Toward intelligent assistance Systems for the smart Utilization of Participation Data for Urban Planning and Design

IS 4 Smart Participation - Project Overview

In the project Toward intelligent Assistance Systems for the smart Utilization of Participation Data for Urban Planning and Design, innovative approaches for the implementation of citizen participation are examined and developed. For this purpose, different (intelligent) prototypes are implemented and evaluated using new technologies such as machine learning.

Urban planning has historically been a top-down non-participatory process and has become increasingly crucial due to urbanization as building land, and residential areas are highly demanded and should be managed sustainably. That also applies to recreational, and leisure spaces that should be considered, to support urban life and society. In top-down approaches, architects and planners implement the requirements of the project owner (e. g. investors, government) within their ideas and concepts. Local stakeholders can be consulted, but in the past, this costly and time-consuming process has often been avoided.

In the case of large construction projects, such as the redesign of Stuttgart 21 or entire city districts, the past has shown that this can have negative consequences if citizens feel ignored and/or disregarded. If citizens' requirements are not considered, citizens' initiatives can significantly extend the planning and construction phases by delaying them via protests and (legal) complaints. To prevent this, it is important to include citizens in the planning process, which works particularly well, if citizens are involved in the design and are encouraged to contribute their ideas and requirements, which are considered in the project’s vision. This can be executed on different levels of integration like informing, consulting, integrating, or collaborating.

Initial processes have been explored and evaluated and the intermediate results are promising. In addition, digital tools have been increasingly used in the past years to enable citizen participation, via touch tables, VR lenses, mobile applications, and urban platforms to enable the contribution of requirements of thousands of citizens via comments, proposals, surveys, and polling. The approaches are diverse and depending on the methodology, different challenges exist e. g. in the area of documentation of the results, their evaluation, and co-creation, as this is feasible textually or visually. To promote citizen participation in an urban context, this project examines existing approaches and develops solutions for the challenges by developing new applications and tools to support participation processes. For this purpose, innovative technologies such as machine learning will be used, e. g. to enable content support for citizens in discussions, to promote interactions, and support the evaluation of comments and contributions.