At Planet Smart City, we strive to address the needs of residents in the development of our neighbourhoods by actively involving them in their own communities. To achieve our goal of creating sustainable, socially inclusive and technologically connected smart projects, we have adopted a co-design process. 

An innovative approach that actively engages stakeholders, co-design allows participants to exchange views, explore ideas and come up with solutions that meet local needs. Throughout the design development process – from identifying requirements and project guidelines, to generating ideas and creating a concept, product or service – residents take part in workshops held by our Community Managers, who are key facilitators within the community.

Co-designing digital community notice boards 

In Quartiere Giardino and Mirafiori Sud in Italy, our Community Managers are supporting residents in the co-design process of a digital community notice board for implementation in our smart neighbourhoods. We organised two workshops between 23rd November and 2nd December, where 17 residents from two different regions, Piedmont and Lombardy, came together. 

Through a shared digital tool, participants exchanged questions, ideas and interpretations to collaboratively define how a notice board could meet community needs. Functionalities and features that would be practical and useful for everyone were discussed, and the sessions created a stimulating atmosphere between the two communities. 

Facilitating dialogue between residents

Through our workshops, residents expressed a desire to get to know their neighbours and build relationships. We identified opportunities for socialising as a fundamental element for activating a path of trust between neighbours and meeting the needs of local people. 

We also observed a willingness to replace traditional meeting places, such as squares or courtyards, with digital social tools – provided they are simple, immediate, intuitive, fun and discreet. Thanks to our skilled Community Managers, we sped up the discovery process and quickly confirmed or denied the feasibility of ideas.

Imma Di Santo, Community Manager of Mirafiori Sud, says: “It is important to build innovation processes starting from communities, listening to their points of view, and activating collective and connective intelligence in this way. There are no smart solutions without smart communities.”

The co-design process for implementing digital community notice boards is currently in place in Italy and we plan to roll out the methodology to projects in other countries in future.