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G.Lupi, G. Rossi, Design as an information process,


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In: Service Design Performances, Fall 22 Series, Desis-Lab, Presso: Parsons New School for design, New York, August 2011.

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G.Lupi, G. Rossi, Design as an information process,

  1. 1. DESIGN AS AN INFORMATION PROCESS a Public Services Plan for the Municipality of Milan Were Giorgia Lupi, and Gabriele Rossi, today we will briefly introduce who we are and what we do as a company, well focus on a project developed during the last 3 years within InteractionDesign-Lab and withDESIGN AS AN INFORMATION PROCESS: Stefano Mirti for the Municipality of Milan.A Public Services Plan for the Municipality of Milan Among all the projects we took part in, we felt this one was the most interesting according to the topics of/ |||| / | giorgia lupi, gabriele rossi Monday Aug 29th 2011 this series of meetings.
  2. 2. / |||| / | / |||| / | We run a company called accurat, Were a design agency and consultancy, Our design research deals with the interaction between people, information and contexts. Accurat was born in 2011, growing from our previous experiences as associates and project managers at / |||| / | (?) - ACCURAT, 2011 InteractionDesign-Lab and Bonsaininja Studio./ |||| / | interaction between people, information and contexts. We design, teach and research.
  3. 3. / |||| / | At / |||| / | we think that information information related issue related issues are at the core of any design project that deals with cities, society, public services and behaviors, regardless of its scale.
  4. 4. / |||| / | At / |||| / | we study how informations is transforming our everydaylife experiences. From our activities (studying, transforming our everydaylife experiences working, socially interacting), to our places (home, office, cities), to the infrastructures that nowadays include and rely on users.
  5. 5. / |||| / | At / |||| / | we think that a good design is the one that enables an easy and immediate access to information. an easy and immediate access to information At / |||| / | we deal with information as the most important design element.
  6. 6. / |||| / | We come from different backgrounds. Im giorgia lupi , Im an architect since 2006, Ive been involved in different urban design project in the last years, Ive been teaching communication design (information design) for the last 3 years, and at the age of 30 Ive just started a PHD in Design, at Politecnico di Milano within PERLA (perception lab). My research focuses on the nature of behaviors and processes that can weave new urban patterns, and on the possible virtuos interaction between citizens and the global context. giorgialupi Ive been here in New York for the month of August working with Lara and Eduardo at DESIS Lab.
  7. 7. / |||| / | Im gabriele rossi, Master in communication design. Before starting Accurat I ran a communication agency and production house in Milan for 5 years, where I worked as movie and commercial director. I now work as project and production manager on information and digital communication projects with Accurat. Im also the coordinator of the Design Studio at the International School in NABA, (new academy of gabriele rossi fine arts in milan) a multidisciplinary workshop for international students where I teach Visual and Communication Design.
  8. 8. / |||| / | Simone Quadri, who is not here is the other associate, is a sociologist. As an agency we currently work with many professionals, like sociologists, architects, researchers, interaction designers, writers, graphic designers, video makers, software developers, that build different teams addressing to specific design goals. simone quadri, / |||| / | Each project has a team on its own, built around the studies, processes and technologies involved.
  9. 9. Plan of Services, Milan We will now introduce one of the most interesting projects weve taken part in, the Plan of Services for the Municipality of Milan (developed between 2009 and 2010). The plan has not to be intended as a product or document, since it was developed as a continuous process of listening, monitoring, reporting and crossing the needs and the an information project offers in terms of services of the city; It is, in fact, an information design listening, monitoring, reporting and crossing the needs and the offers project.
  10. 10. Plan of Services, Milan A short introduction to Milan and its situation. Milan is the business capital of Italy and centre for Italian economic activities. There is situated the Stock Exchange, which fame is consolidated by the whirlwind of Fashion and Design, the heavy industrial presence, the diffusion of the tertiary sector and the great cultural fermentation. Thanks to its economic activities, the design fair, fashion week and other Milan global events, its slowly becoming an international city, destination for travel, study and business from all parts of the world.
