, relationships and modes of governance. New conceptual tools to analyze these experiences are becoming available, linked to a broad "institutionalist" wave of ideas sweeping right across the social sciences. This text responds to the challenges faced by urban governance and explores a range of efforts to build new institutional capacities. An international team of social scientists and practitioners critically analyzes conceptual challenges, policy developments and practical experiences. © Göran Cars, Patsy Healey, Ali Madanipour and Claudio de Maghãlhaes 2002. All rights reserved.
Transport and mobility are crucial factors in the process of adaptation of contemporary urban areas to the challenge of sustainable development. In this perspective, however, cities need to perform a more effective integration between a wide range of different policies and planning practices. Together with a more effective integration between transport policy and land-use planning, for instance, cities could take growing advantage by organisational factors, as well as the spreading of new technologies and the related processes of social innovation. Through the description of several project and planning initiatives taking place in Palermo, the fifth Italian city, this paper attempts to explore the potential sinergies between the “hard factors” of mobility—in this case given by the huge programme of infrastructure redevelopment under realisation in the city—with some other dimensions, such as urban regeneration processes, governance and community-led processes of innovation.
This article examines the function of community-based organizations in engaging citizens in planning healthy built environments in urban neighbourhoods. Research on the 3-year Green, Active, Healthy Neighbourhoods (GAHN) initiative, spearheaded by a city-wide umbrella group and local organizations in four boroughs of Montreal found that in activating citizen participation, the role of organizations was significant in four dimensions: (i) mobilizing to generate awareness and interest; (ii) giving voice to problems and solutions; (iii) pooling citizens' and professionals' knowledge; and (iv) maintaining participation in implementation. Organizations involved in GAHN provided creative tools and processes for citizens' participation, which were valued by planners and local authorities, but collaborative participation was difficult beyond the exploratory and diagnostic dimensions. This study points to the challenges in sustaining collaboration and having influence. Organizations need to maintain pressure, conserve independence and renew linkages with citizens to shift urban planning practices from car-dominated to people-centred development.
This article makes the case that legally required participation methods in the US not only do not meet most basic goals for public participation, but they are also counterproductive, causing anger and mistrust. Both theory and practice are dominated by ambivalence about the idea of participation itself. Both struggle with dilemmas that make the problems seem insoluble, such as the conflict between the individual and collective interest or between the ideal of democracy and the reality that many voices are never heard. Cases are used to draw on an emerging set of practices of collaborative public engagement from around the world to demon- strate how alternative methods can better meet public participation goals and how they make moot most of the dilemmas of more conventional practice. Research shows that collaborative partici- pation can solve complex, contentious problems such as budget decision making and create an improved climate for future action when bitter disputes divide a community. Authentic dialogue, networks and institutional capacity are the key elements. The authors propose that participation should be understood as a multi-way set of interactions among citizens and other players who together produce outcomes. Next steps involve developing an alternative practice framework, creating forums and arenas, adapting agency decision processes, and providing training and financial support.
The multifaceted challenges of contemporary governance demand a complex account of the ways in which those who are subject to laws and policies should participate in making them. This article develops a framework for understanding the range of institutional possibilities for public participation. Mechanisms of participation vary along three important dimensions: who participates, how participants communicate with one another and make decisions together, and how discussions are linked with policy or public action. These three dimensions constitute a space in which any particular mechanism of participation can be located. Different regions of this institutional design space are more and less suited to addressing important problems of democratic governance such as legitimacy, justice, and effective administration.
This paper develops an institutionalist framework for analysing transformations in urban governance, focusing in particular on assessing the potential of initiatives designed to 'mainstream' citizen participation and 'voice' in local government processes. The framework centres on an analytical conception of levels of social formation: specific episodes of collective action; the on-going work of governance practices and discourse formation and use; and underpinning culturally embedded assumptions and habits. The central argument is that transformations in urban governance capacity need to penetrate all three levels to effect enduring changes in governance cultures. The framework is used to assess the early experience of an attempt to introduce 'area committees' by Newcastle City Council, UK, and their ability to act as a 'voice for place'. The paper examines how far the area committee initiative has the potential to achieve the objectives set for it, the qualities of the emerging governance processes in the initiative and their potential to transform the wider context of urban governance in the city.