Citizen Centrik

 In this blog and podcast we explore examples of user centric urban services.  A citizen centric approach is often defined as saving people time, making their lives easier, providing more choice of services and helping people to be healthier or safer.

Our core message is: "if we solve the citizen’s problems first and if we do this with intuitive and easy to use tools then all of the data to make city more efficient and sustainable will be available by default" 

The newest and best examples of user centric urban services have come via the platform economy and the importance of platforms has recently been emphasised by the Finnish government who have “estimated that artificial intelligence and platform economy will contribute 30 per cent to Finland's GDP in 2030.”

In our opinion the core concept of a citizen centric, smart and sustainable city is the optimised allocation of the assets with the city. This pool of shared assets could include buildings, outdoor spaces, vehicles and even equipment such as 3D printers or DIY tools. Mobility as a service has recently been introduced to Helsinki via the whim app and it is a good example of the benefit that can be derived from sharing assets. When other spaces and assets are added to the sharing pool then we really do have the building blocks of a citizen centric, smart and sustainable city.

Citizen Centric

  • Healthier: A more compact and space efficient city is more walkable and this results in less commuting time. In addition, getting rid of your car means more walking and cycling.
  • User Experience: Platforms and sharing provide more choice of spaces, services & vehicles. 
  • Easier to Use: User friendly interfaces and apps make the services available to all.
  • Optimised: The product and service offering is optimised with analytics to give citizens exactly what they want.   

Smart and Sustainable 

  • Circular Economy: Sharing avoids unnecessary product ownership and enables all shared products to be designed for a long life.
  • Less Carbon Emissions: Mobility as a service and more flexible working dramatically reduces transport emissions.
  • Less Energy: Better utilisation of our built environment reduces energy that is consumed in half empty buildings.
  • Less Cost: Optimising the use of all our assets reduces the cost of the associated services.

There are many challenges in this area with regards to personal privacy or data ownership but in our opinion the potential benefit is to great to ignore, especially with regard to reducing environmental impact. To paraphrase  a recent article on surveillance capitalism in the Guardian: we are imagining a world where the digital exists with without surveillance capitalism