GEO-C and Participation: Workshops on ‘Design Thinking’ with young refugees in Münster

Four participatory workshops in ‘Design Thinking’ were conducted by the Geo-C team at WWU with over 18 young refugees and asylum seekers in Münster. Each of the sessions was half-day long, and they were done as extracurricular activities from the school. The workshops were held at the Institute for Geoinformatics from mid-October to mid-November, 2017. These workshops aimed to assess a set of participatory methodologies draw from a combination of elements from participatory design, participatory (action) research, and didactics to provide ‘safe spaces’ for learning and co-creation of technologies for them with young refugees and asylum seekers.

During these workshops, we also aimed to understand the awareness of young refugees and asylum seekers regarding the management of their personal and location data when they use digital services. Several exploratory methods were used for this, as well as for introducing, after the ‘exploratory’ assessment, the concept of personal and location data privacy to them. The goal of this exercise was to evaluate if such strategy modified somehow the way they ideate and design digital services to support them in their (re)settlement in Münster.

At the end of the workshops, attendance certificates for participating in the workshops in ‘Design Thinking’ were provided to the young refugees and asylum seekers who participated. All of these activities were done with the collaboration of the school staff, mainly from the school administration and teachers.

Opening Smart cities: challenges to engage citizens through information systems – ECIS workshop

To organize a scientific event in the form of a workshop as part of the 25th European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS). ESR 01,03,04,05,06,13 and 15 gathered in Guimaraes – Portugal to discuss the topic of “Opening Smart cities: challenges to engage citizens through information systems.”

The workshop aimed to allow space for the participants and organizers to reflect on current smart cities practices and their challenges, and possible ways to address them. It was particularly emphasized by the call that the participants considered and proposed over the importance of effective citizen engagement strategies and platforms within the smart cities’ context.

Different activities took place during the workshop: presentation session and brainstorming session. The presentations covered a broad range of topics (citizen engagement, privacy from the smart city’s point of view, participatory budget and transformation of smart and sustainable cities). After the presentations, an interactive session was built on the group discussion and brainstorming. The topics included “IoT & Privacy in smart cities,” “Openness in smart cities: challenges and impact” and “Sense of place to promote participation in smart cities.” Participants were divided into two groups, and finally, they all agreed on common issues concerning the participation of citizens in city contexts such as isolation, exclusion and lack of participation.

More information on the workshop can be found here:

Pictures of the workshop:


CfP Workshop @ ECIS2017: Opening Smart Cities: Challenges to engage citizens through information systems

We, some of the ESRs from the “GEO-C – Geoinformatics: Enabling Open Cities” project, would like to invite you to our half-day pre-conference workshop part of the 25th Annual European Conference on Information Systems (ECIS 2017). This workshop entitled “Opening Smart Cities: Challenges to engage citizens through information systems” aims to explore and discuss the potential of information systems to engage citizens in the development of smart cities through e-participation technologies.

The session will take place on June 6, 2017, in conjunction with the ECIS 2017 in Guimarães, Portugal. The deadlines for short papers (max. 2000 words) submissions are on April 3, 2017 and we encourage you to submit your paper as a .pdf to us, along with the authors’ names and contact details to The main topics we will address will be:

  • E-participation in smart cities
  • Citizen engagement platforms in smart cities
  • Open data and governance towards open and inclusive cities
  • Participatory and critical design in urban decision-making processes
  • New kinds of interaction between citizens and other stakeholders in open cities
  • Different performance of citizens on using ICT for e-participation: gender, age, education, etc
  • Reflections for e-participation: Best practices, failures & practical challenges.

We are looking forward to your submission!
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