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The planet, my city and I Degree project


Academic year: 2021

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The planet, my city and I

How to design information in public places so that people understand how their individual choices can help creating a sustainable society.

Degree project

Author: Kristina Rydälv Kåreby Supervisor: Per Linde

Examiner: Associate Professor Päivi Jokela Date: 2019-07-04

Subject: Information Systems



The greenhouse effect is the biggest environmental challenge of today, and in line with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we must drastically decrease our global production of carbon dioxide. A sustainable society needs knowledgeable citizens who can vote for competent decision makers, and as knowledge is power, the environmental issue becomes a question of democracy. This pinpoints the importance of the general public getting dependable and accurate environmental information from trustworthy sources.

So, how and where to design information about sustainability in a meaningful way for the individual, connected to his or her everyday context? The literature review was concentrated to the areas of Social visualization, Placemaking and Interaction design. The empirics were directed at the general public near Malmö Central Station and concentrated around the area of travel and transport. It included a triangulation of contextual methods; observations, questionnaires and interviews. Data and key figures from the regional public transportation company were also used.

The result of the empirics shows that people experience environmental information as diverse and complicated, especially numbers and statistics. They want concrete tips of what they can do in their everyday life, and they want to understand the effect of their sustainable choices.

The majority of the respondents are positive to using public places as information carriers for environmental issues, preferably in places where they stay for a while, for example waiting halls or staircases. They want easy-to-grasp, concise information from trustworthy sources.

With these insights, the theoretical and empirical findings were used as the basis for the storyboard in an iterative design process that resulted in a graphical animation. The concept can easily be transferred to other areas of sustainability.

My research shows that in order to feel included in the work for a more sustainable society, the general public needs help to see the correlation between large-scale environmental activities and their own, individual everyday efforts.


Key words

Interaction design, Placemaking, Public places, Social visualization, Sustainability, Third spaces, User Experience, Visualization.


I would first like to thank my thesis supervisor, Head Of Unit/Senior Lecturer Per Linde at the Faculty of Culture and Society/School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University. He kindly offered to become my supervisor although me not being one of his students. He gave me a lot of support and we had many inspiring discussions and design iterations, enabling me to take my work to the next level. Another person that I would acknowledge is my examiner at Linnaeus University, Päivi Jokela, who saw my commitment and passion for people, technology and place already in my bachelor’s thesis, and encouraged me to take a master’s degree. I would also like to thank Anita Mirijamdotter, module leader, for being positive to my collaboration with Malmö University.

Also, I would like to acknowledge the animator Stephen Axelsson, who I did not know before but came into contact with through social media. Stephen enabled my design study to result in a final animation, and not merely a concept, which was my initial thought. Thanks to Stephen it is easier to understand the result as a transferable concept, easy to apply on other sustainability areas than transport.

I would also like to thank my cousin Cerina Wittbom, Research Coordinator at the Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, for providing me with valuable sources of information and statistics around sustainability and climate research. I am also grateful to Skånetrafiken (the regional company that runs trains and buses in Skåne (the very southern county of Sweden) for sharing statistics and key figures around sustainability and transport, as well as giving me permission to perform surveys on board trains and buses.

