Pilots in Citizen Participation: Students Projects at NTNU, Norway

In the course “From Users to Creators- empowering citizens to develop smart and sustainable cities”, students from NTNU, Norway, developed practical, real-life pilot-tests for enhanced citizen participation in the CaPs-partner cities of Oslo and Lier.

On our journey towards smart and sustainable cities, we will need pilots. Citizens must be able to access the cockpit to lead the development towards a destination that best fits their needs without compromising those of future generations. However, people sitting in the control tower i.e. stakeholders from Municipalities, Academia and the Private sector have a crucial role to guide the pilots throughout the journey.

The course From Users to Creators- empowering citizens to develop smart and sustainable cities took place in close collaboration between NTNU and the cities of Oslo and Lier in Norway. This course is part of a pedagogical program at NTNU called “Experts in Team” where master students from different faculties learn to collaborate and develop skills in teamwork around a common goal defined by the leaders of the course. With the help of lecturers, desk research and a constant dialogue with decision-makers, students developed innovative solutions for empowering citizens to become co-creators of smart and sustainable cities. The students were organized in multi-disciplinary groups and competed all semester to propose the most valuable digital solution for citizen participation.

The students’ projects were assessed by an experienced jury with representatives from municipalities and private sector actors in the domain of urban development, and an IT-academic actor. The Jury rewarded two projects created by students’ groups:

A mobile app, “FjordbyAppen” for citizen participation in urban development and an elective course “We are designing the future” for pupils in the 8th grade to make their voices heard when politicians and developers plan for the future.

As the NTNU CaPs team remembered their experiences:

It was a very rich and unique experience for our research team, our students and our partners as well. For all of us, the high point was the presentation day when the students found out that they all went into different directions, covering a large spectrum of solutions for public participation in smart cities. Working so closely and actively with our partners resulted in highly valuable solutions for them to reflect on and overcome some of the challenges in engaging citizens in the development of smart cities.” 

Read more about the course here (in Norwegian): https://www.ntnu.no/eit/tba4860

Course leaders: Professor Alenka Temeljotov-Salaj, Professor Agnar Johansen, Assoc. Professor Mohamed Hamdy. With support from Coline Senior, Dave Collins and Mina Jowkar and Learning Assistants, Marthe Helen Farstad, Johannes Hervik and Kristoffer Aaen Svendsen.

Members of the Jury: Pernille Grimeland Røsvik and Hanne Marte Furset, Oslo Municipality; Kjersti Wilhelmsen, Lier Municipality; Jan Willy Føreland, WSP Norway; Geir Hagehaugen, Eidos; Assoc. Professor Thomas Østerlie, NTNU.

Snapshots from the student projects

Team FjordbyAppen
Team Toolbox
Team “We are designing the future”
Team “Bybøddy”
Team Taket