CITIES & CITIZENS – A foundation based in Amsterdam that activates citizens and collaborates with institutional partners, using emerging technologies as agents of social change.
«Technology is not neutral. We are inside of what we make, and it’s inside of us. We live in a world of connections and it matters which ones get made and unmade» Donna Haraway, Cyborg Manifesto, 1984
What is it?
At Design Collisions, Waag shows “Designing for a Better World”, a representation of its public research approach. Waag is a foundation based in Amsterdam operating in the intersection between science, technology, and art. Waag activates citizens and collaborates with institutional partners, using emerging technologies as agents of social change. It is driven by the values of equity, openness and inclusivity.
What does it do?
Working with emergent technologies, Waag conducts research in both imaginative and practical terms, addressing its fellow citizens from a position of equality and collaboration. For years, for instance, Waag has been working with Smart Citizens. Using methods like co-creation and citizen science, citizens come to understand the complex relationships that govern the development of smart cities. They are provided the opportunity to voice their fears, values, hopes and develop alternatives experiences while using open source technologies.
What is a Smart Citizen?
Smart Citizens respond to challenges from a position of technological empowerment and civil engagement. They contrast the narrative of passive consumers through collaborative forms of action. Smart Citizens are aware they can learn almost everything, provided they invest time and energy and have suitable, competent guidance. They are convinced that open source tools, access to ethical co-creation and knowledge sharing are human rights.
Why is it part of Design Collisions?
Waag’s public research and co-design programs show that complex topics of high public impact, such as the Smart City, can be fruitfully tackled following ethical values rather than scientific objectivity or economic interests, despite their complexity.
What is its impact?
Waag’s activism has been instrumental in the current standing of the city of Amsterdam towards a regulation of data collection and against street surveillance. Its strength is also in the mass of citizens that it involves: more than 100,000 in 2018 alone.
Is this design?
The methods used by Waag are related to Design Thinking and creative participation.