Design Policy Conference

Held on 15 and 16 October 2016 before a crowd 1500 strong at the Taipei International Convention Centre, the WDC International Design Policy Conference brought together design professionals, policy experts, government officials, and academics from around the world to explore the role of design in city development, the sharing economy, social innovation, and human-centred design.

Opening Remarks

Icsid/WDO President Prof. Mugendi M’Rithaa described the Design Policy Conference as an opportunity to “exchange practical and inspiring solutions that strengthen design’s role in urban planning, and which set the foundation for a design-led legacy program, which resonates far beyond the designated World Design Capital year.”

“A blacksmith in one city is an apprentice in another. We have much to learn from each other.” – Icsid/WDO President Mugendi M’Rtihaa

“Design is not just about seeking aesthetics in objects, it is about an attitude of thinking,” said Mayor of Taipei City Ko Wen-je. “To change Taiwan, we must start with the capital; to change the capital, we must change the culture; and to change the culture, we must start with design.”

Mayor Ko added that implementing design into urban development requires collaboration across different bureaus within government, as well as from citizens and professional designers, and stated that “our vision is to make Taipei a livable and sustainable city by 2050.”

Beatrice Hsieh spoke about the importance of design-led thinking, which places people at the centre of any solution and encourages people to think outside he box. “Design is a process, a policy tool to guide people back to be more humanistic,” she said. “This conference encourages people to focus more on creative thinking, to be more creative bureaucrats so we can create a future not only for the people, but by the people through the power of design.”

Session 1: Design for Public Policy

Officials from five cities around the world, including those from previous and future World Design Capitals, examined the importance of design for public policy: Jussi Pajunen, Mayor of Helsinki; Ian Neilson, Executive Deputy Mayor, City of Cape Town; and Miguel Torruco Marqués, Secretary of Tourism, Mexico City. They shared thoughts on the role public officials can play in supporting and investing in social design innovation to develop a sustainable and inclusive urban future.

Mayor of Helsinki, Jussi Pajunen, shared how design has become a key driver of development in Helsinki and credited World Design Capital for making this transformation possible. The theme of WDC Helsinki 2012 was Open Helsinki: Embedding design in life, which gave the city a licence to do things differently. Building upon a strong design heritage and incorporating design in urban policy became a topic of public discussion.

Concrete examples of WDC’s legacy of creative design thinking are rooted in Helsinki’s new central library, designed with a sense of community; as well as in its educational system, which emphasizes smart, clean physical spaces for inspiring new digital learning environments, and the way the city as a whole is used to inspire children to learn about and gain ownership of the city.

When asked to describe the designer’s role in city government, Helsinki mayor Pajunen explained that designers are those situated between the engineers who create a product and the people who use them. In a design-effective city, civil servants are the experts while the designers are the ones who make sure the city services are a good fit for the people who use them.

Anne Stenros, the newly appointed Chief Design Officer of Helsinki, identified design as a driving force in the strategic transformation of her city. She also noted the trend of design moving away from a “user-centric” approach towards a “citizen-driven” mindset that encompasses a more holistic and participatory view of design. “I am a great advocate of empathetic design and the need to bring the viewpoint of citizens in everything we do.”

In designing for 2050 when more than 70% of the world’s population are expected to live in cities, she said that city processes and structures would need to be more open and transparent and engaging than ever before. She cautioned cities from becoming too “velocitized” and called for more long-term sustainable value in decision-making processes. “Radical innovation cannot exist on its own, quality control is equally important.”

She also noted that an emotionally smart city uses design thinking to anticipate future alternatives for better living, combining smart and slow actions, and using design thinking to visualize the unknown future problems and solutions.

Ian Neilson, Cape Town’s Executive Deputy Mayor, said, “We benefited a great deal from being WDC2014…the year created great momentum, driving design thinking in public processes and generating considerable economic and social impact.”

Cape Town continues to embrace design in its efforts to grow sustainably and provide quality services to its citizens. It has designed a digital strategy for Cape Town so it can become the first digital city in Africa, launching an open data portal to increase transparency and tap into the creativity of the city’s residents and entrepreneurs. The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking at the University of Cape Town, also known as “D-School,” is one of only three design thinking schools in the world, and one of the key legacy projects of WDC Cape Town 2014.

To cope with its rapidly growing city and the enormous growth expected by 2030, Cape Town is looking to increase dwelling units by another half a million, with another 3.5 million square feet in office space. They are using design thinking to address spatial efficiency, improve land use, reduce a lengthy commute, and improve access to public transport.

