DESIGNING FOR CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT - By Lancaster University
Insert the logos/names of the main institutions involved in the project...Designing for citizen engagementUnderstanding how people support each other in daily life boththrough formal and informal volunteering and how to enhancethatHEI: Lancaster UniversityCourse(s)/Research body: MA Design Management, Module‘Design Thinking and Research Methods’Main Partners: Lancaster City CouncilPlace: LancasterKeywords: service design, citizen engagement
The context:This research project aimed at helping the Local Council to betterunderstand the dynamics, conditions and forms ofspontaneous and informal mutual help within communities aswell as formal volunteering in both a rural and urban area, and touse this knowledge to improve their service infrastructure andprovision to become more open and collaborative.
Click on the icon below to insert one ormore images showing the project…(of people, objects and places)Add text below to summarise the startingconcept and strategy, how did theproject develop? what were some of thekey outputs and outcomes?Students in groups worked with different existing communities andinitiatives both Council led and not. They then reported on reasonsfor citizens’ engagement and what the Council could do or use toimprove their work: i.e. less hierarchical communication strategy, adigital credit system for time bank, guidelines for reinforcingcommunity spirit, cross generational activities, etc.
Actor Profile: Lancaster City CouncilMotivations for involvement (agendas):Lancaster City Council is exploring new approaches to citizenengagement and participation into local governance and service provision.The interaction with citizens is transforming, because of changingdemands, limited resources and the advent of new social media thatchallenge traditional ways of communication and decision-making.Contribution to the project (assets):Contacts with local communities; access to data and feedback to projectproposalsThe project outcomes for this actor:Insights into participation and engagement, what support and preventthem; some insights on few on-going initiatives and ideas to evaluate forimplementation.
Other actors or initiatives:•Warton Village•Hala Community Association•Highfield Regeneration Project•Lancaster Friendship Group•Connected Communities•Time Bank Lancaster•Street Pride projectContribution to the project (assets):Support to students, access to information and co-designThe project outcomes for these actors:Insights in their work and visibility with the City Council
Design Process was open to students choice of individual methodsand activities, but it had to fit within 10 weeks.
Methods used:Students were presented with design research methods in generalfrom generic ethnographic methods to more designerly approachessuch as cultural probes, generative tools, co-design tools. They werefree to choose the most relevant for their investigations.
Methods used:Ideas Fair was an event organised to present to all communities andstakeholders involved the students’ ideas and get feedback for thestudents to finalise their work.
Role of DesignIn depth exploration of people’s motivations and resistances toparticipation in community based or council driven initiatives. Alsovalorisation of existing resources and their reciprocal relationships:what is already there and how it can be reinforced.Ideas generation beyond individual perspectives and interests.
Project output and impact:The project outcome was a list of possible ideas to improve theCouncil work with existing local communities and insights in theirmotivations and needsThe council collected all ideas into a report for their communicationand engagement team. Some insights have been useful to informtheir future activities i.e. Street Pride (communication strategy), TimeBank (credit system) or Skerton Connected Communities(engagement strategies)
Learning outcomes:List the key learning outcomes for the project for the different actors:Students, HEI, course, other actors etc…
Successes and Shortcomings/ Barriers and EnablersThe successes of the project were the width and depth of theoverview the students developed that was difficult for the Council toachieve; also the good relationships students developed with thecommunity groups. Ideas and insights were taken seriously on board.Shortcomings were the time frame of 10 weeks and difficulty toaccess some case studies with delays for students. Some ideas werenot feasible in terms of implementation.Enabling has been the strong interest demonstrated by the CityCouncil to engage with Design and design students and how theyfacilitated access to data and people.