Smart Citizens Lab

Making Sense: Advances and Explorations in Participatory Sensing

22-4-16 08:00
Design & City conference, Amsterdam

In the context of the Design & City Conference, which will explore citizen-centered design approaches for the smart city, we invite you for an exciting workshop about using open source hardware and software to solve local problems. This a great chance to get acquainted with our newest initiative in the emerging field of smarts citizens. After our first two exiting editions of the Amsterdam Smart Citizens Lab, we’re broadening our horizons to the international field.

Towards smart citizens
The fast uptake of FabLabs and Maker Spaces is creating new opportunities for citizen-driven innovation in domains ranging from open hardware to digital fabrication, community informatics, and participatory sensing. In the past five years, the broad availability of open hardware tools, the creation of online data sharing platforms, and the easy access to maker spaces have fostered the design of low cost and open source sensors that communities can appropriate to engage in environmental action. By collectively measuring and making sense of environmental phenomena citizens can become aware of how their lifestyle affects the ecosystem and be inspired to adopt more sustainable behaviours and demand collective action.

Official bodies typically measure environmental qualities with sparse networks of high quality sensors, and the resulting data are analysed to inform policy and regulations. At the same time, with the exception of extreme cases like smog pollution, citizens tend to be unaware of the health threats that they are subjected to on a daily basis. Moreover, they lack potential for action on their own behalf. By encouraging and enabling the creation of bottom up sensor networks, and sharing the resulting data and knowledge, the new EU-funded project Making Sense aims to add to the available data and understanding, and contribute to a healthier and cleaner environment.

The Making Sense Workshop
This workshop will show how open source software, open source hardware, digital maker practices and open design can be used by local communities to appropriate their own sensing technologies, make sense of their environments and address environmental problems. It will elaborate on how to provide citizens and communities with appropriate tools to enhance their everyday environmental awareness to enable active intervention in their surroundings, and to change their individual and collective practices. Finally, it will stimulate reflection and knowledge sharing.

Organizers for the workshop include Frank Kresin, of Waag; Mara Balestrini, from Ideas for Change; Tomas Diez, from IAAC & the Smart Citizen Kit; and Mel Woods, winner of the 2013 Imperica Prize.

The workshop will last for half a day. There is a small entrance fee (€ 15 half day workshops, € 25 whole day workshops).

The workshop is fully booked; we will have documentation on-line after the event.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme "CAPS - Collective Aware Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation" under grant agreement no. 688620.