Finding Places: HCI Platform for Public Participation in Refugees’ Accommodation Process

Ariel Noyman

Aug. 18, 2017


Finding Places: HCI Platform for Public Participation in Refugees’ Accommodation Process. Ariel Noyman , Tobias Holtz, Johannes Kröger, Jörg Rainer Noennig, Kent Larson. a Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Media Lab, Changing Places Group, Cambridge MA, b HafenCity University Hamburg, CityScienceLab, c HafenCity University Hamburg, Lab for Geoinformatics & Geovisualization


This paper describes the conception, development, and deployment of a novel HCI system for public participation and decision-making. This system was applied for the process of allocating refugee accommodation in the City of Hamburg within the FindingPlaces project (FP) in 2016. The CityScope (CS)—a rapid prototyping platform for urban planning and decision-making—offered a technical solution which was complemented by a workshop process to facilitate effective interaction of multiple participants and stakeholder groups. This paper presents the origins of CS and the evolution of the tangible user interface approach to urban planning and public participation. It further outlines technical features of the system, including custom hardware and software in use, utilization in real-time as well as technical constraints and limitations. Special focus is on the adaptation of the CS technology to the specific demands of Hamburg's FP project, whose procedures, processes, and results are reflected. The final section analyzes success factors as well as shortcomings of the approach, and indicates further R&D as well as application scenarios for the CS.

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