  11. 11. Plan of Services, Milan Milan has never had a Plan. For the first time in its history, according to a law in the Lombardy County, the Municipality hired different teams of architect, urbarnists, design companies and economic experts to shape the so called PGT (Territorial Government Plan), which consists of three acts: the Strategic Development Plan [Documento di Piano], which indicates the strategies and general objectives of the local government town-planning policies; the Regulations [Piano delle Regole], which govern the regeneration of the consolidated fabric of the city; the Plan of Services [Piano dei Servizi], which determines the urban facilities and services needed. Within Interactiondesign Lab, a Milan design consultancy based in Milan, we took part in the design and development of the Plan of the first Plan: PGT (Territorial Government Plan), 2009 - 2010 Services.
  12. 12. Plan of Services, Milan The primary objective of the service plan is that of thinking, developing and implementing a new model for a service network. The underlying idea that services are provided through a system based on standard areas and rigid constraints is no longer practical: it seems to be a model which no longer has any chance of functioning. The challenge is not banal: we needed to invent a completely new PDS,a new model for a service network way of providing services for a metropolis as Milan, keeping in high regard economic and social with economic and social constraints. constraints.
  13. 13. Plan of Services, Milan we did this through: - Visualizing the city we want: visualizing the city we want an attractor of new activities, a sustainable and effective provider of sound infrastructure and mobility services.
  14. 14. Plan of Services, Milan - Visualizing today`s city: Milan effectively keeps away young visualizing todayʼs city active people (because of the high living costs), grows commuting and traffic, is ineffective with regard to infrastructure.
  15. 15. Plan of Services, Milan - There is a a real need to invent new sustainable systems through invent new sustainable systems which to offer services, facilitate cooperation between various new actors, to find new approaches to challenges.
  16. 16. Plan of Services, Milan / forewords By looking at public and private services in Milan and other contemporary cities, we can focus on these facts: - costs / The are no more funds for building ...costs new services, not even for supporting and keeping the already existing ones active, that citizens give for guaranteed.
  17. 17. Plan of Services, Milan / forewords - qualitative vs. quantitative / We have to switch from a traditional urban planning point of view that relies exclusively on a quantitative analisys of the offer and demand of services to an approach that includes qualitative information. Most of the citizens wont argue about the square feet of per capita qualitative vs. quantitative public green space, they will care instead about the quality of this green space; is it well mantained? is it propoerly lit?
  18. 18. Plan of Services, Milan / forewords - spatial vs. a-spatial / From a world where services were deeply related to a physical place to a world where services can be provided anywhere, even online. The life of a citizen doesnt really get spatial vs. a-spatial better if the city opens a registry office near his place, it does improve if he can quickly and easily access the same information online.
  19. 19. Plan of Services, Milan / forewords - needs vs. desires / Urban planning usually deals with needs; citizens are more and more used to think in terms of desires. If I have to say what could change my life of Milanese citizen, I could say the subway open all needs vs. desires night long. This is not a real "need", even though I feel that I truly need it, I can have other options of transportation.
  20. 20. Plan of Services, Milan / forewords - residents vs. city users / we have to switch the target from residents only to all the other residents vs. city users categories of "city users", including commuters, tourists, businessmen, which is something Milan is not used to.
  21. 21. Plan of Services, Milan / forewords - social conflicts / in the past almost all of the services were considered somehow in a positive way by the community; we know have to deal with services social conflicts that a part of the community might need and another part fiercely opposes.
  22. 22. Plan of Services, Milan / forewords Perception As we said before, nowadays simply addressing the need of services is not enough; the user experience is becoming a central topic in planning a complex system. And experience is deeply related to perception. If i feel, as a user, that the service is not good, this perception is somehow my only reality. Ss planners we have to deal with this perception in the same way we do with more objective informations, such as analytical data and statistics. even if the numbers are saying that a service is working, if users have a different perception, this information becomes immediately the most important one, even against the supposed objectivity of the analytical input. = PERCEPTION = PERCEPTION This is why the Plan tries to read both existing and future services also from this very important point of view.