Kristina Rydälv Kåreby


Table of contents

1 Introduction ... 7

1.1 Research setting ... 7

1.1.1 Cities and third spaces ... 7

1.1.2 Urbanization and challenges ... 7

1.1.3 Smart cities, urban informatics and the role of the citizen ... 8

1.1.4 The individual and sustainability awareness in Malmö ... 9

1.2 Purpose Statement and Research Questions ... 10

1.2.1 Importance and significance of the research area ... 10

1.2.2 Research question or hypothesis ... 11

1.3 Topic Justification ... 11

1.3.1 Studies that address the problem ... 11

1.3.2 Knowledge gaps ... 12

1.4 Scope and Limitations ... 13

1.4.1 Scope within Smart city and Urban informatics ... 14

1.4.2 Limitations ... 14

1.5 Thesis Organization ... 15

2 Review of the Literature ... 16

2.1 Search procedure ... 16

2.1.1 Areas of research ... 16

2.1.2 Inclusion and exclusion criteria ... 16

2.1.3 Search process ... 17

2.2 Social visualization ... 18

2.2.1 The empowered receiver of information ... 18

2.2.2 Urban screens as weightless skins for media architecture ... 19

2.2.3 Public visualization for understanding and civic participation ... 20

2.2.4 Visualization of information design ... 20

2.3 Interaction design ... 21

2.3.1 Digitalization, ubiquitous computing and owners of the city ... 21

2.3.2 Bottom-up, co-created data and smart cities for people ... 22

2.4 Placemaking ... 23

2.4.1 The smart and sustainable city - designing for meaningful places ... 23

2.4.2 City development and city planning with new technologies ... 23

3 Methodology ... 25

3.1 Methodological Tradition ... 25

3.1.1 Interpretivist paradigm and Structuration theory ... 25

3.2 Methodological Approach ... 25

3.2.1 A qualitative design study ... 25

3.2.2 Research design and design process ... 26

3.3 Methods/Techniques for Data Collection ... 28

3.3.1 Observations at Malmö Central Station ... 28

3.3.2 Contextual questionnaires ... 29

3.3.3 Contextual interviews ... 30

3.3.4 Transportation data and key figures from Skånetrafiken. ... 30

3.3.5 Environmental facts as background data ... 30

3.4 Methods/Techniques for Data Analysis ... 31

3.4.1 Observations ... 31

3.4.2 Contextual questionnaires ... 31

3.4.3 Contextual interviews ... 32


3.4.4 Transportation data from Skånetrafiken ... 32

3.4.5 Environmental facts ... 32

3.5 Reliability and validity ... 32

3.6 Ethical Considerations ... 33

4 Empirical Findings ... 34

4.1 Knowledge, attitudes and perceptions ... 35

4.1.1 The level of basic knowledge ... 35

4.1.2 Personal attitude and perceptions ... 36

4.1.3 Perception of own efforts ... 36

4.2 Personal attitudes towards transportation methods ... 37

4.3 Social visualization ... 37

4.4 Interaction design ... 40

4.5 Placemaking ... 40

4.6 Summary of empirical findings ... 41

4.6.1 Knowledge, attitudes and perceptions ... 41

4.6.2 Social visualization ... 42

4.6.3 Interaction design ... 43

4.6.4 Placemaking ... 43

4.7 Implications for design ... 43

5 Design ... 45

5.1 What and where ... 45

5.2 Target group ... 45

5.3 The content ... 45

5.4 How - the creative process from sketch to final video recording ... 46

5.5 The result of the design process - the animation ... 48

6 Discussion ... 50

6.1 Social visualization ... 50

6.2 Interaction design ... 52

6.3 Placemaking ... 53

6.4 Methodology ... 54

7 Conclusion ... 55

7.1 Conclusions ... 55

7.2 Contribution ... 56

7.3 Future Research ... 56

7.3.1 Possibilities of interaction and local connection ... 56

7.3.2 Transferability of the concept ... 56

7.3.3 Extend the target group ... 56

7.3.4 Further evaluation along the process and of the result ... 57

7.3.5 Further ideas of interaction and placemaking ... 57

8 Appendices ... 64



Appendix 1: Four key foundations.

Appendix 2: Observations at Malmö Central Station.

Appendix 3: Contextual questionnaire, Swedish.

Appendix 4: Contextual questionnaire, English.

Appendix 5: Contextual interview.

Appendix 6: Data and calculations from Skånetrafiken.

Appendix 7: Permissions to perform surveys on board trains, from Skånetrafiken.

Appendix 8: Permissions to perform surveys on board buses, from Skånetrafiken.

Appendix 9: Summary of empirical findings from the questionnaires, age 0-39.

Appendix 10: Summary of empirical findings from the questionnaires, age 40-79.

Appendix 11: Summary of empirical findings from the interviews, all age groups.

Appendix 12: Storyboard animation, handmade sketches.

Appendix 13: Storyboard animation, detailed version.

Appendix 14: Storyboard animation, feedback test 1.

Abbreviations and key terms:

ECF: Electricity Consumption Feedback EV: Eco-Visualization

HBI: Human-Building Interaction HCI: Human Computer Interaction HDC: Human-Centered Design

ICT: Information and Communication Technology

mICT: Mobile Information and Communication Technology

Skånetrafiken: The regional transport company in the county of Skåne, Sweden UI: User Interface

UX: User Experience



“How to uncover a mystery: Let the mystery find you - something that piques your interest and unleashes your rabid curiosity.” (Smith, 2008).


1 Introduction

In this chapter, the background for this design study is explained; including the research setting, the purpose, the research question, the topic justification as well as the scope and limitations. An overview of the thesis organisation is also presented.

1.1 Research setting

Public places and third spaces are valuable settings for urban informatics around sustainability for the individual in the smart city.

1.1.1 Cities and third spaces

Great cities have great public places for people to meet and interact in. Dynamic activities taking place in parks, streets and plazas make cities unique and nice to stroll around in. The vibrancy, spontaneous interactions and diversity you find in public places in many cities are not only key to cities’ attractiveness; they are also necessary ingredients for urban resilience.

Public places in the city cannot only be used for placing impressive buildings or environmentally friendly parks, but also for displaying information or creating active areas for people to interact, thrive and communicate. Urban public places are sometimes called third spaces, i.e. public places where people spend time between home and work. Ray Oldenburg, American sociologist, coined the term “third spaces” already in the 1970s. He noticed that European cities had them while American cities didn’t. He named them “third places”, because your first place is your home, and your second is your workplace, but your third place is where you relax in public - where you encounter familiar faces, meet people and make new friends (New Zealand Geographic, 2018). Third spaces are categorized by being cheap or free, as well as open to people from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Many computer- mediated environments cultivate the forms of informal social interaction described by Oldenburg. Today, third spaces can also be virtual as contemporary computer-mediated contexts and traditional third places share similar functions and characteristics of contributing to human interaction (Soukup, 2006). As many people use, interact and visit these non- commercial public urban third spaces, they are sometimes used for presenting useful and valuable data from the city, e.g. informing people about various city circumstances like traffic situations or parking availability. But they could also be used for explaining important and meaningful facts around sustainability with the purpose of engaging and making the general public feel included in a sustainable way of living, a key for survival on a global level.

1.1.2 Urbanization and challenges

Global urbanization is taking place at an accelerating pace. In the 1950s, 751 million people lived in cities. In 2018, 55% - or 3,5 billion - of the world’s total population lived in urban areas, and in 2050 the urban population is expected to increase to 68 %, or 6,2 billion (United Nations, 2018b). Urban expansion is predestined to continue as long as people move into cities because of income raise and relatively cheap and affordable urban transport.

Urbanization is by no means a recent phenomenon and while vast urban expansion will still occur in more developed countries, the majority of the growth is expected to take place in less developed countries (Angel, et al., 2011). In a study of 30 cities between 1800 and 2000 Angel, et al. (2011) show that 28 of the 30 cities increased their areas more than 16 times 1900−2000. Increased urban populations put enormous demands on the environment and therefore, planners, policy makers and other societal stakeholders play an important role for examining and understanding the implications on a global level when it comes to economy, ecology, urban infrastructure, energy and waste management, hygiene and societal well-being and living conditions as a whole.


1.1.3 Smart cities, urban informatics and the role of the citizen

Along with the increasing global digitalization and technological development, a commonly used term connected to urbanization and cities is Smart cities. “A smart city is a designation given to a city that incorporates information and communication technologies (ICT) to enhance the quality and performance of urban services such as energy, transportation and utilities in order to reduce resource consumption, wastage and overall costs. The overarching aim of a smart city is to enhance the quality of living for its citizens through smart technology” (Techopedia, 2019). To understand the economical drivers for smart cities, the global smart city market will be valued at $1.6 trillion in 2020 (Glasmeier and Christopherson, 2015). As a comparison, Sweden’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is $0,5 trillion (The World Bank, 2017). According to Glasmeier and Christopherson (2015), over 26 global cities are expected to be smart cities in 2025, whereof 50% will be situated in Europe and North America. With this said, the vision for a smart city could be defined as a common ground of techno-economic, techno-societal, techno-spatial and techno-organisational domains (Lara, et al., 2016). There are a lot of terms connected to smart cities, such as

“Intelligent city”, “Eco city”, “Knowledge city” and “Learning city”, but as the most important overall macro domains for a smart city, Nam and Pardo (2011) and Neirotti, et al.

