Supporting public participation through interactive

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


Citizen participation as a key priority of open cities, gives citizens the chance to influence public decision-making. Effectively engaging broader types of citizens into high participation levels has long been an issue due to various situational and technical constrains. Traditional public participation technologies (e.g. public hearing) usually are blame for low accessibility by the general public. The development of Information Communication Technology brings new methods to engage a broader spectrum of citizens in deeper participation level during urban planning processes. Interactive public displays as a public communication medium, hold some key advantages in comparison to other media. Compared to personal devices, public displays make public spaces into sociable places, where social communication and interaction can be enriched without intentionally or unintentionally excluding some groups’ opinions. Public displays can increase the visibility of public events while it is more flexible and up-to-date regarding showing information. Besides, they can also foster a collective awareness and support group behavioral changes. Moreover, due to the public nature of public displays, they provide broad accessibility to different groups of citizens. Public displays have a great potential in bringing new opportunities to facilitate public participation in an urban planning process. In the light of previous work on public displays, the research goal is to investigate a relatively new form of citizen participation known as Public Display Participation. This participation form refers to the use of public displays for citizen participation in the context of urban planning. The main research question of the thesis is how public displays can be used for facilitating citizen consultation in an urban planning process. First, a systematic literature review is done to get an understanding of the current achievements and gaps of research on public displays for public participation. Second, an elicitation study has been conducted to design end user centered interactions with public displays for citizens’ consulting activities. Finally, we run a usability to evaluate the usability of public displays for citizen consultation and their user experience. The main contributions of this thesis can be summarized as: (1) the identification of key challenges and opportunities for future research in using public displays for public participation in urban contexts; (2) two sets of user-defined gestures for two sets of user-defined phone gestures and hand gestures for performing eleven consulting activities, which are about examining the urban planning designs and giving feedback related to design alternatives, are also identified. (3) a new approach for using public displays for voting and commenting in urban planning, and a multi-level evaluation of a prototypical system implementing the proposed approach. Designers and researchers can use the contributions of this thesis, to create interactive public displays for supporting higher public participat i.e. citizen collaboration and empowerment.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • NOVA Information Management School (NOVA IMS)
  • University of Münster
  • Universidad Jaume I
  • Kray, Christian, Supervisor, External person
  • Painho, Marco, Supervisor
  • Belmonte, Oscar, Supervisor, External person
Award date15 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2018


  • Open cities
  • General public
  • Information communication technology


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