News Item on Research by, rather than on Residents

Towards citizens' consultancies

On October 21st 2023 the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant published a 4 page article under the title: "Residents in this Rotterdam district have now been investigated enough: 'They think they can just come here and extract data.’" Journalist Margriet Oostveen spent 2 days at the Afrikaanderwijk Coöperatie in Rotterdam, discussing how their neighbourhood gets increasingly crowded with researchers, designers and policy makers trying to get in contact with neighbours in order to inform, justify or co-create théir policies and plans.

In the article Els explains our experiences and philosophy. In the past couple of years, our close collaboration with the Afrikaanderwijk Coöperatie made us reflect on our positions as researchers-designers and it is partly because of this that we founded Design & Publics - an organization that does research mostly with stakeholders. In our current Public Data Donation project, for example, inhabitants of the neighbourhood (many of whom are on the beautiful pictures in the article):

  • formulate research questions themselves;
  • determine data collection strategies themselves, with the help of experts;
  • collect data themselves;
  • visualize and analyze data with the help of experts;
  • explore how to govern the data collectively;
  • and investigate what value can be generated from this data for théir concerns, purposes and objectives.

Besides that, all are provided with a compensation for their work, just as researchers, designers and policy makers would. In the near future Design & Publics ia planning to set up more initiatives in which neighbours become researchers and consultants themselves.