(2014) have suggested four key foundations (Lara, et al., 2016); 1. Infrastructure and ICT, 2.

Creative economy, 3. Sustainability and 4. Human infrastructure. An illustration of the four key areas is presented in appendix 1. Traffic- and city surveillance as well as energy consumption are examples of areas where a lot of data is produced in the smart city. But how is this data used, and more importantly; how is it communicated to citizens in an understandable and engaging way?

The flows of urban physical and virtual smart city communication channels create alive and exciting people networks at the intersection of people, place and technology and can be pronounced as Urban Informatics. Urban informatics as domain is situated at the intersection of place, technology, and people in urban environments (Foth, Choi, Satchell, 2011), as defined in Figure 1.1. Urban informatics is a relatively new concept and one of the first occurrences of the term can be found in Mark E. Hepworth's article "The Information City"

(Hepworth, 1987). Hepworth's article pre-dates the advent of ubiquitous computing and urban computing it presents visionary thoughts about what impact information and communication technology will have on cities, being concerned with the broader notion of informatics planning. The Urban Informatics Research Lab was founded at Queensland University of Technology in 2006, consisting of researchers from three broad domains; people, place, and technology, or; the social, the spatial, and the technical. "Urban informatics is the study, design, and practice of urban experiences across different urban contexts that are created by new opportunities of real-time, ubiquitous technology and the augmentation that mediates the physical and digital layers of people networks and urban infrastructures." (Foth, Choi and Satchell, 2011). In this study the concept of Urban informatics will be treated as part of the field Interaction design within the discipline of Informatics, and as a concept for embedding data in physical or virtual places where people meet, socialize or interact. An urgent problem is that not many people really understand what causes problems in various societal challenges, and here urban informatics can be used as an important bearer of understandable information (Vande Moere and Hill, 2012).

With the background of urbanisation, smart cities and urban informatics, one of the main questions to ask is “Smartness for what or what should be the main function of a city?” As sustainability is an evident presumption for urban prosperity, the statement made by the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BCE) is still valid: “The goal or purpose of the city certainly encompasses physical existence and survival, but is also more than that, namely, living


‘finely’ […] The best city is happy and acts finely.” (Martin, Smith and Stuart, 2003).

Aristotle interpreted the city as a society and happiness as a collective good that should pervade it. And also from a utilitarian perspective, the value of anything is its ability to produce pleasure or happiness and avoid pain and misfortune (Lara, et al., 2016). Foth (2018) defines and emphasizes the important role of the urban citizen (user) as a consumer of city services; as a participant in the city’s community consultations; but also as a co-creator in a collaborative approach to citymaking.

1.1.4 The individual and sustainability awareness in Malmö

With this background, the smart city could be seen as an important arena for working with various societal challenges through several of the 17 sustainable development goals established by the UN (United Nations) (United Nations, 2018). As this study focuses on exploring how to design meaningful information around sustainability for the general public, the goal 11 from the UN has been of special interest; “Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable“ (United Nations, 2019). Even if a lot of responsibility can and should be put on governments and municipalities, the society consists of individuals. Where do people receive information about sustainability and what is the quality and reliability of the information? Many consumers of information are not limited to traditional news channels, but do often use e.g. social media, which potentially lead to users only listening to information sources that align with and reinforce their own worldview (An, Quercia and Crowcroft, 2014).

Therefore, neutral and non-commercial public places, or third spaces (physical or virtual) could be great bearers of information about sustainability, as they are visited by a great number of people every day. So, how can smart city data support the activation of urban places in order to engage people in sustainability issues?

With an accelerating urbanization with consequential challenges, there is an urgent need for the individual to take an active role. So how can citizens feel included and understand that their individual effort really matters? Public perceptions of climate change differ between nations and have fluctuated over the years (Capstick, et al., 2015). Capstick, et al. (2015) point out growing scepticism in the latter 2000s in some developed countries, underpinned by economic and socio-political factors, but also how there is a growing concern about climate change in recent years in many parts of the world. Gallardo (2018) states that although the climate change challenge is of global nature, multiple local and individual realities ultimately determine peoples’ engagement with the issue. So, could urban informatics in physical public places or third spaces help raising the engagement by displaying information or by encouraging human interaction around the issue? As public transportation is used by many urban citizens across socio-economic borders, it is an everyday activity which they easily can relate sustainability with, transportation being one of the most important urban challenges according to UN’s goal nr 11 (United Nations, 2019). How to convey public transportation sustainability data in a meaningful and understandable way to the general public? To further narrow the area of interest, the study will be concentrated to the city of Malmö, Sweden.

Malmö is the third largest town in Sweden with a population of about 350 000. The average age is 34,4 years and 49% in the ages of 25– 64 have post-secondary education (Malmö stad, 2019). With Malmö as the physical setting for the study, the empirical part of the research will be concentrated around the central station and on board trains and buses in the Malmö area.


1.2 Purpose Statement and Research Questions

With several urgent societal challenges connected to sustainability, it is important that people understand the value of their individual contribution to a more sustainable living.

1.2.1 Importance and significance of the research area

Smart cities and Urban informatics are relevant and accepted terms, being about collected city data and human-centered IT-design embedded in physical, third or virtual places. The UN state cities as being hubs for ideas, commerce, culture, science, productivity and social development and should enable people to advance socially and economically. But also that cities struggle with rising urban challenges including congestion, lack of funds to provide basic services, a shortage of adequate housing, declining infrastructure and rising air pollution (United Nations, 2019). Synchronized with UN’s 17 sustainable development goals, urban public places can provide services and context as a coherent experience, making citizens feel inclusive in the society they live in. Also, the new Swedish politics for designed living environment (Regeringskansliet, 2018), adopted in the Swedish Parliament in February 2018, deal with how the digital and real city will co-interact in the future. This new policy for architecture and design has the purpose to strengthen the value and importance of architecture, form and design for the individual, the environment and sustainable social development. The policy implies that future public places should be shaped as sustainable and attractive meeting places for human interaction and well-being, and also with the aim of decreasing segregation. As many people in urban areas commute to work and transportation being one of the core areas of interest of the smart city as definition, the research of this study will be connected to public transportation data.

