//2012 / Politecnico di Milano
Master Thesis 2012 / Politecnico di Milano
Supervisor: Professor Anna Meroni
My thesis work comes from the desire to experiment which kind of innovative tools a product-service designer could bring to politics.
I’ve always been fascinated by politics and, considering the particular historical moment in which we live characterized by a great disaffection with public administrations, I tried to give a design response for the definition of a new participatory tool that can be adopted at local level.
In particular I focused on the city of Monza, the city where I come from and where I saw personally during the last elections the desire for participation expressed by citizens. In addition to this, new technologies are radically changing communication and policy, and designers should contribute actively to the development of new tools for political participation, preventing that the alienation would turn into pessimism but favoring instead a desire for redemption.
Now is the time to give form to public participation, with well-designed tools that can give voice to citizens in the decision-making processes of the city, reducing the distance between them and politicians.
In our cities the sense of community is increasingly diminishing but we should try to rediscover it.
My project comes from the need to create a new participatory system in which administrators and citizens work together, and
together take care of the common good, sharing the deliberations and the priorities to work on. Online and offline tools must be integrated with each other considering all their potential for the creation of a new conception of politics.
The project that I developed starts with the analysis of exisiting case studies and participatory techniques and generates a scenario in which political participation will fire citizens in the management of their city.
The new service system starts with a web platform in which citizens can find a “participatory tree”: a virtual tree of the City in which each branch represents one area of interests, each leaf is an open discussion that can generate then flowers (open meetings) and fruits (final citizens’ deliberations).
After the creation of the web platform, I designed and experimented one participatory technique.
I collected online citizens’ ideas about one specific issue and I included those ideas in a board game that I designed. The board game was designed with the purpose of forcing people to have a proactive listening and a consensus building approach. In this way it was possible to multiply the options, after considering all the different points of view.
This part of my project brought to very interesting outcomes, proving the interest of people in new forms of participatory politics.