Designing for Ownership: digital media and urban change

Part of: a series of workshops for changing urban environment


Michiel de Lange, Marc Tuters | The Mobile City (the Netherlands)

Dates: 9-14.07.2012

District: Yuzhnoye Medvedkovo, Moscow

This workshop aims to help create an actual long-lasting change for the better in an urban neighborhood in Moskow. This is done by bringing together creative workshop participants and various neighborhood stakeholders (citizens, local government, businesses, neighborhood organizations, and so on). The workshop aims to find out how these different people can communicate better with each other, by making a prototype for a product, an event, or a service that acts as a catalyst for conversation.

The workshop also aspires to create a methodology for activating citizens with the aid of digital media technologies that could also be applied elsewhere. How can we design a process that allows people to feel ‘ownership’ over their living circumstances, and actively participate in making their environment a better place?


The main challenge of this workshop is to actually involve local people and entice them to collaborate on an issue. The proposed methods for that are: brainstrom session in the neighborhood, stakeholder mapping, incubator sessions, during which mixed teams come up with ideas and prototypes, and present them to each other.

Digital media technologies are used in all of these steps as a forum for mapping and discussing shared urban issues, a platform for collaboration, and a tool to design, create and maintain an intervention.

Potential outcomes may include:

- a prototype for a physical intervention in the neighborhood, for instance a plan and maquette or 3D game environment for a neighborhood site, and/or an event or series of events for the neighborhood that brings people together to work on a shared issue.

- a communications network between various stakeholders to collaborate in the future on shared issues.

- a well-documented approach and methodology to set up a similar type of event elsewhere.

What do we ask from participants?

- a background in, or strong affinity with disciplines like urban design (architecture, planning), digital media creation, software development, service design and/or social innovation

- willingness to work in mixed teams composed of people from various professional and national backgrounds

- good command of English

The Mobile City is an initiative by Martijn de Waal and Michiel de Lange. It is an independent research group that investigates the influence of digital media technologies on urban life, and the implications for urban design.

Michiel de Lange is the founder of the Mobile City. He is trained as a cultural anthropologist, and holds a PhD in philosophy (2010) with a dissertation about mobile media technologies and urban identities. He works as a part-time Lecturer in New Media Studies at Utrecht University, and a researcher and adviser of new media and urbanism.

Marc Tuters is researcher and lecturer in new media with a background in media arts practice, known for his work on locative media. He has graduate degrees in media studies from Concordia (CDN) and interactive media from University of Southern California (USA), and has worked as a researcher at organizations internationally including the Annenberg Centre, National University of Singapore, and Waseda University.

For more information, please write to

Medvedkovo, 1968