UrbanUX does research in the domain of Civic Technology – technology to empower people in their role of citizen – which includes Smart City technology, but focuses on Smart Citizen solutions. The intersection of the physical and online environments that we inhabit is an exciting place to develop innovations and create opportunities for new social interactions. Digital technologies offer new tools to rediscover the city as a place to create new meaningful relations.
Our methodology is research through design – an integration of research and design projects, with the objective to generate knowledge by creating and evaluating innovations. We produce prototypes and interventions that allow us to generate knowledge on how to bridge the socio-physical and interactive context in which people navigate between human relations, physical spaces and digital communication channels. Current issues in the city always are the context for our research, with themes such as durability, mobility, citizen participation, democracy, sharing economy, security, art and culture. This translates into three research lines:
- Civic Media and Citizen Participation
Civic Media allow citizens to participate in public decision-making and debating on public issues. We design and evaluate means and media to stimulate and facilitate citizens to do this.
- Smart Technology in Public Spaces
Sensor technology and artificial intelligence already enhance our homes and private space. We explore the possibilities for meaningful application of this technology in public spaces.
- Technology-transitions in society
New technologies tend to have a disrupting effect in society. The uptake of social media, for example, has led to changes in public social behaviour. This societal struggle with new technologies is a design challenge that requires a research-through-design approach so generate new insights.