Interview: Technology for Citizen Participation, with Per Linde

Per Linde, interaction design researcher affiliated with Medea, was recently interviewed by the organizers of Smart City Exhibition 2012, where he will also be one of the speakers. Here’s an excerpt of that interview.

INTERVIEWER: What is your own way in building a citizen centered Smart City? What is the role new media play in relation to social innovation?

LINDE: For me it is important to not have a totally technology centered perspective on “smartness”. Innovation is also a matter of innovating democracy itself. ICT and new media is one component of new ways of supporting the creation of citizen based “publics”, but technologies are entangled into everyday socio-material practices of citizens, and has to be understood from that perspective.

LINDE: Discourses on political participation, urban studies, innovation and ICT development are becoming more and more entangled. While social and cultural studies for quite sometime has recognized the importance of material entities in organizing and performing civic engagement, we can also observe how the notion of publics are gaining more and more influence on the fields of design and technological development. Within the context of urbanity much falls into the realm of “smart cities”, but the notion of “smart” is contested and we have heard statistics on the numbers of internet connected people, numbers of devices talking to each other and amounts of monetary units achievable for future service providers over and over again.

Read the full interview here.

Linde will take part in the session “Meet the Cities“, exploring how we can devise smart city agendas that make the difference for citizens and communities, and what role technologies can play in promoting transformations towards more sustainable lifestyles. Ten Cities from all over Europe present their smart experiences and discuss pitfalls and lessons learnt in designing smart solutions where people co-create and participate to develop and maintain new services.

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