  23. 23. Plan of Services, Milan What kind of services are ruled by the Plan of Services? In order to better understand how the Plan works we have to divide services in two categories. What kind of services are ruled by the PdS? - localized services, like infrastructures and green. this kind of services are planned for the years to come in detail in the PGT localized services
  24. 24. Plan of Services, Milan ... ... public markets schools social services ... kindergardens ... health libraries museum ... - not yet localized services, which we define as constructed services such as schools, universities, kindergartens, libraries, health and social services… the localization of these services is not planned, a new paradigm is used: the Plan decides to act on these What kind of services are ruled by the PdS? services in a flexible way, analyzing the relationship between needs and offer through time, and not in advance. not yet localized services
  25. 25. Plan of Services, Milan Ascolto della Città [Hearing the City] The idea of quasi-market The concept that the Plan is not a product, but a continuous process. The Plan of Services is built on three key points: 3 keypoints of the Service Plan - Hearing the City - The idea of quasi-market - The concept that the Plan is not a product, but a continuous process.
  26. 26. Plan of Services, Milan - monitoring mass media - aquiring all information considering public services supplied by the Office of Complaints. - conducting more than one houndred and fifty public meets in all of Milan by the Councillor Masseroli. - conducting a constant monitoring of all mass media publications regarding any thematic referring to city services, public and private. - aquiring all information considering public services supplied by the Office of Complaints. 1. ascolto della città [hearing the city] The prototype lasted 6 months, in 2009, and it was made of: - more than 150 public meetings all over Milan, held by the Councillor Masseroli. - a constant monitoring and geo- referencing of all mass media publications regarding any topic referring to city services, public and Ascolto della città [hearing the city] private. - aquisition of all the information regarding public services supplied by the Office of Complaints.
  27. 27. * information here is the amount ofqualitative and quantitative datas available designin a correct information process system is the ability to select, cross, organize, and report all of these different voices
  28. 28. Plan of Services, Milan 2. quasi-market / subsidiarity The idea of the quasi-market is the principle through which the public becomes facilitator, supporting the spontaneous initiatives by individuals and groups, with the goal to trigger in this way potential answers to multiple needs. Its easy to explain the concept saying that in terms of Public Services, in some situations, rather than planning new onea, its preferable and more efficient to support those private services that grow spontaneusly and already efficiently address a specific need. Quasi market / subsidiariety This could introduce the idea that private citizens and private companies can provide public services, if supported.
  29. 29. * information here is to seeand mark whats happening. designin a correct information process system is the ability to recognize and estabilish a relationship between citizens active behaviours in terms of public services, the Municipality, and private actors.
  30. 30. Plan of Services, Milan 3. continuous flux The third key concept the method that supports the project, which we can describe as a continuous flow. Traditionally, the Service Plan is intended as finite as a product, a rigid map which sets constraints and indications referred to precise areas. In our case it has been constructed The project of the method (continuous as a process, to be iterated flow) continuously, which guarantees a refining The third key concept is that regarding mechanism, up-to-date informations the project of the method (continuous on the needs of the city and flow). Traditionally, the Service Plan is constant improvement. intended as finite as a product, as a We can imagine our cities as the rigid map which sets constraints result of the combination between referred to precise areas. In our case it different kind of fluxes. has been constructed as a process, to Fluxes of people, objects, datas, informations, fluxes that are rapidly be iterated continuously, which changing. guarantees a refining mechanism and We cannot start from the definition constant improvement. of a precise final result, as a goal. We have to start from the understanding of what are the mechanisms that in a way direct Continuous flux these fluxes. We cannot set rigid rules, we have to set a system which has to be able to refine itself continuously.
  31. 31. * information here is the content designing a correct information process system is the ability to shape infrastructures and tools that contain and display constant fluxes of selected informations. These infostructures have also to be easily manageable and updatable.
  32. 32. Plan of Services, Milan The table of Services The environmental Atlas (88) Method of action This is what we did. We designed 2 tools. 2 tools at 2 different scales, the macro scale of the city, and the micro scale of the neighborhood. these tools dont define what services we plan to have, but they give directions on how to cross the demand and the possible answer in terms of services in a meaningful Method of action way. they are: the table of services + the environmental atlas 2 tools
  33. 33. The first tool is the Table of Services, the instrument that defines the method of action. Imagine a huge dynamic matrix that crosses the demand of services and the offer of services and structures. This matrix has the goal to visualize all the possible different scenarios in terms of public services, The matrix allows to give a hierarchy to the priorities of intervention, to understand the actual technical and economic chances of applications. The matrix helps to define time bythe table of Services time, what to do, but more than that which existing services and structures can be used to addressthe instrument which defines the method of action. the intersection between new needs.the demand of services and the offer of services and structures.