Travelling accounts to large greenhouse gas emissions that change the climate on earth.

According to Hallå konsument (2017), a section within Konsumentverket (the Municipality of Consumption), travel and transport account for more than one third of Sweden's total carbon dioxide emissions. The Swedish Parliament has decided that by 2045 there should be zero net emissions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and that emissions from domestic transport, except domestic flights, should decrease by at least 70 % by 2030, compared to 2010.

Although emissions can be reduced through better technology, energy efficiency and renewable fuels this will not be enough. Hallå konsument (2017) concludes that in order to reach the goals, the general public have to change their travel behaviour.

With the rapid urbanisation and several urgent societal challenges connected to sustainability, it is crucial that people grasp the value of their contribution to a more sustainable living.

Therefore, it is of great importance to understand how to make people feel included and become aware of that their everyday lives really matter on a big scale. One important part of the research is trying to find what format is the best for conveying sustainability data to the general public. Visual depictions have been used for 15 000 years, starting with cave paintings made in coal, chalk and blood (Bergström, 2010). Although visual expressions are very common in the contemporary western society, the written word and text is the dominant format for transferring information (Graham, 1987). Historically, the written word is a quite new occurrence, compared to the oral tradition which for thousands of years prevailed as the sole method of communication available for forming and maintaining societies and their institutions (Encyclopedia of Britannica, 2019). Encyclopedia of Britannica (2019) claims that numerous studies, conducted on six continents, have shown that oral tradition still remains the dominant mode of communication in the 21st century, despite increasing rates of literacy. If people feel engage, they talk and thereby use the dominant communication method. So, how to make the urban smart city citizen feel engaged and included in the transformation to a more sustainable society? And how can figures and facts about sustainability be depicted so that


people understand? In what way and by what means should information be conveyed to the general public?

1.2.2 Research question or hypothesis

Given the above background, the focus of my research is to understand how to best design and visualize sustainable information in third places in order for the general public to feel included and understand that their daily choices and actions really matter in the bigger picture of a sustainable society. My research question comes down to: How to design information about sustainability in a meaningful way to the individual, connected to his or her everyday context?

1.3 Topic Justification

Previous studies show that several challenges remain in order to make information and data understandable, meaningful and conveyed in the right place and time for the individual.

1.3.1 Studies that address the problem

As global warming and the financial costs of energy are issues increasingly pervading international media, energy management is an important and growing area at the intersections of sustainability and HCI (Human Computer Interaction) and design (Pierce, Odom and Blevis, 2014). When investigating energy-related HCI research, a great amount of work focuses on Electricity Consumption Feedback (ECF). The majority of sustainability information presented to users involves “feeding back” electricity consumption data to users via a screen-based computational visualization or energy breakdowns for specific applications within the domestic environment, in order to inform or motivate conscious decision-making (Pierce and Paulus, 2012). From considerable literature reviews, Pierce and Paulus (2012) found that ECF systems within HCI typically focus on motivating conservation behaviours such as turning off lights when not in use. Pierce and Paulus (2012) have worked with expanding the types of energy-related work within HCI, highlighting the opportunities presented by emerging energy systems within three themes; 1. Energy as a material, 2. Energy devices, 3. Energy homes/communities. The three areas cover many projects of exploring and expanding how to convey critical reflection about energy consumption, e.g. showing metadata such as where/how and by whom the energy was produced (Pierce and Paulus, 2012). Eco- visualization (EV) is any kind of interactive device that reveals energy use to encourage sustainable behaviours (Pierce, Odom and Blevis, 2014). As important means for conveying information, Pierce, Odom and Blevis (2014) mention pragmatic, artistic and user-context friendly feedback of data - in order to raise public awareness and stimulate critical reflection.

Both the studies by Pierce and Paulus (2012) and the studies of Pierce, Odom and Blevis (2014) show that current energy feedback technologies conflict with where and how people reside and actually live their everyday lives. EVs that provide understandings of individual personal level practices offer opportunities to change individual personal behaviour whereas understanding collective practices motivate people to better understand the contributions of their individual behaviour (Pierce, Odom and Blevis, 2014). The transdisciplinary reviews performed by Pierce and Paulus (2012), show the value of looking at different ways of understanding energy consumption, leading way to a range of different concerns that design can address. Urban informatics can be used for several purposes, and there are especially two interesting perspectives connected to public places, closely linked together. One focuses on the social interaction and belonging of citizens in activated public places in order to encourage understanding and diminish segregation. The other one, and the most important for this study, focuses on how urban informatics can be used as a conveyor of information (here


around sustainability), with the aim of making people reflect on their own role as individuals in the society and thereby feel included.

1.3.2 Knowledge gaps

Pierce, Odom and Blevis (2014) state that the fields of human-computer interaction and information visualization offer great opportunities to provide humans with increased access to meaningful information connected to sustainability such as global warming and financial costs of energy. As shown in previous studies, sustainability connected to local and individual realities increase people’s engagement (Gallardo, 2018). The possibilities of using various design methods for ubiquitous computing, visualizations embedded in architecture and third spaces as well as mobile devices offer great opportunities to convey data in meaningful and understandable ways, adapting to use contexts. Although the possibilities exist, the previous studies referred to show that several challenges remain in order to make the data understandable, meaningful and conveyed in the right place and time for the individual to be responsive. The study of Pierce and Paulus (2012) shows that the projects reviewed were highly concentrated to electricity consumption (rather than other energy sources) in domestic contexts, only a few referring to the workplace, making public places such as cafés, parks, schools and museums almost white spots on the scene. Pierce and Paulus (2012) mean that a format that might come through to the busy citizen of today might be informative art, which is decorative information visualization that is not immediately recognizable as a data- visualization. Informative art stands midway between artistic and pragmatic visualization since it can easily be read to provide clear information, but only after the user has recognized the display as a data-visualization and learned how to read it. Such an approach may be just what is needed to allow EVs to become an accepted and valued part of everyday life (Pierce, Odom, Blevis, 2014). Pierce and Paulus (2012) state that artists and designers outside of academic research have made corresponding work. The review also showed that there is lack of research within “developing contexts”, such as intermittent electricity supply areas of India (Pierce and Paulus, 2012).

Pierce, Odom and Blevis (2014) show that it is particularly relevant to public and domestic use-contexts to design for experiential and cultural aspects of making energy visible. Pierce, Odom and Blevis (2014) emphasize that designs such as the Power-Aware Cord (RISE Interactive Institute, 2010), an electrical cord that visualizes the amount of electricity flowing through it using pulsing LED lighting, may be considered examples of a broader trend in third-wave HCI, focusing on the design for non-purposeful use of technology, but adding another important perspective; creating EVs that people will adopt and use effectively, and that also will add pleasure and meaning to people’s lives. Pierce, Odom and Blevis (2014) also encourage the design of EVs that become integrated more long-term within the building environment. An emerging area and interdis-disciplinary domain of research is Human- Building Interaction (HBI), where Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) co-interacts with Architecture and Urban Design (Hamed, et al., 2019). Hamed, et al. (2019) mean that as buildings and urban spaces increasingly incorporate new forms of interactivity and also artificial intelligence, a wide span of research questions about the future of human experiences is raised within built environments. And if HCI provides interactive opportunities for people to shape the physical, spatial, and social impacts of their built environment, an important area for this should be sustainability. An important question here is how the information or data is conveyed, presented or made interactive - i.e. the format. The above studies show the importance of designers and researchers supporting and motivating people’s own knowledge, understanding and engagement, rather than encouraging solely conservation or even further consumption of energy and materials.


In the report from Klimatsamverkan Skåne (2018), a survey shows that the general public in Skåne (the county where the city of Malmö is situated) feel a great responsibility for the climate changes - especially in regard to coming generations. The survey shows that the majority of people are willing to change their behaviour in order to decrease their individual climate influence, but also that they would like sustainable offerings to fulfil especially two requirements; The first: Cheaper, and the second: Easier to access. Another important challenge presented in the report from Klimatsamverkan Skåne (2018) is that a lot of young people think that the society cannot decrease the climate change or offer the sustainable solutions needed for a sustainable future. According to Kramming (2017), these negative impressions do result in feelings of powerlessness, denial and being excluded as a citizen of power. But Kramming (2017) also states that young people think that the only way to turn the negative trend and reach a sustainable society is to immediately take positive action and manage the environmental issues. Therefore, it is important that all societal players create the conditions for living a climate smart everyday life, as well as develop young people’s understanding and sense of individual power around sustainability (Klimatsamverkan Skåne, 2018).

It can be questioned if the above sense of exclusiveness can be found within the group of young people only. This study is directed towards the general public, and an important part is to get an understanding of their level of knowledge about transport and sustainability, if they feel included in the societal sustainability actions and if they think that their individual efforts can make a difference. A considerable part interest for this study is therefore also to understand how to best convey public transportation data about sustainability to the general public. Mediated or visualized meaningful urban data could maybe make a public physical place more tangible and relevant to the citizens, and even have the potential of changing local habits or behaviours ((Moere and Hill, 2012). Could physical places like dormitories, apartments, office buildings and other use contexts offer opportunities for conveying information around sustainability? Previous research also shows that in order to make people engaged, information should be on a local and personal (bottom-up) level (Gardner and Hespanhol, 2018). An if so, where is the best place for them to take part of the information, i.e. what urban public places or third spaces could be suitable for conveying information about sustainability to the general public? What kind of information or type of utility based, or playful interaction could be interesting for citizens?

The examples above show that there are several knowledge gaps within this field. Besides the evident question “Do people want to know about how their individual sustainable choices in their everyday lives can have an effect on the environment?”, there seems to be a need for research about “How to present and design information about sustainability in a meaningful way to the individual, connected to his or her everyday context?” So, how and in what format should the information or data be presented in order to create engagement and make people feel included? What comparisons could be made in order for people to be able to relate to understandable figures?

1.4 Scope and Limitations

The study focuses on the Interaction design perspective as the intersection between People and technology within the field of Informatics. The empirical part of the study is limited to be about sustainability around public transport.


1.4.1 Scope within Smart city and Urban informatics

As this study is about how to convey meaningful smart city digitally generated data around sustainability to the general public, it focuses on the Interaction design perspective as the intersection between People and technology within the field of Informatics.

As Place plays an important part in this study, an important area is also around the Smart city as a developer and bearer of information. To narrow the Smart City down to the type of smart city data that citizens come in contact with, the concept of Urban Informatics has been studied, see figure 1.1.

Figure 1.1 Urban informatics (Foth, Choi, Satchell, 2011).

1.4.2 Limitations

The empirical part of the study is limited to be about sustainability around public transport, a constraint sometime difficult to make since various areas connected to sustainability merge into each other. The empirical study has been carried out in Malmö and sustainability data from Skånetrafiken (the leading public transport company in Skåne county, Sweden) has been trusted and used without being reviewed a second time. For previous research and literature review, the major fields of Place, Technology and Visualization has been narrowed down to focus on the human-centered, local and interactive perspective. Due to above explanation, research about how to convey information has been concentrated to visualization from information design approach. Also, facts and key figures from independent and credible stakeholders have been trusted and not re-analysed.


1.5 Thesis Organization

After having given a broad background of the challenges of urbanization and sustainability, central concepts for the study are presented; Smart cities, urban informatics, third spaces and local citizen engagement. The importance and significance of the research area pinpoints the research question as How to design information about sustainability in a meaningful way to the individual, connected to his or her everyday context? Looking at studies that addressed the problem leads to knowledge gaps as well as narrowing down the scope to the focus areas People, Place, Technology and Visualization, theories applied and limitations of the study.

After a literature review within the research fields of Social visualization, Interaction design and Placemaking, the qualitative methodological approach is explained as well as the methods used for the empirical part of the study. The empirical findings are then analysed according to the fields of research and as a result from this, the implications for design are formulated. The final design is then motivated and presented, followed by the discussion and the conclusion.


2 Review of the Literature

In this chapter, the search process and the areas of research are presented; Social visualization, Interaction design and Placemaking.

2.1 Search procedure

The areas of research, inclusion and exclusion criteria as well as the search process are presented here.

