Co-creating urban soundscapes: opportunities and risks
City planners have often many and innovative solutions for how to create open public spaces. However, the dynamic sound perspectives in the urban environment, such as sonic diversity and acoustic ecology, are still very much neglected aspects in planning and architectural design. Digital co-creation perspective could be novel approach to design an enjoyable acoustic milieu and an opportunity for people to choose their sonic environment. Taking advantage of the information and communication technologies (ICT) is a priority in designing attractive, responsive and inclusive public open spaces. Provided with the opportunities afforded by the increased access to the innovative digital technologies many urban designers have employed the ICT tools to transform the public spaces into co-creative spaces. Co-creation offers an interesting perspective, as it enables the integration of a range of ICT-mediated and offline participatory methods and creates a shared domain between the professionals and citizens. However, the concept of digital co-creation itself is rarely clearly defined, operationalized or measured. It is important to note that the society is still experiencing the phase, where research on the ICT focus largely on the technology itself, placing very little emphasis on the social aspects and practical implications of their use. In the context of co-creation research, the Living Labs provide a qualified procedural approach to ensure better social cohesion and the integration of various strands of activities, especially supported by use of advantages and opportunities the ICT and their devices offer. Digital enhanced public open spaces are ideal environments for the co-creation to emerge due to the involvement of entire community and ICT in knowledge creation or aggregation. However, the capability of people to join co-creation activities can be influence by such factors as discrimination for age, gender, sexual orientation, cultural background and disabilities, as well as factors such as income, educational level and geographical urban/non-urban location. Certain threats linked with the communities’ development can be discerned: closing up within one’s communities, constraints of individual freedom, privileged access to community resources and limitations on the engagement of outside persons. The nature of all these problems is interdisciplinary. If value dimensions of the participants acting in a collective network are not aligned and if technological decisions are implemented in an immature environment, these technological solutions can accelerate negative aspects of collective systems and distance even more from the desirable goal of the community. On the other hand, the design and structure of technological solutions and can give impetus to the purposeful development towards common good.
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