Interview with Ainhoa Quina, Industrial Designer and Active Member of the Citizen City Initiative

29.09.2016
By Marketplace Editorial
Interview

Ainhoa Quina, an industrial designer and active member of the EIP-SCC Initiative on Citizen City, is analysing a series of use cases focused on the co-creation process on smart cities in collaboration with other members of the initiative. The purpose is to create guidelines to implement citizen engagement processes in the development of smart cities. “Our ultimate goal is to inspire city authorities to use efficient strategies to engage their citizens in the creation of truly smart cities”, she said.

1.    You are developing a ‘Co-creation for smart cities’ guidelines based on real Use Cases. Could you explain what this document means?

The idea of the elaboration of the ‘Co-Creating Smart Cities’ document was born in the EIP-SCC 2016 General Assembly in Eindhoven, where several use cases focused on co-creation were presented. After that, the Citizen City Initiative started to elaborate on a guide to introduce what the co-creation process is and how to engage the citizens in the smart cities co-creation process. This initial guideline has been recently published, jointly with the first use case analysis.

2.    Can you introduce this first use case?

Coming back to the EIP-SCC 2016 General Assembly, Saskia Beer, an Amsterdam- based urban entrepreneur and member of the Citizen City Initiative, presented the Transformcity project during the break-out session organised by the Citizen Focus Action Cluster. This project was of particular interest for us because its main idea was to bring the community together to transform an isolated urban area. Taking this into account, some members of the Citizen City Initiative have decided to analyse this project in order to obtain key factors and lessons learnt in the process.

Specifically, what we have learned from this project is that understanding and customizing the developed solution is key to fit different local contexts and challenges and also to facilitate direct exchange of knowledge and experience between the city and its communities.

3.    Do you expect to present more use cases?

Yes, we do. In fact, we are currently analyzing other projects presented during the EIP-SCC 2016 General Assembly, which we expect to publish during the last months of this year. We are continuously looking for European projects which have implemented co-creation processes such as, the Remourban project, which is also defining and implementing citizen engagement strategies.

We also aim for our documents to be co-created with all the stakeholders involved in this process (citizens, cities, industry, academia, lighthouse projects, etc.), so everyone who wants to share experiences with us is welcome.

This co-created work will allow us to influence European policy which shapes the future of the smart cities. Furthermore, the EIP-SCC is willing to coordinate and take advantage of the results from the lighthouse projects as they are crucial to go beyond the state of the art, which is one of our main purposes. For this purpose, analysing lighthouse projects is suitable to define guidelines for best practices that will be implemented in future smart city pilots. The final aim is that all cities will take a co-created approach towards smart cities.

 

4.    What do you want to achieve by analyzing this type of projects?

The final objective of collecting these smart cities co-creation use cases is to develop guidelines. These guidelines should be composed by all successful key factors to engage citizens and lessons learned which we discovered during the analysis process, in order to build a document to be consulted by future of smart cities. What we finally want is that all smart cities can use these guidelines to get inspired to engage their citizens in the creation of real smart cities.

In the long term, as we are focusing on representative and symbolic collective use cases, we envision to create city pilots where the development of replicable smart cities will be based on the co-creation process lead by citizens. These city pilots will replicate best practices identified through the use cases studies.

5.    Are external partners/stakeholders helping the Citizen City Initiative in this elaboration?

Zabala Innovation Consulting (my organisation) and the management of the Citizen Focus Action Cluster would not have been able to do all this work without the support of the experts in the field like the University of Bologna, BEDA (The Bureau of European Design Associations), University of Mondragon, ENOLL (European Networks of Living Labs), KEPA (Business and Cultural Development Centre), Design for Europe, Design council and Cité du design, among others.

In addition to create these guidelines for the co-creation of smart cities, the purpose of this team is to keep the Citizen City Initiative alive by organizing webinars and workshops and building a knowledge sharing platform.

6.    In your opinion, are citizens engaged in the process of building smart cities? How will the document help to encourage people to take part in this process?

Citizens are increasingly taking awareness of the importance of participating in co-creation processes and this is little by little having an impact in the policy making and planning process. The smart cities for the future should have a bottom –up approach which will be possible by implementing processes which encourages citizens to make the change because there are no smart cities without smart citizens.

In any case, this topic will also be discussed in a webinar organised by Citizen City Initiative which will take place in October. We are looking forward to meeting you all there.