  34. 34. THE TABLE OF SERVICES How it works: THE OFFER, the horizontal axis of the table. It displays and organizes all the possible territorial answers to service needs. Were talking about all the existing services and structures (schools, libraries, parks... divided into 16 cathegories).the table of Services We also include public services provided from private citizens or companies, supported by the Public administration.the offer
  35. 35. THE DEMAND, the vertical axis of the table. It shows all the needs in terms of public services, its built on the interaction between: - Programme guidelines and actions of the municipality (the major has been elected, so we could imagine that the program of the major is a starting point to be checked)the table of Services - Ascolto della Città [Hearing the City] and a universe of quantitative values on services, constantly updated by the Statistical Sector.the demand
  36. 36. The table of services: intersections and clusters. Crossing demand for services and spatial availability reveals points of intersection. Potential territorial answers to new specific needs are highligthed on an intersection. The next step is to define potential gatherings of services in the form of clusters (groupings) which include existing services to improve, or new ones, divided by families. The analysis task lets us definethe table of Services which gatherings of services are prioritized, suggesting at the same time possible modalities of strategic action.intersections
  37. 37. For instance, reading the matrix; what if we cross the "safety" goal with public administration? mmmm. nothing. what if we cross the "safety" goal with public schools? apparently nothing, but if youre able to extend the opening time of the building through evening, lending the spaces forthe table of Services cultural activities, you can achieve incredible results in terms of the level of safety people actually perceive...intersections / an example
  38. 38. horizontal clusters /intervention possibility for specific needsvertical clusters /how a specific structure can answer to a needarea clusters /wide intervention area possibility How to interprete clusters : The matrix can be read in different ways, depending of the specific goal at hand - horizontal clusters, show that the specific need can have multiple solutions within the services already provided from the city. - vertical clusters, give the idea of how a singular service, or a singular structure can answer to different needs and goals. - area clusters, suggest wider the table of Services possibilities of intervention, even complex relationships between families of needs, public services and structures.. intersections / how to read clusters
  39. 39. * information here is different layersof needs and opportunities designin a correct information process system is to create the infrastructure that immediately highlites possible virtuous crossings.
  40. 40. ENVIRONMENTAL ATLAS then we have another instrument, in relation with the matrix, that is the micro-scale of the process, this tool deals with neighborhood and its called the Environmental Atlas. in Milan we have 88 neighborhoods, (Local Identity Nucleus) defined not just by limits of streets and squares but taking into consideration also the neighborhood features, history and life. The hearing of the city is now more and more fundamental to understand where to act geographically when a specific need is highlighted. So, after reading the matrix, and lets say, after having discovered that the structure of a public school is a possible answer to a safety problem (need), we have to understand whichEnvironmental Atlas (88) structures to take into consideration, we have to focus on the places where the problem or the need is88 “dashboards” of continuous and constant monitoring which light up really felt as important.different environments
  41. 41. Quantitative + Qualitative The Environmental Atlases (88, one for each Local Identity Nucleus) are the design tools that enable access for the public administration to the actual local status in terms of needs and offers of services. They are a constantly updated reference for planning decisions, helping to outline how to act locally, which services to activate, which services can be provided by private partners or communities in the neighborhood. Imagine 88 “dashboards” built from a continuous and constant monitoring of chances and woes, which light up different environments: - Quantitative/demographic values and indicators on the state of the services of the neighborhood collected by the Statistical Sector; - Indexing and localization ofEnvironmental Atlas (88) existing services by SIT, problems and potentialities expressed during the operation of Ascolto della Città88 “dashboards” of continuous and constant monitoring which light up [Hearing the City];different environments
  42. 42. The Atlases are made of different boards; 1) quantitative informations (gathered by the statisticsEnvironmental atlas (88) municipality office) - population density of the neighborhood - residents and neighborhood users - main attractive factorsquantitative informations
  43. 43. 2) working services of the neighborhood (divided into categories: parks, public transports,Environmental atlas (88) public and private education facilities…), for each category theres an index of the effective facilities.working services of the neughborhood
