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Journal Article

Citizen Involvement in Local Environmental Governance: A Methodology Combining Human‑Centred Design and Living lab Approaches  pp106-114

Sandrine Reiter, Guillaume Gronier, Philippe Valoggia

© Dec 2014 Volume 12 Issue 2, ECEG 2014, Editor: Frank Banister, pp95 - 207

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Abstract: Nowadays, involving citizens in Local Environmental Governance (LEG) is becoming increasingly important. In order to empower the role of citizen in this context, we propose an approach that relies on the establishment of a physical and intelle ctual space for shared understanding and collaboration between all stakeholders impacted by an environmental problem (in our case odour emission). Based on the development of an Information Technology (IT) system allowing odour emission measurement as well as the collection of citizen feedback, a Living Lab (LL) approach is being implemented that involves citizens, public authorities, industry and environmental non‑governmental organisations (NGOs). According to the definition of the European com mission, Living Labs are open innovation environments in real‑life settings, in which user‑driven innovation is fully integrated within the co‑creation process of new services, products and societal infrastructuresŽ. Based on this definition and consider ing, in our case, citizens as one of the end‑users of the IT system, we argue that such an approach will empower their role in local environmental governance. This article presents the method and techniques that will be used in order to set up such a Livi ng Lab. More precisely, we focus here on the first step of this method: defining the components that will support the management of a Living Lab relying on an IT system. This step consists in the identification of the Living Lab stakeholders (citizen, in dustry, public authorities, NGOs, etc.), including their characteristics, fears, expectations, involvement and engagement regarding the Living Lab. To do this, 2 main approaches are being combined: A Living Lab approach that aims to involve citizens in l ocal Environmental Governance (LEG) design. Use of Human‑Centred Design (HCD), to combine IT developments and LL needs, for example Personas methodology and usability test. A Living Lab relies mainly on stakeholders involvement in order to build trus t and establish a common goal. In this sense, sociologists approaches ((Akrich et al. 2006);) bring valuable information on how to mobilise different actors in order to innovate (Actor Network Theory). However, in the innovation process, these app roaches are only considering human actors and do not take into account any technological aspects. However, if Living Labs are relying on human actors interactions it should also take into account their interactions with the IT system it is based on. In t his case, Human‑Centred Design (HCD) being an approach that aims to make IT systems usable and useful by focusing on the users, their needs and requirements, is to be considered as complementary to the sociologists approaches. This article, based on the work performed in the FP7 European project OMNISCIENTIS, presents the theoretical context in which this study takes place as well as the overall methodology.


Keywords: Keywords: citizens involvement, living lab, environmental governance, human-centred design


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