Smart Cities, service design and accessibility

So called Smart Cities can focus on everything from self-driving cars to cultivation on the roofs and are expected to create benefits for both the economy and public health. But to be smart, cities must also be accessible. Therefore, we are currently running a project on accessibility and Smart Cities in Norway.

The concept of Smart Cities has been criticized for being fuzzy and potentially covering almost anything around IT in a city. But the idea is that technical solutions should improve everyday life for all residents.

An important aspect of cities who wants to be smart is, of course, that they are inclusive. Unfortunately, studies done by the UN initiative G3ict show that half of the smart cities are designed without taking into account accessibility.

Working with users throughout the development process means that different perspectives are met, says Maria Ström, UX designer and accessibility expert at Funka who works with the project. It will be exciting to work specifically with service design in smart cities.

Cities require careful planning and accessibility aspects must be included right from the start. In the project, we will work closely with municipalities who want to learn more about accessibility and test a methodology based on people's different needs and conditions. Still many design processes don’t include persons with disabilities.

The aim of the project is to

  • spread knowledge about accessibility aspects in smart cities
  • increase the municipalities' user focus and user participation in planning and designing
  • test our methodology in real-life situations
  • increase awareness of the tools developed in the Smart Cities for all project

Funding: BufDir (Norway)
Period: April - December 2019
Budget: 330 000 NOK

Report - How to safeguard universal design in smart cities (text in Norwegian), pdf 227 kb, opens in new window

Smart Cities for All, opens in new window