  44. 44. Environmental atlas (88) 3) geo-localization on the neighborhood map of these services, (we can now start seeing what is close to what…)working services of the neighborhood (localization)
  45. 45. 4) the so called "critical situations" and "opportunities" gathered and geo-localized starting from the hearing of the city...Environmental atlas (88) at a first look you can immediately have an image of the actual situation, just by lookin at the size of the pointers directly on the map.critical situation (qualitative)
  46. 46. 4) the so called "critical situations" and "opportunities" gathered and geo-localized starting from the hearing of the city...Environmental atlas (88) at a first look you can immediately have an image of the actual situation, just by lookin at the size of the pointers directly on the map.potentiality (qualitative)
  47. 47. 5) this is the pointer comparison,Environmental atlas (88) when you can see for each service where the neighborhood is compared with the rest of the city.pointers (comparizons)
  48. 48. 6) and then the last part, the most important one, regarding the ongoing transformations. usually when a private company wants to build on an area, it has to pay to the municipality the so called urbanization tax". as an alternative to the tax the constructor can choose to build a service (usually infrastructures, planned to be built some years before the effective moment, in the traditional plan of services...) with this method the public administration can say to the constructor what is the effective need of the neighborhood in terms of services at the exactmoment of the negotiation... and so, for example, if in 2013 theres a safety problem in the park of the neighborhood X, the municipality can swap the urbanization tax with, maybe, the construction of an efficient lighting system.... of course, if I have to plan now whatEnvironmental atlas (88) will be the needs of the neighborhood X in 2013, it would be a bit un-real...ongoing transformations
  49. 49. * information here is the amountof different datas available designin a correct information process system is to deal with all this different datas, understand how to visualize them, how to compare them, and how to enable quick decision proceses.
  50. 50. Plan of Services, Milan NOW / the Milan situation. The Plan is still a prototype. Due to the very long approval process (italian), the entire Plan has been approved at beginning of 2011, and should be put in practice through the work of different offices and people in the Municipality that have been involved in the design process and carefully trained to keep the cyclical update alive. In fact, the Mayor has just changed ...a working prototype (in May) and we will learn what will happen to the Plan in the following months. the Milan situation
  51. 51. A very important part of the Plan for the city is itsA very important part of the Plan for the city is its comunication to the citizens, Weve personally designed this part, thorugh a Website called milanoperscelta, unfortunately its in Italian.milanoperscelta Weve personally designed this part, thorugh a Website called milanoperscelta, unfortunately its in Italian.the Communication of the PGT
  52. 52. Milano per scelta ( is the official website of the new Territorial Administration Plan of the City of Milan, so the whole Plan, not only the act regarding Public services. The basic option is of course to download the thousand pages of the Plan document, but the most interesting feature are:milanoperscelta - 15 30 second videos that allow citizens to understand in a super easy / visual and immediate way the 15 goals of the Planthe Communication of the PGT
  53. 53. - an interactive role-playing game where the citizen is supposed to be the Mayor and has to deal with effective weight and worth in terms of time, costs, attractivity, quality... of the choices he makes. In a way its very similar to the Urbanology game weve seen at BMWguggenheim lab, it lets citizensmilanoperscelta explore and understand the amount of elements that compose the planning of a city, and how choices always have a price.the Communication of the PGT
  54. 54. milanoperscelta (at the very end they get a feedback in the form of a Mayor Profile, which kind of Mayor would you be?)the Communication of the PGT
  55. 55. The game is shown through the website, and has also became atdesign of the other things first a temporary exhibition at triennale "design of the other things" and a permanent exhibition at the Urban center of Milan..the Communication of the PGT
  56. 56. * information here the Plan in all of itsconstituencies designin a correct information process system is to make complex datas and processes accessible, and to create the motivation for access them through a playful engagement.
  57. 57. In our experience, as professionals and researchers, the most difficult task is the definition of what is appropriate in different situations. We think that appropriateness is at the center of any design issues. In this context the design has to set itself new goals: understanding how ways of knowing, methods, logic* appropriateness and skills can change the way products, services, processes and strategies are developed.
  58. 58. DESIGN AS AN INFORMATION PROCESS:A Public Services Plan for the Municipality of Milan more on us at: more on us: