Design for Democracy: Make Democracy Great Again

Dec 2016 | Design for Democracy, Master's Projects

Aslak Sødal

Design for Democracy, Systems Oriented Design 2016
Oslo School of Architecture and Design
Collaborator: The Municipality of Tønsberg

How can we enable more people to keep up and stay engaged with what’s happening in their local communities, both politically and culturally?

Democracy isn’t just about voting. It’s about everything that has anything to do with protecting the best interests of the people, no matter what is their race, their gender political opinion or religion. These interests can be human rights, quality of life, infrastructure, or many more.

Participation is a key component for a democracy to work. We vote, we go to hearings, and we give feedback to the government about how we want our societies to work and function. All of these things are part of our participation with society.

However, there are challenges with the dependency our democracy has on participation. People can loose sight of whats important, they can forget to join in on discussions, or they might not care. If everyone drops out, participation ceases, and this poses a risk to democracy.

This project is based on the thesis claiming: “Knowing more about what is going on around you, increases your overall engagement in it and ultimately leads you to more participative activity.”

The aim of this project is to increase the information available to all inhabitants, and in doing so increasing participation.

Throughout the project, both in the mapping- and the design-phase, it has been important for me to look as broadly as possible on the different solutions, and at the field it is set within.

Researching as broadly as possible, and not limiting it to early has been important to the project but also a big challenge. In the end, it has led to some interesting discoveries that later guided further mapping and understanding and ultimately influencing the final design solution..

The final solution is a digital service, focusing on simplifying and making available the existing information and knowledge about what is happening and going on in the local society.