Categorized | Global Economy

Next level design – creating safer public spaces with VoiceYourView

Have you ever taught about bad things happening to you or your children in your local park? When you go running at dusk, have you ever felt eerie about the route you’re taking? Did you ever think there would be a better way to facilitate safety in your local community? You probably have, just like the most of us, but you also probably never managed to get your thoughts and ideas across to those who can actually make a change.

And this is exactly the reason why the Voice Your View project has come into existence. The vision of the guys and gals behind the project is that none other than the users of a public space itself know the space best and are therefore ‘experts’ who can consult designers about why they don’t feel safe.

Continuous user participation during the design process will allow for the designers of a public space to gain more information and compassion about the impact they will have on a particular public space. For instance, when Chris (68) goes out for a walk with his dog at dusk he always hesitates to walk past this small shrub, fearing what could be behind it. Jade (mother of two) fears that her local park where her children play is becoming a hangout spot for teenage drinking parties.

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In a traditional design method, these users of the public space would be given questionnaires about their feelings of safety about a particular space. This however usually includes only a small percentage of users and merely captures a moment in time or whatever occurs to them when given the questionnaire. The unique thing about the Voice Your View project is that it aims to provide a way for users to record their feedback in real-time and in an iterative way, rather than giving a one time snapshot of their thoughts.

This will result in the design of a public space where not only the designers, but the actual users make fundamental decisions together concerning the safety of public spaces. The Voice Your View project is also one of stakeholders of the bigger Digital Economy Programme. More information about the vYv project can be found on their website.

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