12 May 2009

Human-centred design for sustainable development on an urban scale

Be the first to share

Low2No
The built environment is now the largest negative factor in the stability of ecosystems and the climate. As populations become increasingly urbanized, the evolution of cities will largely shape the outcome of our long dependence on natural resources.

Recognising the need and opportunity to improve sustainable building practices, the City of Helsinki and Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund are organising a sustainable design competition (rather than just an architecture competition) for a major urban development project.

Called Low2No (implying “low to no carbon emissions”), the competition’s goal is to attract and identify the best teams to design a large mixed-use building complex on a reclaimed harbour at the western edge of Helsinki’s central business district, that would through its exemplary nature set out a sustainable development framework applicable to other contexts.

Despite the short application time frame, a total of 73 applications were submitted. Last week, five teams were selected from a very competitive pool of proposals to proceed to the design phase of the competition.

One of the shortlisted teams is led by the global design and engineering firm Arup, in partnership with the international architecture and urban planning agency Sauerbruch Hutton, and Experientia, the experience design company that this blog is part of.

Arup is highly regarded for its many top-level projects, but also for its philosophy and culture of engineering – and in our field for the many important contributions by Dan Hill at conferences and on his famous cityofsound blog, whereas Sauerbruch Hutton is well-known for the design of the German Federal Environment Agency.

Needless to say that we are very proud to be in such excellent company, and to be the only experience design consultancy in the shortlist.

The five teams are now working on the development of “a design strategy and approach suitable to the challenge, a framework for developing an indicator of sustainability suitable to the challenge, and a vision for the project that will inspire stakeholders to overcome the challenges of systemic change”.

The jury “will be instructed to evaluate the proposals based on evidence of systemic thinking. More than a design, we are look-
ing for a credible strategic framework for change, and the principals upon which the framework was built.”

Experientia will be taking a human-centred angle in its partnership with Arup and Sauerbruch Hutton, emphasising the fundamental impact that people’s behaviours can have on sustainability. Although we cannot disclose too much (the competition is still going on), we will surely be exploring a full plethora of research and design approaches, from ethnographic research to interaction design, and from service design to strategic communications. It will definitely be a great challenge for us to test and prove the fundamental role of a human-centred perspective in this pivotal project.

Be the first to share
6 June 2017
Developing a mobile chatbot for a Pittsburgh museum
The people at Studio, the design, development and workflow laboratory at Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, are working on the design and the development of a "new kind of mobile museum experience". Because they would like the …
6 June 2017
First issue of Behavioural Public Policy now available for free online
Behavioural Public Policy is an interdisciplinary and international peer-reviewed journal devoted to behavioural research and its relevance to public policy. The study of human behaviour has recently taken on growing importance within many disciplinary specialties …
31 May 2017
IoT seeks to remake the fundamentals of our everyday lives
Murray Goulden writes in The Conversation that smart homes, wearables and the Internet of Things are indicative of the development of an entire class of technologies seeking to remake the fundamentals of our everyday lives. These …
30 May 2017
Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, planning to embark in Turin, Italy
Today the print edition of the Italian newspaper Repubblica published an article (not yet available online) with the title "Nesta, i campioni dell’innovazione puntano su Torino". Below is the English translation (with English-language links added …
28 April 2017
Global study: Leading companies bet on customer experience
A new report from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services reveals that customer experience is vital for business success, and establishes social media as the foundation for customer experience. The survey, which includes 600+ leaders from the …
22 April 2017
Boston’s human-centered research to design middle-income housing
In Boston, the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics is conducting ethnographic, human-centered research to design middle-income housing that reflects people’s lived experiences, reports the Stanford Social Innovation Review. This includes intensive planning sessions in …
21 April 2017
ONE Design: a portal on Adaptive Path’s work with Capital One Bank
ONE Design is a content portal where Capital One, the eighth-largest bank in the United States, shares (many) inspiring stories of how their Adaptive Path designers "impact lives with humanity, simplicity, ingenuity - and empower …
13 April 2017
How Silicon Valley is (ab)using behavioral science and nudging
In an extensive review of The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds, the book by Michael Lewis on the psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, Tamsin Shaw provides a deeper criticism of the …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

31 March 2017
Experientia guide to Milan Design Week 2017

It’s that time of year again – Milan’s don’t-miss event for the design community is here. If you’re looking to get inspired at Milan Design Week, then check out our top picks for the latest edition, from Experientia’s designers, strategists and partners. Milan might be best known for its busy streets, traditional cafés and world […]

12 January 2017
Experientia’s CITYOPT project awarded prestigious French award for its sustainable development design

Following the 2016 Smart Innovation Award at “FIMBACTE Trophées du Cadre de vie”, the CITYOPT project has once again been recognized, this time in the prestigious French design competition: “Observeur du Design 2017”, in the Service Design category. In June 2016, CITYOPT won the first stage of the Observeur du Design. Now the project has […]

1 December 2016
More on upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Last month Putting People First announced the upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities in Nice France. Meanwhile we are pleased to announce the full event agenda (see below). This event will feature professionals from leading research institutes and industry gathering to present key initiatives which combine Energy Efficiency and Service Design […]

29 October 2016
Upcoming conference on design & sustainable innovation for smart cities

Invitation to the International Conference on Design & Sustainable Innovation for SmartCities Nice (France) 8 December 2016 On the 8th December 2016, the CITYOPT project will host an international conference on Design and sustainable innovation for SmartCities, at the Centre Universitaire Méditerranéen, France. An open invitation to attend is offered to people and organisations who […]

28 October 2016
Experientia’s President, Michele Visciòla, panel judge for MacArthur Foundation’s “100&Change” competition

The 100&Change is an international competition and a landmark opportunity for thinkers and designers to tackle critical challenges affecting the world. Michele Visciòla will be one of the panel of expert judges who will select which project is worthy of the $100 million grant. 100&Change is the MacArthur Foundation competition – launched this year for […]

5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to “transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.” The article was written by Frank van den Driest and Keith Weed of a […]

See all articles