Work with urban communities

During the past week we’ve introduced the CoMeUp system in two small workshops for Helsinki citizen activists and urban environment interest groups. Participants included members of Kotikaupunkipolut walking paths group, HePo Helsinki cyclists group, and Pohjois-Haaga neighborhood association. In these sessions, paper and digital prototypes of mobile and desktop interfaces supported informal dialogue and idea generation. Participants reflected on existing mobile tools they have used (such as the augmented reality app Wikitude and locative media collections that use Citynomadi). They also shared printed materials (maps and guide books) that have been used by their groups.

Some conclusions from the workshops:

1. CoMeUp supports small communities that need to collaboratively document the urban environment. The features developed so far for the CoMeUp platform, such as supporting all types of media collections (photos, audio, video), collaborative commenting, and possibility to export media in various formats, have been deemed useful. New features could be developed, such as:

  • The possibility to import existing data sets (such as public services or commute information), so that they could be supplemented with community-specific knowledge and media using CoMeUp.
  • The possibility to include media to the comments.

2. There is a need for sustainable project-based research. Projects such as CoMeUp need to develop better models for sustainability after project funding ends. For example, taking into consideration revenue logic should be addressed early on. There could be an interesting role for municipalities in providing services for supporting urban communities in maintaining platforms relevant to their activities.

Finally, we also briefly discussed the Citizen Toolkit activities that were kick-started as part of the CoMeUp project and received funding for this coming year from the Innovatiivinen kaupunginosa project.