Author ORCID Identifier

Julieta Matos-Castañ

Abstract

We examine the role of participatory design activities in supporting sense-making while anticipating technological effects in smart cities. The effects of technology are not univocal. Therefore, creating smart city visions that enclose multiple meanings requires providing environments where stakeholders make the often-implicit processes of meaning attribution to technology explicit. We develop and test three participatory design activities to anticipate value changes and controversies in smart cities, and analyze how these activities supported seven sense-making properties. Our results show that visibilizing, reframing, and imagining are key characteristics of participatory design activities in supporting sense-making. Visibilizing technological impacts ‘makes things public,’ revealing existing perspectives and fostering new ones. Reframing technological impacts enhances empathy for diverse interests instead of treating smart cities as technical problems. Imagining supports understanding connections between technology and society to anticipate impacts. Our insights contribute to the provision of participatory design activities to articulate multiple meanings around smart cities.

Keywords:

sense-making, smart cities, participatory design, technological appropriation

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Aug 11th, 12:00 AM

The role of participatory design activities in supporting sense-making in the smart city

We examine the role of participatory design activities in supporting sense-making while anticipating technological effects in smart cities. The effects of technology are not univocal. Therefore, creating smart city visions that enclose multiple meanings requires providing environments where stakeholders make the often-implicit processes of meaning attribution to technology explicit. We develop and test three participatory design activities to anticipate value changes and controversies in smart cities, and analyze how these activities supported seven sense-making properties. Our results show that visibilizing, reframing, and imagining are key characteristics of participatory design activities in supporting sense-making. Visibilizing technological impacts ‘makes things public,’ revealing existing perspectives and fostering new ones. Reframing technological impacts enhances empathy for diverse interests instead of treating smart cities as technical problems. Imagining supports understanding connections between technology and society to anticipate impacts. Our insights contribute to the provision of participatory design activities to articulate multiple meanings around smart cities.

 

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