Design principles are also informing the redesign of the city’s organizational structures to reduce corruption, align management, better understand drivers of consumer value and improve decision making processes to ensure improved services for the citizens of Cape Town.

Miguel Torrucco Marques, Mexico City’s Secretary of Tourism, spoke about the importance of design for the economy of Mexico City and the ways in which his city will benefit from the WDC 2018 designation in terms of attracting tourism and investment.

Emilio Cabrero, Design Week Mexico and WDC2018 lead, said that similar to Cape Town, design can play an important role in planning and rebuilding Mexico City. Working under the theme, Responsible Design for the City, Emilio Cabrero and his team are working to promote sustainable design that improves quality of life. “There are lots of plans for WDC 2018,” said Cabrero, “including transformation of public spaces, restoration of old park, creation of pocket parks, increased bike lanes and pedestrian areas, raising public awareness of what design can do, and working to bring design into our communities.”

Staf Depla, Vice Mayor of Eindhoven, credited their WDC 2012 bid process for “creating a lot of energy, speeding up some of the plans we already had, strengthening our global reputation, and increasing collaborations abroad.”

He provided examples of how design had “trickled down into the city,” namely through Philips, which was not only a big employer, but also a social entrepreneur taking into account what people wanted. He said, “When Eindhoven bounced back after 30% of the population lost their jobs in the 90s, the city developed into a city of progress and gave rise to the triple helix approach which saw business, local authorities, knowledge institutions, and citizens working hand in hand to make the city better.” In 2011-2012, the New York think tank Intelligent Community Forum named Eindhoven’s Brainport region the smartest in the world for its integral approach to innovation, design, health and technology.

Empowered citizens will build smart cities, said Depla, who also described a new crowd sourced urban lighting project the city has undertaken with the support of Philips Lighting, the Technical University of Eindhoven, and Heijmans to develop a smart and sustainable city that responds to residents aspirations. Called Roadmap Urban Lighting Eindhoven 2030, this “Quadruple Helix” partnership between government, academia, business and residents over the next 15 years includes innovative lighting applications in public spaces such as connected LED street lighting and smart sensors.

Session 2: Design for Social Impact

Jocelyn Wyatt, Co-Lead and Executive Director of addressed the importance of human centred design, a creative approach to problem solving that starts with understanding peoples’ needs and ends with innovative solutions tailored to these peoples needs. She emphasized the need for tangible and measurable results, and the value of deep listening in gaining insight and inspiration for solutions that can scale.

She instructed the audience to start from a place of listening. “Understand what they say, feel, do, and think,” she said. “Then generate as many solutions as possible, test those ideas and take the steps to bring the solution to impact and scale.”

She gave the example of IDEO transforming a drab, traditional clinic into an accessible and inviting pop-up “Diva Centre” in Zambia, where teenage girls paint their nails while informally receiving information about sexual health. By taking a human-centered approach, spending weeks immersed in and understanding the lives and aspirations of Zambian teens, she said was able to increase the number of girls receiving family planning services through a multi-touch point approach. Working with Marie Stopes Zambia, has since launched three Diva Centres around Lusaka, which are serving more than 5,000 girls getting them the contraception they need. A staggering 82% of them have adopted some form of birth control, most for the first time.

She also spoke about an IDEO program that ignited a love of reading among Syrian refugees. What began as a circle of mothers reading storybooks to complement an existing education system in the camps needed to scale much more quickly with the increasing number of refugees. They put together a training program with videos and workshops, which soon developed into a We Love Reading movement that spread throughout the camps.

For more information on the Design Kit, which provides the necessary tools for applying a human-centre design approach to tackling problems, visit:

Rama Gheerawo, Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art, an Icsid/WDO member, also spoke about human-centred social design and the importance of empathy. Having conducted design interventions with lower socio-economic and disadvantaged communities, Gheerawo addressed the importance of breaking down social barriers through simple, fun exercises in order to open up genuine conversations and engage the community.

The RCA’s Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design (HHCD) has delivered social innovation boot camps to provide students with an opportunity to learn people-centred innovation methods and practices. A session with migrant workers in Qatar revealed the importance of active listening in a relaxed and informal atmosphere, using for example the game of cricket to break the ice, gain trust and encourage engagement.

