Francesca Rizzo, Alessandro Deserti, Onur Cobanli


Urban transformation is widely recognized as a complex phenomenon, rich in uncertainty. It is the unpredictable consequence of complex interplay between urban forces (both top-down or bottom-up), urban resources (spatial, social, economic and infrastructural as well as political or cognitive) and transformation opportunities (endogenous or exogenous). The recent attention to Urban Living Lab and Human Smart City initiatives is disclosing a promising bridge between the micro-scale environments and dynamics of such forces and resources and the urban governance mechanisms. This bridge is represented by those urban collaborative ecosystems, where processes of smart service co-design take place through dialogic interaction with and among citizens within a situated and cultural-specific frame. As a response to new emerging needs and ways of generating value, during the last decades the design discipline - traditionally bound to the development of tangible artefacts - has expanded its focus on intangible artefacts such as signs, interactions, processes, and services. In this framework design is orienting its theories and practices towards a different object, putting people at the centre of the smartness of cities by recognizing the need of developing sustainable, micro and contextualized solutions that could eventfully be scaled up to achieve larger social impacts (Murray, Caulier-Grice and Mulgan, 2010). The Human Smart City paradigm (Concilio, Deserti and Rizzo, 2014) relies on the capability of the cities to realize and scale up services more sustainable because collaborative in nature based on anthropocentric networks that support the emergence of new typologies of partnerships of actors interested to solve some unmet societal problem. The paper presents this vision by discussing the results of a long-term experimentation conducted in the city of Milano under the framework of the My Neighbourhood European project.

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