Visiting Scholar Christoph Peters Shares Research

Visiting Scholar Christoph Peters Shares Research

Citizens as Experts of their Everyday Life – How to facilitate citizen-initiated projects for better everyday life in cities

Visiting scholar Christoph Peters shared his talk, Citizens as Experts of their Everyday Life, with the iSchool on July 11.  Premise: Cities are complex sociotechnical systems. Within cities, many services are provided. Taking the perspective that cities are service systems, i.e. value-co-creation configurations of people, technology, value propositions connecting internal and external service systems, and shared information (e.g., language, laws, measures, and methods), helps in describing and analysing the components within the city. This is relevant for designing citizen-centric services and thereby conquering the numerous challenges in cities and their heterogeneous fields as public transportation, healthcare and wellbeing, social life and participation, sustainability and environment. In the very same city context, digital transformation and emerging technologies change the ways people live, work, communicate and engage. These developments have been used to come up with new solutions for and within cities. Many of them use the power of the crowd, i.e. making an open call for action where citizens and alike voluntarily participate to advance the current service system city, its situation and environment. Thereby, citizens as experts of their own everyday life and environment are supposed to create citizen-centric services and solutions, either ICT-enabled or not.

Most of the current attempts in this area focus on services where the citizens have a fixed role and position and perform clearly defined tasks, e.g. they contribute by gathering more data for typical 311 hotline (US) or fixmystreet (worldwide) issues such as reporting potholes, sidewalks, etc. Building on these attempts and going one step further, our aim is to facilitate the design of service systems in which the citizens are enabled to take a more proactive role and create own projects. The talk introduces the context of a three-year, publicly-funded smart city project in this area and the perspective of service systems for smart city approaches.

Topics of the talk included:

  • Requirements and quality measures for the service system city that facilitates citizens to create such projects
  • Design features and important components of such service systems
  • Evaluation criteria, i.e. how to evaluate whether the designed system is working and meeting the requirements?
  • Potential alternative research designs, e.g. design science research / action research / action design research approaches
  • Ways of empowering citizens and respecting the unique needs of heterogeneous groups of citizens, e.g. people being disadvantaged over the digital divide, elderly people, people with a handicap, etc.
  • Appropriate use of ICT-enabled and traditionally provided services: blended solutions
  • Good and best practices