In Rebuilding Fukushima, HHCD worked with citizens from the radioactive zone to rebuild their community.

By engaging an inner-city community in London in The Great Balloon Swap, HHCD discovered that the solution to making under-lit urban areas feel safe is not simply to increase the light but also to create nodes of social participation where the darkness can be respected and enjoyed.

The London Taxi is another co-creative HHCD project that has developed a low-emission, inclusive London taxi by consulting with drivers, passengers, and manufacturers to achieve the best possible results in terms of accessibility and desirability.

We seek empathy not power in design, said Rama, who quoted the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore: “Power said to the world, you are mine. She imprisoned him on her throne. Love said to the world, I am yours. She gave him the freedom of her house.”

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Professor Dung-Sheng Chen of the Department of Sociology at National Taiwan University provided an historical perspective on social design in Taipei, arguing that the importance of design comes about as a result of the rapid social progression of Taiwan since the 1987 lifting of martial law towards a democratic and inclusive society.

He noted that technology has also given the public a means to participate in decision-making processes. City platforms such as encourage a bottom-up approach, transparency in government processes, and direct citizen participation in policy, budgeting, and shaping the city.

Taipei’s social evolution has culminated in this year’s designation as World Design Capital, Chen said. As Adaptive City-Design in Motion, Taipei will continue to engage its citizens through public deliberation, participation and the use of the many platforms, where people can discuss, raise their voices, share their opinions, learn from others and participate in social change. He said, “Every citizen should be a social designer and have the ability to participate in the process of social design.”

Brian Wen of design consultancy, Continuum, spoke about a few of his agency’s projects in social innovation and the importance of advancing human centred design.

Continuum works with CGAP to ensure financial inclusion of the poor, helping Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) recipients in Pakistan understand their finances and test solutions that work for them. Focusing on a particular group of very poor, illiterate women receiving government support of $10 each per month, Continuum designed visual instructions to help them extract money from the ATM machine and deal with bank tellers.

Continuum created the first FDA-approved waterproof, wireless monitor for insulin pumps, giving type 1 diabetics a new-found sense of freedom and mobility. They also led a behaviour changing campaign to help diabetics monitor their blood sugar level, weight, physical activity, and caloric intake.

Continuum’s team in China has been working to bring diapers to rural china, and carving out a safe reliable ride sharing service to help women return to work.

They have also partnered with the Boston Planning and Development Agency to re-envision its mission to engage communities and bring solutions to where they are needed in the city.

Social innovation is about community activation and creativity, said Brian Wen. In order to ensure successful outcomes, we need community ownership from the very beginning.

Shikuan Chen, Vice President of Experience Design at Compal Electronics and Icsid/WDO board member, explored different technological phenomena that have transformed behaviour and impacted design. He said it was important to understand societal trends because consumer behaviour and attitudes translate into sales revenue.

He noted an important shift from the concept of ownership to rentals as a means of freeing up and sharing resources, saving money and space. “From camping gear to DIY equipment, from cars, to spare rooms and couches, personal appliances and smart phones,” he said. “People, most of them under the age of 35, are looking to generate economic value from idle resources.”

Environmental consciousness is also a dominant force as people move away from over consumption and unnecessary packaging. Taipei city’s 67% recycling rate is the highest in the world, noted Chen. “The Wall Street Journal has called us the World Geniuses of Garbage Disposal, a world leader in recycling.”

Chen described the notion of Being alone together, which sees us all wanting to be together and everywhere at the same, in the same room but using separate tech devices. “In my home,” said Chen, “the fastest way to get everyone to the dinner table is to shut off the Wi-Fi.” He suggested that there might be a business opportunity in creating a Wi-Fi disruptor to bring families together, similar to the Pokémon craze that has forced people out of their homes to gather in groups and play. “It’s contagious,” said Chen. “Even the elderly are playing with their grandkids, capturing Pokémon.” Many in the industry are looking at the positive ways in which we can use tech to bridge the generation gap and bring families together.

The next concept is the family of one, the fastest growing household profile. Worldwide, the number of single person households has gone up from 30 to about 34.2 million. It’s the same in Taiwan, with 1 out of every 4 people belonging to a single household. By 2030, the number of single person households will grow by over 30%. In the US, 62% of restaurant reservations are for solo diners, and 24% of travellers journeyed alone on their vacation. This is the new normal, said Chen. He suggested new business opportunities could be found to address a single person’s need for a smaller home with a layout quite different from that of a family of four. Single travellers will also favour boutique hotels and bookstores over bars.