2.1.1 Areas of research

As the research area is about how to convey meaningful and understandable urban public transportation data connected to sustainability for the general public, the research is within the interdisciplinary field of People (in the centre), Visualization, Technology and Place, see Figure 2.1.

Figure 2.1 The research is within the interdisciplinary field of People (in the centre), Place, Technology and Visualization.

2.1.2 Inclusion and exclusion criteria

Included articles are articles that correspond to the areas mentioned above, written in English or Swedish. No time period constraint is set due to the fact that the background topics for this research; smart cities and urban informatics are contemporary phenomena and can be considered as rather young areas of research, both theoretically and practically. Academic articles, books and reviews that are not peer-reviewed have to the greatest extent been excluded, but non-academic sources of information do not meet these criteria. Populist and pseudo-scientific sources of information have been excluded.


2.1.3 Search process

A search was carried out in February 2019, mainly in the database Scopus, being the largest abstract and citation database of peer-reviewed literature (Elsevier, 2019). For articles found but not available in Scopus, a search in Google Scholar was made. Quick searches in Web of Science, Emerald and IEEE Xplore was made for reference, but as the search results often did not meet the requests, these databases were not considered as areas of interest.

The literature search started with a broad search of relevant literature within the fields of Place, People, Technology and Visualization. To get articles as close as possible to the intersection of the topics of interest, “Smart cities”, “Urban informatics” and “Sustainability”, as search terms were combined with the terms within the fields of 1. People and technology:

Human interaction, HCD (Human Centered Design) and Interaction design. 2. People and place: Architecture, Third spaces and Place and Placemaking, and 3. People and visualization:

Information visualization, information design and visualization. This first and brief search of literature shows that search terms in combination with “urban informatics” got considerable lower hits than the same search terms combined with “smart cities”. This is relevant since

“smart cities” is a broader term than “urban informatics”. When sustainability as a search criterion was added, the hits dropped down to almost zero for all areas. The best-covered area seems to be Place. For “Urban informatics” in combination with “Place”, 34 articles out of 58 were of interest for the research. The area of People (Human interaction, Human Centered Design and Interaction design) in combination with sustainability was less covered, making this an area for further research. To give an idea of the interdisciplinary character of the research, the keywords presented in table 2.1 were central during the search process.

Table 2.1 The research is within the interdisciplinary field of People, Place, Technology and Visualization.

architecture, awareness, barriers, behaviour, carbon capture and utilisation, citizen science, citizens’

perception, civic participation, climate change, co-design, communication design, communication technologies, education, electricity, energy,


conserv.engagement, environmental monitoring feedback,

gestural interaction, graphic design, human behaviour, human social behavior dimension, human-centered cities,

human-computer interaction,

information design, info visualization, innovation interaction design, internet

in-the wild study,media, mitigation, mitigation technologies, mobile information, participation, participatory design, persuasion, physical computing, product design, proxemics, public,

public acceptance, public awareness, public debate,

public displays, public perceptions, public

visualisation, quality cities, quality of life, reflection, reflective hci, sensor networks, shared artefacts, slogs, smart city, smart communities, smart products, smart, urban, sustainability, sustainable hci, technology, technology design, theory and practice,

third places, urban computing, urban data, urban design, urban informatics, urban media, urban planning, urban planning and development, urban screen, urban spaces, urban visualization, user needs, visual design, visual literacy visualization.

Through the search with help of the keywords in table 2.1 and in order to define and constrain the research, three main areas of interest were identified for the literature review; 1. Social visualization, 2. Interaction design and 3. Placemaking, see the model made by myself in figure 2.2. The smart city, Urban informatics and Sustainability can be seen as background


contexts of the three main topics, and the respective terms have been used in combination with the main topics during the literature review. Sustainability data is of great importance for the study, but the topic in particular is not seen as an area for research.

Figure 2.2 The three areas of interest for the literature review; Social visualization, Interaction design and Placemaking.

2.2 Social visualization

2.2.1 The empowered receiver of information

The classic and traditional communication model by Shannon and Weaver (1949) is still valid for most one-way communication channels. It consists of the message sent from the information source via the transmitter where the obstacle of noise is disturbing the message before reaching the receiver and the final destination (Shannon and Weaver, 1949), see figure 2.3.


Figure 2.3 The traditional communication model (Shannon and Weaver, 1949).

But as communication channels constantly develop and change, this classic model has less value for several communication channels of today. Social media channels like Facebook and Twitter are these days established media channels for businesses and politicians, yes - even for presidents. And every larger webshop or enterprise of dignity has an open forum where customers can rate goods and services. The risk of getting negative comments can be turned into a possibility, as the concept of being open and invite customer feedback into a two-way communication channel is a success factor of our time. The empowered customer or individual becomes a co-creator in many current marketing and communication channels (Müller, et al., 2008). Digital two-way communication is not only possible when visiting websites, but can also be built into and embedded in the physical environment and interactive electronic displays are becoming ubiquitous in public places, e.g. at bus stops, museums and community centres (Valkanova, et al., 2014). Valkanova, et al. (2014) mean that although the majority of the urban displays today are used in artistic, entertainment or commercial environments, the situated media will rapidly mature and offer communication platforms for citizens’ public discussions of socially and locally relevant topics. This way of letting citizens take part of easily understandable and accessible visualized data in public places is not a new idea and is called “social visualization” (Donath, Karahalios and Viégas, 1998). The original definition of social visualization is the enriching of social electronic communication by making its outstanding qualities visible in easily accessible and understandable ways (Donath, Karahalios and Viégas, 1998). In this way, visualizing and making advanced features accessible for the general public can be said to be a lead in democratize the power as social visualization makes it possible for ordinary people to get access to and understand complex information by the help of collective and collaborative efforts (Viégas et al., 2007).

2.2.2 Urban screens as weightless skins for media architecture

Urban displays of today are publicly accessible interfaces that allow citizens to observe and sometimes interact with functional information, as e.g. bus schedules and tourism information (Fatah gen. Schieck, 2005). Electronic screens are nowadays often seen in the urban landscape, appearing in squares and parks, in public transport facilities and also on board public transport like buses, trains, subways and trams (Schieck, Briones and Mottram, 2008).


