Digital tools for participatory led design

Agile City investigates participatory digital tools

Image : changify

Research tools for urban design and architecture practice are advancing and pushing the boundaries and scope of information that can be sourced directly from a city. Agile City is interested in projects which consider and apply community driven input to move forward the values and opinion of citizens. Whilst looking at specific examples of projects which do this, it’s also interesting to consider the innovative tools themselves which help this process. Apps and web platforms are now using citizen input to comprehend a vast understanding of what a 21st century city looks like, how its used and can it can be changed.

Three examples of urban research tools include –

Map your city – ‘Find or start mapping underused and revitalised buildings.’
This app is aimed to create communities that find unique buildings for the use of developers and entrepreneurs globally. Organisations and individuals can map certain locations and give detailed information about the buildings and sites. Map your city works with local hosts to run mapping events in cities, focusing on finding an array of building types, for example; industrial buildings in London, hidden treasures in Amsterdam or hide-aways in Canada.
This tool has the opportunity to bring local knowledge of places and buildings to a global audience and open discussions about what could happen with them. You can download the app here and start adding data about your favourite buildings, sites or investigate new places.

Placemeter – ‘Quantify the World’
In order to unlock the potential of your new project and site, it’s important to gain a deeper understanding of information regarding how the place is used. Placemeter can translate videos (from smart phones or CCTV) into comprehensive data which gives you an insight into; the amount and direction of pedestrians; automobile users and bicycle traffic. With the use of advanced technology, this online platform now readily makes information available which would otherwise take hours to calculate. Founded in 2012, Placemeter relies on users to record their own videos, and anonymously stores the information. The company describes the platform as a tool to –

‘build stronger businesses, efficient cities and innovative neighbourhoods worldwide.’

Changify – ‘Crowd source, solve and fund better neighbourhoods using your phone.’

Changify works on a local level with projects and people who want to make positive changes to their cities. Digitally it facilitates citizens to communicate on the ambitions or problems they have for local areas in order to spark a catalyst for change. Already the project has been launched in London, Barcelona and Berlin with successful discussions and results.

Changify is much more than a place to complain about your local area, but a tool to share skills, solutions and exchange ideas. Participants are encouraged to prototype ideas which have a positive effect and generate interest from governmental organisations. This tool can be of great help to designers needing to create a community of participants who want to see active change.

These examples show positive progress in the realm of community aided design tools and hopefully these young examples can advance to further help in the development of projects worldwide. Agile City welcomes the input of others in our growing platform, if you have any other examples or online tools, then please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

Other usefull tools include-

Open Source City – Spatial planning for the future

Breather – Unlock private spaces in the city


Agile City investigates participatory digital tools Above images : Placemeter

Agile City investigates participatory digital tools

Agile City investigates participatory digital tools

Above images : Map your City