Introduction to the Manifesto

Julie Årving
Dec 11, 2018 · 2 min read
photo: Frida Støvern

A new vocabulary

In the ongoing debate on the so-called “Smart City” social and cultural inclusion is often overlooked. ‘Manifesto for the Inclusive Digital City’ is a research manifesto with design examples created with the explicit aim to rectify this situation. With the manifesto we show how design can contribute to inclusive digital cities and social sustainability.

Designers can bring a new view into the topic of the inclusive digital city. We look at connections in a systematic and holistic way, with a human-centered approach. In the city scale, designers can think beyond the structure and buildings. We can visualize possibilities to make them easier to discuss. We wrote this manifesto because we need a new vocabulary for how we talk about developing our cities. We need a language that is not about technology, but about the society. This manifesto is the first step to achieve this new vocabulary.

It’s not only about efficiency

We believe that the Inclusive Digital City should promote digital urban services that enable social and cultural inclusiveness and diversity. By inclusive we mean that they are designed with empathy for the people using the service — empathy not only with their immediate need for transport or a place to eat, but also their need to feel like they belong, that they are accepted. With diversity we mean that people feel like their individuality is also taken care of, both when it comes to disabilities and abilities.

Inclusivity is not only a pleasant bonus, it is a must-have for social sustainability in cities. Today most digital urban services serve the purpose of productivity and efficiency. Ruter lets you buy a bus ticket in seconds. If you don’t know what restaurant to choose, just ask Google maps. But is the concept of efficiency applicable to all kinds of digital urban services? What if digital urban services were built with an aim to be inclusive, and have efficiency and productivity as a secondary value?

Social is the new smart

With our manifesto we want to comment on and critique the idea of the “Smart city” for not focusing on people and social interactions. We believe that designers should be integrated in urban planning. We see an unused potential in urban digital services today. They can and should contribute more to social inclusiveness.

With this manifesto we want to argue that Inclusive Digital Cities show the potential for a new direction on how we work with cities and digitalization. The Manifesto consists of 7 statements of what we think the Inclusive Digital City should be.

Read the statements here.

How can we promote a socially and culturally inclusive city…

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