About the project

In the City of Aarhus, Citizens’ Services is working with the Alexandra Institute on a project entitled Digital Neighbourhood (in Danish Digital Bydel). The purpose of the project is to find out how we can inform, involve and enter into a dialogue with citizens in new ways through the increased use and roll-out of digital solutions in the urban landscape.

Citizens’ Services and the public sector as a whole are facing a paradigm shift in the way in which we communicate with citizens. The public sector is currently deeply involved in devising channel strategies which can ensure the most efficient and effective servicing of citizens. One result of this process is that access points have become mainly digital, whereas previously citizens had to present themselves in person.

The authorities are busy trying to inform citizens about the paradigm shift and tailoring their dialogue with citizens accordingly. This is often achieved through cooperation and marketing initiatives aimed at particular target groups (the elderly, young people, vulnerable citizens etc.) in combination with more general nationwide campaigns. With the Digital Neighbourhood project, Citizens’ Services wants to trial a different approach which takes as its starting point the place where people live: the neighbourhoods. The neighbourhood is an important urban space for all the target groups; this is where people live and go about their daily lives.

The paradigm shift is also characterised by dramatic developments of the so-called media architecture. What happens when digitisation begins to take centre stage just about everywhere – with smartphones, self-service stations and data capture? What is important when architects, town planners and service developers have to develop urban spaces with data and devices as new materials and new tools? How can a municipality use these new realisations to create urban spaces and services which make the most of the digital solutions to enter into a dialogue with citizens?

Concentrating on issues of topical interest and where something is at stake for the citizens in the various neighbourhoods, the project participants want to develop concepts/models which demonstrate how the municipality can use the digital media to promote citizenship and a sense of commitment among the locals. By working actively with citizen involvement, through installations in the neighbourhood, competitions and the visualisation of relevant data, we expect the project to provide us with valuable experience and potential models for a new type of dialogue with citizens based on a new digital paradigm.

The project evaluation has been published. Read here.

A 4-week project in Information and technology studies from CBS has included Digital Neighborhood. Read here.

A Master Thesis on Smart Cities has also included Digital Neighborhood. Read Henning Günters From Citizens as Sensors to Co-Creation” Here.

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