Selfies are another trend that should interest business. The younger generation is obsessed with selfies, said Chen. In 2016, 2.5 trillion photos will be shared or stored online. 76% of millennials confessed that sharing these selfies on social media is the main purpose for their phone. In 2013, data servers around the world stored 1zeta byte of data and this is expected to rise to 45 ZB in 2020. “There’s a high carbon footprint in terms of electricity needed to feed the additional servers and the air conditioners needed to cool down these servers,” said Chen.

The future patterns of work will also change as more and more people become freelancers, working remotely in a digital world. Gone are the days of the daily commute and the 9 to 5 office job. Work swarms are on the rise, wherein a group gathers quickly to attack a problem and then dissipates when it’s completed.

Chen said the final trend is the so-called Flat White Economy, coined after Starbucks flat white coffee, is made up of the small business entrepreneurs and start-ups that have characterized the economy since the financial collapse. This young urban creative sector looks to maximize efficiency and within four years will be the largest economic sector in the UK.

Taipei has a lot of innovative power, said Chen, with 64 design schools and growing. He recommended foreign companies tap into Taipei’s extraordinary resource of talented designers.

Session 3: Design for Future Living

Dr. Wei-bin Lee of the Department of Information Technology (DOIT) at Taipei City Government spoke about his department’s efforts to build a smarter government, encouraging cross-agency collaboration, helping citizens to access information about the city’s roster of services and obtain their feedback. He said, “It is important to understand the actual needs to be satisfied.”  He also emphasized the importance of sharing stories and case studies about public policy to improve understanding and collaboration.

As part of their Storyteller Project, DOIT collects and searches for stories about Taipei in each of the districts, using video to encourage and engage their audience. They work with local history and cultural experts to display posters at tourist centers and landmarks. Through QR code readers, the entire city should be able to access online digital content. DOIT is also working on augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) as the trend of the future to recreate old information and make it interactive.

Through the AirBox project, DOIT works to set up mini air quality surveillance points to determine air quality in elementary schools. The government’s environmental department approached schools to help monitor the air boxes and the community helped promote it online. A smart city harnesses people potential and needs said Lee. Unlike the top-down approach of the past, DOIT takes the initiative to get the public involved right from the very start. “Once citizens give the okay, then we can roll out on large scale.”

For Lee the smart city is about using information technology to solve a wide range of problems and improve peoples’ lives. “We’re not existing just to fix the Internet and computers,” said Lee. “We have more value when we assist and work with others strategically.”

Mike Orgill, Director of Public Policy for Asia Pacific at Airbnb, noted that while the intersection of public policy and technology has been particularly disruptive, the good news is that technology, particularly in a sharing city, can connect people in the real world.

In a sharing economy, organizations such as Airbnb use the Internet to rent assets, such as beds, cars, homes and equipment from people who own them.

Some of the benefits that Airbnb brings to a city include providing economic opportunity and increased tourism. On average, Airbnb guests stay two times longer than a typical visitor, he said. 47% of hosts said the extra income helps them make ends meet and 76% of Airbnb listings are located outside traditional hotel districts. Whether it’s a villa for a month, a castle for a week or an apartment for a night, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences anywhere in the world.

According to Orgill, the sharing economy can address many needs in a city looking to become more sustainable. The sharing economy allows us to rent cars only when we need them and share rides with others, effectively reducing traffic congestion, pollution and the number of cars on the road.

By sharing a spare room in their homes, an aging population can connect with visitors to the city. They can share their space with young people who cannot afford a place of their own, while lessening the burden of their own rising household expenses.

By designing with sharing in mind, said Orgill, we can unlock extra economic opportunity, reduce demand for precious natural resources and limited urban space, and create a more connected community.

Julia Kloiber, Project Lead for Open Knowledge Foundation in Germany, spoke about civic tech and the role designers can play in supporting software developers and engineers to make complex government data sets accessible to citizens. She highlighted the benefits of open data, which helps to improve communications between citizens and government about health, education, air quality, energy usage, transportation, weather, art and culture.

According to Kloiber, Taiwan leads the pack in the Global Open Data Index while Germany, which ranks 26, is working towards the adoption of a federal open data law.

Kloiber described the case of Tempelhof, a former airport turned green public space in Berlin, where citizens used a 3D realization of city data to better understand city plans to build commercial areas on the site.

