polis: a collective blog about cities worldwide

Collaborative Idea Banks for Design

by Andrew Wade

In February of last year I documented the public launch of democratic design platform StickyWorld.  In a continuation of that thread, this post updates the progress made in Slider Studio’s attempt to level the playing field when it comes to contributing ideas on design - who can contribute, how the engagement works, and how these contributions filter into an end product.  HTA Architects have embraced the virtual ‘Public Rooms’ developed by StickyWorld as a means of suggesting possible issues and interventions, while allowing any concerned stakeholders (individuals or organisations) to login and post their comments in the form of ‘StickyNotes.’  Ideally, this generates a thread of comments with direct replies and discussion with the architects involved in the project.  A live example from the Brunel Estate project is embedded below:

While striving to create new levels of transparency in the design and consultation process, this technology can also be leveraged to disseminate knowledge on design innovation.  A similar public room has been setup to walk viewers through a sustainably retrofitted East London home - placing on display ideas that could be replicated to utilise existing building stock in a modern and innovative way to reduce energy use and lower the per capita carbon footprint.

In supplementing real community consultations with a virtual platform of discussion, logistics of meetings, time constraints and availability are replaced with more dynamic and ongoing threads of consensus and dissensus.  Viewing participation with a critical eye is essential in driving this technology forward, however such new ways of engagement open up design discussions to a whole new audience - one that must be embraced rather than held at arm’s length by professionals aiming to enact positive change on a wide scale.

Credits: StickyWord public rooms from info.stickyworld.com.