Design for data empowerment

News - 09 April 2020 - Communication BK

How can citizens be involved in urban data issues? Within the Data Empowerment Design Studio, researchers, local residents, designers, and neighbourhood initiatives discuss and develop new ideas. Led by researchers Emiel Rijshouwer (Erasmus University) and Els Leclercq (MBE) from the LDE Centre for BOLD Cities, the pilot studio looked into the specific case of ‘last mile logistics’ – the final part of a parcel’s road from warehouse to recipient.

Data sources increasingly influence daily life in cities, in both personal and impersonal manners. One of the Centre for BOLD Cities’ main objectives is creating awareness of these processes. Data empowerment is a next step, in which urban residents not only gain knowledge on the use of data in the city, but are actively involved in figuring out what their role in the digital society is or can be.

Last mile logistics

In the pilot studio, residents of Rotterdam’s Afrikaanderwijk were invited to share their ideas about parcel delivery. While many citizens are merely on the receiving end, primarily through ordering online, this process is heavily influenced by data, ranging from purchase to determining delivery times. During the pilot, participants came up with several solutions to embed delivery in a more local context, using data as well as aiming to improve the environment and social cohesion in the city. Ideas included setting up a local delivery service via existing markets and ‘hacking’ the possible use of a home-based delivery point by adding services on top of only offering the possibility of picking up parcels elsewhere.

Read the full article by the LDE Centre for BOLD Cities here.