She also spoke about a crowdsourcing campaign that saw the production of do it yourself air quality sensors to determine air quality in remote areas with real time data made available on the website.

Kloiber said tech can help citizens access and receive information and encourages collaboration with different communities.

CODE for Germany was launched by Open Knowledge Foundation to support developers and designers who are active in the field of Open Data to start Open Knowledge Labs of their own. Twenty-five labs now meet on a regular basis, building tools and visualizations that help improve neighbourhoods. These labs have been invited to open roundtables with government, where public funding has been set aside to help some of them strengthen their civic tech projects.

Cally O’Neill, an Architectural Designer from New Zealand, spoke about the benefits of participatory design and collective decision-making. She said, “When people take different perspectives into account, groups come to better decisions than any one person.”

As a young architect, she was “horrified to learn of the carbon footprint that surrounded the built environment.” She said, “Unsustainable development processes should be illegal” and spoke of the processes and practices of protecting and looking after the environment, referred to as Kaitiakitanga in New Zealand.

She spoke about Generation Zero, an initiative working toward carbon zero. The initiative used a decision-making software, Loomio, which allows dispersed groups to reach decisions quickly and take constructive action.

She touted this evolved cooperative decision-making process without a boss as an important method for anyone, anywhere to participate in the decisions that affect them, building a shared understanding and agreement through dialogue.

She spoke of five workshops she organized in the Vogelmorn Precinct, with a cross section of the community, who actively engaged in play and brainstormed with value-driven participatory methods to unfold their culture and discover unique possibilities to improve their community.

Audrey Tang, Digital Minister without portfolio for the Taiwan Executive Yuan, spoke about her involvement in hack-a-thons with the civic tech community to bring about greater government transparency.

She encouraged people to freely “fork” the government, which is computer terminology for developing a new direction based on the same source code. She asked, “If code can be forked, why not pubic policy?” She emphasized the importance of collaboration, citing her work with g0v zero to digitize the Ministry of Education dictionary.

She also emphasized the importance of experimentation and imperfection, without which we would not be able to learn from one another. She quoted Leonard Cohen who said, “There is a crack in everything, that is how the light gets in.”

With enough citizen participation, open discussion and collaboration, she said a fork has the potential to merge as it did when the national e-budget visualization merged with the official budget site.

She noted that while Taiwan has scored well in the Global Open Data Index because of its policy to share data openly with citizens, the next step is to expand their system so that data can be manipulated, translated, interpreted, contrasted and compared to become meaningful.

Session 4: Design for Sustainable Cities

Shu-Chang Kung, Director, Graduate Institute of Architecture at National Chiao Tung University, believes that the rapid urbanization being felt in Taipei requires an open, transparent and integrated communication platform where everyone benefits, from bottom to top. He said there are six main areas where Taipei should do a so-called Urban Network Reboot including, social design, co-working network, urban regeneration, technological innovation, political action, culture and creativity. According to Kung, it is aptly named a network to address the need for collaboration across many different disciplines and generations.

Kung proudly described Taipei as a unique city, densely populated with 2.6 million people and diverse cultures, constantly bustling with activity in the lane and alleyways where people interact. It is a hybrid of commercial and residential iconic four-floor buildings, housing little shops on the ground floor, residences on top, and illegal structures on their rooftops. He noted that Taipei is very scalable, a liveable city surrounded by mountains and rivers. It is also walkable, with a good public transportation system.

Architects have been working to come up with creative solutions to renew the city, preserving street side culture and solving some of the troubles related to the old four-floor building, such as limited lighting and mobility issues for the elderly, and exploring ideas for energy efficient social housing.

Kung said that World Design Capital has offered Taipei not only a platform on the international stage but a chance for the people of Taipei to engage in reflection to address city problems. Many urban regeneration platforms and projects were organized following the 2011 bid for the WDC designation, including the Urban Regeneration Station (URS), FutureLab Taipei, URS21 Chung Shan Creative Hub, Revived Vanguard, Idea Taipei, and Recreate Taipei. All of these and many more are exploring areas that the public feels require change, and that can be resolved with innovative and co-creative design. The rate of public participation is high in Taipei with young people, scholars and designers all eager to work together for change.

Kazuo Tanaka, President of GK Design Group and Icsid/WDO Regional Advisor, spoke about the expanding role of design and its focus on the intangible, to solve global environmental challenges and produce value in a sustainable city.

