Delta: An App Supporting Children and Youth's Participation in Urban Planning
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Urban areas are constantly being redeveloped and expanded. In these processes it is the right of all citizens to have their opinions heard, but children and youth are not being sufficiently included. This remains a challenge, despite their rights, and acknowledgment that their opinions are valuable. One of the problems is that conventional methods used to facilitate public participation do not fit the need of children and youth. The objective of this research is to investigate how smartphones can be used to create new and innovative methods for children and youth to participate in urban planning, focusing on location-based participation and game elements. The research has been grounded in design science, which is driven by creating innovative IT-artifacts that solve real-world problems. The design cycle of design science comprise the main part of the work, and was done in three iterations, with an evaluation at the end of each iteration. The first iteration defined the concept and a low-fidelity prototype that was evaluated with expert interviews. In the second iteration a functional prototype was implemented and evaluated with a usability test. The third iteration refined the prototype, and ended with a field test. The result was an app that lets the user take location-based surveys, post suggestions, discuss suggestions with other users, and get points and achievements while using the app. Evaluations suggest that the concept is promising, and that there is a need for such a product. Location-based surveys can help children and youth gain new perspectives and provide better feedback, while the game elements can make the participation more engaging. The work has also uncovered many possibilities for how the concept can be extended in the future.