Smart Citizens

Smart Citizens Lab

The Smart Citizens Lab operates using one of Waag’s core values: public research. She views society as a community of researchers and citizen scientists. Citizen science means that citizens are given a place at the design table rather than being the subjects of external, top-down research. Smart citizens are those who research how we can take back our sovereignty from the smart city. We appropriate the internet of things to map out and improve our environments.

Technology can strengthen citizens’ positions in relation to governments and corporations.

Technology can strengthen citizens’ positions in relation to governments and corporations. In the Smart Citizens Lab we strengthen our position through citizen sensing: a process by which citizens receive open-source tools and learn to measure their surroundings and interpret the data. By strengthening their knowledge and gathering data, citizens hold a stronger position in the conversation. They are given tools to improve their quality of life themselves.

In the Hollandse Luchten (HoLu) project, for example, we designed open-source air quality sensors that are affordable and easy to produce. These ‘HoLu kits’ are being distributed in pilots to residents who live in regions where the air quality is poor, such as around the Tata steel factory in the IJmond area. We teach citizens to measure the surrounding air quality and to interpret the data. In this way, they are better prepared to advocate for themselves when engaging in dialogue with municipalities, provinces, and companies.

Current projects

Social Initiative in the Energy Transition

Mensen in een groene omgeving met op de achtergrond een kas met zonnepanelen
Smart Citizens Lab
Commissioned by the Nationaal Klimaat Platform (NKP), Waag Futurelab is working on the design of an programme on Social Initiative in the Energy Transition.

Human Values for Smarter Cities

Beveiligingscamera in de stad
Smart Citizens Lab
In Human Values for Smarter Cities, Waag Futurelab investigates the process of procurement when applying smart city technology in public spaces.

Imagining public connectivity

FabLearn onderwijsconferentie
Smart Citizens Lab
The lack of meaningful imaginaries about 5G and the knowledge concentration within industries are catalysts of public distrust. We aim to create a shared knowledge base among citizens and governments to include citizens in official local decision-making processes around 5G.

Public Civil Cooperation

expeditie toekomst
Smart Citizens Lab
In this project, Waag investigates new knowledge and process models, which support sustainable cooperation between citizens and governments.


Smart Citizens Lab
Together with citizens, investigative journalists and scientists, Waag research heat stress in the Netherlands.

Tipping the Balance

opening planet b
Smart Citizens Lab
The aim of Tipping the Balance is to investigate which factors and strategies play a role in encouraging citizens to make healthier food choices.

Healthy life, healthy microbiome

Waag_Microbiome Center_Gezond leven
Smart Citizens Lab
Waag and the Microbiome Center are joining forces to research how technological solutions contributing to more control for patients in diseases related to their microbiome.

Shared Cities, Smart Citizens

Data visualisation - data graphics
Smart Citizens Lab
This project examines the conditions for building a future smart city. Public values and the rights and needs of citizens play a central role.

NWA Route Smart Liveable Cities

NWA route Smart Liveable Cities
Smart Citizens Lab
Waag organises the route management around public programmes relating to ‘Smart, liveable cities’, aiming to better connect science with society.

Embassy of Health

Dutch Design Week - Embassy of Health
Smart Citizens Lab
The Embassy of Health explores challenges within healthcare and unites different perspectives on the crossings of technology, design, science, arts and healthcare.

Hollandse Luchten

Woman with sensor
Smart Citizens Lab
Hollandse Luchten is a citizens science project where we involve citizens in measuring air quality in their environment in the Province of North Holland.