His firm gives deep thought to the relationship between people and the objects they use. He spoke about their design of the Narita Express, which his firm designed 25 years ago for visitors to see Tokyo, branding it red and white, in a unique expression of public identity. “The transportation system is an expression of a city,” said Tanaka. “It can create a city’s identity.”

Recently, GK Design Group has been working on signage systems to improve the function of the city’s public transportation system. Designed consistently and simply, with line colours and platform numbers that are clearly expressed and easily understood by the users.

He said, “The human scale view is the most important issue for a successfully sustainable city.” Activities that help promote the train across a community, such as branding that expresses a city’s character, sidewalks that improve the pedestrian experience, and simple and consistent signage inside and out, are all examples of user-centric tangible and intangible design that help ensure a successful public transportation system.

Annette Baumeister, Shanghai Studio Director, BMW Group provided insight BMW’s green mobility initiatives and showcased the Mini Vision Next 100, a futuristic concept car, which is autonomous, electric, and designed to be shared.

As a member of the BMW mini design team for the past 10 years, Baumeister is excited about the clever sustainable design ideas and less is more approach of the Mini Next 100. She says BMW is responding to the public desire for individual mobility and reduced environmental impact, working with other companies to find new sustainable ways and solutions.

Electric car sharing also represents an important pillar of the BMW Group’s efforts to help create a sustainable model for urban mobility, reduce traffic volumes and air pollution and improve the quality of life in cities. We are in constant development of sustainable solutions for urban mobility, said Baumeister. Because of increasing urbanization, we need to strengthen these areas, including on demand mobility, car sharing and car pooling.

Sustainability has become a competitive advantage in business. She quoted Norbert Reithofer, BMW’s Chairman of the Board, who said, “In the future, premium will also be defined by sustainability.”

Baumeister concluded, “Our innovations not only inspire our customers but create an added value for society and ensure the success of the BMW Group.”

Friso Van der Steen of Mecanoo Architecten spoke about his multidisciplinary firm’s work to reinvent city structures and make them more liveable by focusing on user experience, context and needs. They focus on engaging all stakeholders, organizing neighbourhood consultations for input and keeping people informed of progress.

Their design of the Library of Birmingham focused on the library experience as a journey that plays on all senses, including smell and light. The design extends the space of the street indoors, includes a discovery garden, circular courtyard, and rooftop rotunda. Visitors move from one floor to the next through interconnected and overlapping rotundas that provide natural light and ventilation. Ever-changing vistas unfold through the delicate filigree skin of interlocking circles, inspired by the tradition of metalwork in this former industrial city.

The Kaohsiung Train Station in Taiwan is another key transformation project of this Dutch firm, which has designed a sprawling green-roofed station to represent Kaohsiung’s vision for the future as a sustainable city. The publicly accessible green space seeks to engage the community and reduce the urban heat.

John Rossant, Chairman of New Cities Foundation, spoke about his non-profit’s Global Urban Innovators, which supports and promotes the 10 most innovative startups and social enterprises that use technology to solve pressing issues in cities.

Our world is rapidly urbanizing in a way that is without precedent, noted Roussant. Cities are aiming to become more sustainable, moving beyond visual and physical towards digital infrastructures and connected mobility services, and incorporating a variety of voices in their design processes.

He spoke of the trillions of dollars required to build and upgrade city infrastructure to adapt to this urban shift. Roussant encouraged cities to use design effectively, incorporating a variety of voices to “future-proof” their city and ensure that services get to those who need them. The user experience is a vital part of the design process, and crucial to creating interactive spaces and economic growth.

“Design can bring cities to life. Bad design can kill cities.” He noted that Los Angeles was scarred by it unique focus on the car, rather than on people and the environment.

A good example of industrial design and innovation impacting smart city services is LinkNYC’s transformation of old telephone booths into free high speed Wi-Fi access points in New York City. He said smart design could also mean installing urban furniture, such as the Strawberry Energy Smart Bench, to change the ways urban residents interact in public spaces.

In Montreal, abandoned spaces like the old Olympic park are being reinvented by young designers into ephemeral spaces for the local community to enjoy short summer events such as baseball and soccer games, outdoor concerts and food truck gatherings.

One of the 2016 New Cities Foundation’s Global Urban Innovators is OurCityLove in Taiwan that developed a series of apps and cloud service systems to make cities more friendly and accessible for those with physical disabilities.

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