Vande Moere and Hill (2012) mean that urban screens are slowly entering the realm of architectural design as they can be embedded into flexible architectural facades and can be constructed independently of structural building constraints. The screens are able to reflect the style of a specific time period (e.g., baroque, modernist), or represent the public function of the building (e.g., bank, church). Technically, these displays have a high quality performance well beyond the traditional household flat LED screens and can easily become integrated within the actual architectural or urban design. Modern, high-quality urban displays transform typical rigid, weight-bearing facades into flexible skins, sometimes augmented with digital media (Vande Moere and Hill, 2012).

2.2.3 Public visualization for understanding and civic participation

Public and urban displays, social visualization and persuasive computing can be combined to create pictorial representations that provide a better and potentially actionable understanding of urban issues to its inhabitants (Valkanova, et al.,2014). Valkanova, et al. (2014) means that although the majority of the currently existing media facades are mainly used for commercial reasons, they have a great potential to inspire, stimulate and create discourse, and also become triggers for stimulating social development and facilitating new and elaborated understanding of complex issues for the general public. Valkanova, et al. (2014) state that while many citizens are increasingly aware of urban environmental, societal, and economic challenges, not many comprehend the driving principles behind the problems or have the knowledge to reflect upon how the issues affect their daily lives. Vande Moere and Hill (2012) also claim that by using digital advanced screen and networking technology, valuable and situated visual information can now have the potential to show information that is relevant, timely, and engaging for citizens. But when placing urban displays in public spaces one should consider questions about the actual social and interactive behaviour around a shared screen, as the messages on the screen have a great potential for having an influence on people’s opinions and attitudes (O’Hara, et al., 2003). Because of their prominent placement, urban visualizations have at least three built-in possibilities of theoretical persuasion; 1. Through sensing technology, a display can capture a behaviour (e.g., measuring residential energy consumption, bicycle use, etc.); 2. Through its visual imagery, it can provide useful information, such as behavioural statistics; 3. Through its networking ability, it can become a social actor, encouraging social interaction (Vande Moere and Hill, 2012).

Gardner and Hespanhol (2018) state that “big data” tends to be too distant and abstract for people to engage in, meaning that the typical smart city rhetoric doesn’t take the human user experience and local data into account - topics of interest for people to engage in. Vande Moere and Hill (2012) suggest that a solution could be to present publically visualized data that has a contextual relationship to the immediate environment in order to involve the local population in understanding the driving principles, as part of the solution requires city inhabitants to change their ways of living. Valkanova, et al. (2014) addressed the issue of polling local opinions by combining interactive public displays with the qualities of a social visualization in an in-the-wild study, and found that an interactive public visualization of a local concern could be a way for enabling civic participation and discussion.

2.2.4 Visualization of information design

Information design can be described, as “In order to satisfy the information needs of the intended receivers, information design comprises analysis, planning, presentation and understanding of a message – its content, language and form Regardless of the selected medium, a well-designed information material will satisfy aesthetic, economic, ergonomic, as well as subject matter requirements” (Pettersson, 2014). Pettersson (2014) states that the main objective of information design is to provide information materials needed by the interpreter


in order to perform specific tasks. By this definition, Pettersson (2014) distinguishes Information design from Persuasion design, which he defines as an umbrella term for advertising, planned communication, and propaganda, with the main purpose to persuade the interpreter of the message to buy a product or a service, or to change his or her behaviour.

This statement goes in line with the previously mentioned risk with big, urban screens, which potentially can have a persuasive influence on people’s opinions and attitudes (O’Hara et al., 2003). Pettersson (2014) also emphasizes the difference between information design and Instruction design. Information design requires less cognitive effort compared to instruction design, since the receiver of instruction design is to (usually) learn from the message. The receiver of information design only has to be able to understand the message in order to use the information in a “one-time practical situation” (Pettersson, 2014). With urban display screens in mind, where the objective might be not only to give “one-time practical situation information” but to actually encourage a change of behaviour of the receiver, Pettersson (2014) also means that in many situations information design will also result in learning.

Other comparative design types to distinguish information design from could be Graphic design, of which the main purpose is to provide aesthetic, functional, and organised structure.

Also Mass design, or Entertainment design is different from Information design, being an umbrella term for mass-communication and journalism with the main purpose of providing news, views, and entertainment (Pettersson, 2014).

Pettersson (2010) has formulated four groups with a total of sixteen design principles for information design, to which 150 practical information design guidelines are linked; 1.

Functional principles, including six principles: defining the problem, providing structure, providing clarity, providing simplicity, providing emphasis, and providing unity. 2.

Administrative principles, including four principles: information access, information costs, information ethics, and securing quality. 3. Aesthetic principles, including two principles:

harmony, and aesthetic proportion. 4. Cognitive principles, including four principles:

facilitating attention, facilitating perception, facilitating mental processing, and facilitating memory. Pettersson (2010) states that there are many different views of what designers do when they design and that during any design process the designer must regularly make several decisions, a key dimension in any design process. Nelson and Stolterman (2003) mean that the ability to make solid design judgments is what distinguishes a stellar designer from a mediocre designer. Pettersson (2014) means that a design judgment cannot be based on strict rules of reasoning but is more likely dependent on the individual’s experienced consequences of previous design choices, and the designer’s tacit inner knowledge of the area.

2.3 Interaction design

2.3.1 Digitalization, ubiquitous computing and owners of the city

Through ubiquitous computing, information is spreading outside the traditional domains of home and work into the urban environment. Sensors and wireless connectivity have made ubiquitous computing possible - and let digital assets become embedded in physical objects (Lange and Waal, 2013). As digitalization and smart cities evolve, everyday ubiquity digital technology and Internet services create seamless transitions between visible and invisible infrastructures of cities, such as road systems, building complexes and Information and Communications Technology (ICT) (Foth, Choi and Satchell, 2011). Ballas (2013) draws the conclusion that if smart city is intended to be seen as a model of excellence, the term cannot leave any doubt that the promotion of the wellbeing and the happiness of its residents is a guiding principle and one of its key challenges.


