URBANAGE 

Helsinki - use case 1: Feedback on accessibility issues

Reviewing CV

Description and goal

The main idea is to develop a new method to collect feedback from citizens and visualise the data on live map view. Through a physical IoT-device and virtual browser-based map service, citizens are enabled to send feedback about the issues related to accessibility in Helsinki. Issues will be collected with an IoT-device designed by Forum Virium Helsinki. In the planning of usability, the design takes into account the varying capacity of older people to adopt new technologies. Also, Forum Virium Helsinki will provide users training and information regarding the data collection and use of the device.

 

The aim is to build a small number of IoT devices which are handled as a proof of concept for future efforts to collect citizen generated data and enable wider public participation in urban planning and maintenance processes. Also, a browser-based mobile application is implemented alongside the IoT device to enable wider participation and to compare the user experiences and preferences. The web browser based “virtual IoT-device” will have all the same functionalities as non-virtual, however, this version is more flexible as it’s functionalities can easily be modified based on users’ preferences once the actual pilot has begun. Furthermore, the virtual version may have additional features, such as voice recording or add a photo function, compared to the physical IoT-device.

Involved persona’s

The participants of the co-creation workshops identified poor public lighting, lack of adequate amount of rest places (seating), proper signage and issues with winter maintenance of walkways, sidewalks and access points to public services and transport as the main issues affecting older citizens’ mobility. This use case will develop a physical and virtual IoT-device that older adults can use to generate feedback on accessibility issues. The first prototype will focus on the following themes that were identified in the co-creation workshops: 

  • issues with walkways and roads (e.g., snow piles and slipperiness);

  • safety;

  • lighting;

  • general unpleasantness.

 

For citizens, this use case provides a new mean to communicate with civil servants and provide feedback regarding accessibility. Easy to use interface empowers users to participate in creating more accessible neighbourhoods. A small number of physical IoT-devices are distributed to older adults in the Vuosaari neighbourhood to test the device functionalities and feed information regarding their accessibility issues. Physical devices are most likely handed to participants during the co-creation workshops. Browser-based virtual IoT-device is communicated more widely to all older residents of Vuosaari neighbourhood.

 

For politicians and civil servants, e.g., urban planners, this use case generates a new data set of citizens' generated feedback data that can be used for making better informed decisions regarding accessibility and urban planning. The city of Helsinki will get access to feedback data that contains accurate location information and the data could be used for example to design better lighting for improving safety.

Expected outcomes

Social 

  • City has a better understanding of the issues that older people face in their daily lives especially during the winter. The goal is to achieve instant improvements in the streets for example better and more precise prevention of slipperiness. This also motivates users to collect data which will support the long-term goals.

  • Long term expected outcome is better urban planning in the perspective of older adults. One example could be re-designing the entrance of the metro station which was reported to be often slippery in winter.

  • Receiving user generated information, collected through a wide scope of methods, and adding interactivity, moves the city towards a more proactive operational model in services and maintenance.

 

Policy (evidence-based)

  • The approach in the Helsinki use case will enhance a true participatory process for city maintenance and routing services for the benefit of the older citizens.

  • Existing city feedback channel can be difficult to use and access and requires both time and technical capabilities. This use case will focus on developing the method to collect feedback data from a specific user group (in this case older adults) and the results will be used to further develop and standardise collection of citizens generated data (e.g., the methods to collect, store and respond to user generated data), and help older citizens to participate in urban planning.

Communication/co-creation/co-design (storytelling, gamification) 

  • IoT-device provides means for older adults to actively participate and engage with city planning. Enabling and encouraging citizens to participate in improving their neighbourhood.

  • A model to collect data from the citizens and how to automatically sort and redirect the feedback data to the appropriate city department for delivering and developing better services.