Lange and Waal (2013) use the word “ownership” to pinpoint engagement, responsibility and stewardship and embrace how digital technologies shape the ways in which people in cities can meet and share common ground with strangers who are different and also form new collectives or publics around shared issues of concern. This new kind of ownership can outrange tensions between individuals and collectives, between differences and similarities, and between conflict and collaboration in urban public places. Lange and Waal (2013) elaborate the concept of ownership to embrace what belongs to all of us, demanding collective engagement and action. Lange and Waal (2013) state that this inclusive and active notion of ownership not only is about avoiding friction but also develops a kind of togetherness, rooted in physical proximity similar to neighbouring, and localness of people who share key aspects of their lives. Lange and Waal (2013) mean that through various technologies collecting an enormous amount of data, the city becomes as an information- generating system where citizens – consciously or unconsciously – contribute to a massive amount of data through their use of digital products and services. When engaging people with communally shared issues, Lange and Waal (2013) emphasize the importance of people envisioning themselves as part of the urban fabric, and that they understand that their individual actions make a difference to the common good. And a key component for doing this is to have trust in other urbanites. Lange and Waal (2013) mean that digital media have enabled mechanisms for managing collective action and that he terms “co–creation” and

“crowdsourcing” are used for collective issues being tackled and managed collaboratively, with new participants having an active role. The aggregated data may become a ‘data commons’, i.e. a new resource containing valuable information for urban designers. As Lange and Waal (2013) point out, data ownership raises many questions, e.g. if citizens can have access to this data in order to create interesting new applications and services, or if the ownership should be limited to certain players like governmental authorities and private companies? But several ethical issues come with the new possibilities: Who has possession rights of the data, what legal and regulations do we need and what new types of institutions are needed (Lange and Waal, 2013)?

2.3.2 Bottom-up, co-created data and smart cities for people

Previous research shows that in order to make people engaged, information should be on a local and personal (bottom-up) level (Gardner and Hespanhol, 2018). Gardner and Hespanhol (2018) take the human-scale and user experience perspective of the smart city, rather than focusing on the techno-urban big-data imagery. They also classify the smart city initiatives in terms of engagement on different levels - as a series of urban scales - proposing that cities mainly grow from the bottom-up model. The scales can be compared to different proxemics and consist of three core urban scales: metropolis, community and individual (Gardner and Hespanhol, 2018). The bottom-up approach, meaning that the content of the presented data should be co-created together with the citizens for best engagement, is supported by McArthur, Tomitsch and Hespanhol (2015) who claim that interaction can be encouraged by the design of participatory urban media for adding long-term social, cultural and economic value to urban precincts. The problem is often that people don’t understand how to interact with the media and interactive augmentations are needed - such as gestural interactions. A passer-by must also see an immediate benefit to care to engage and the media itself should embrace multi-user action and take the physical context into account (McArthur, Tomitsch and Hespanhol, 2015). McArthur, Tomitsch and Hespanhol (2015) conclude that people seem to engage more if the media is perceived as an unusual circumstance, has a playful interface and let people quickly understand how to interact, and get the impression that they are instruments for community engagement. Just as Gardner and Hespanhol (2018), McArthur, Tomitsch and Hespanhol (2015) conclude that community engagement and the local context


matters for participation. A local survey with the purpose to explore citizen's potential benefits of the smart city in the city of Valencia in Spain, Sanjuán, Cazorla and Val Fiela (2017) found our that it is important to link technology to usability in a pleasant way, with nature in focus. Through ethnographic methods and 150 interviews, Sanjuán, Cazorla and Val Fiela (2017) could define the citizen’s needs and products to improve public places. The results showed that people lacked signs and wanted more areas in the shade to rest and stay.

Young people wanted Wi-Fi zones outdoors while elderly citizens wanted big, urban screens displaying events or beautiful sights of the city, music for dancing or practicing gym. People also wanted more lighting at night, making them feel safe and secure. Eco materials and low consumption were also highly appreciated.

2.4 Placemaking

2.4.1 The smart and sustainable city - designing for meaningful places

According to Glasmeier and Christopherson (2015), the smart city could be defined by two essential attributes; First as a city that uses technologies to facilitate the coordination of urban sub-systems, e.g. energy, water, mobility, and built environment. And secondly, a further futuristic definition as an urban place where the lived experience a new reality. Lara, et al.

(2016) collects several definitions of the smart city from different perspectives; the ecological (Lim and Liu 2010), the technological (Townsend, 2013), the economic (Kourtit, et al. 2012), the organisational and the societal perspective (Deakin and Al Waer, 2011; 2012). Kitchin (2015) defines the smart city as the new kind of technology-led urban utopia. Lara et al., (2016) mean that in all these perspectives, the vision of technology and innovation is a common ground to shape our cities into a form that we want to leave to our descendants.

Beumer (2017) has looked upon historic and contemporary theories of the urban-nature- people relationship and analyzed some sustainable city projects, with the conclusion that Sustopia (the sustainable utopian city) often turns into Dystopia when only one perspective of sustainability is put into focus. Beumer (2017) emphasizes that the real sustainable city revives the notion of Cosmopolis as a creative place, conscious of its global context and its internal and external dynamics, embracing several perspectives of actors and bottom-up local initiatives. As complexity and change are leading principles of urban development of today, the new Cosmopolitan sustainable city is fragile in itself and in constant need of critical reflection, creative nurturing and enlightened engagement of citizens with a well-developed and educated consciousness (Beumer, 2017).

When identifying the benefits of using a community’s assets for creating positive social spaces, the topic of placemaking is central (Johnstone, Caldwell and Rittenbruch, 2015). The currently increasingly used term Placemaking was coined during the 1960’s by influential writers in the field of urban design such as Jane Jacobs and later by architects such as Lucien Kroll. Johnstone, Caldwell and Rittenbruch (2015) state that the term signifies what had always existed amongst communities, namely that the best design for a particular place and its inhabitants cannot be done from outside the community. There is a growing movement amongst urban planners to utilise creative community narratives in the process of urban planning, and when combining public history and art with storytelling, a process of place construction can occur which can be helpful in making previously forgotten parts of the city visible (Foth, et al., 2008).

2.4.2 City development and city planning with new technologies

Up until the 1960s cities were primarily developed on the basis of centuries of experience and it was taken for granted that cities were constructed for people. As urban growth thrived and


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