Situated engagement – participatory planning with mobile phones

PhD defence, Tuesday 7 May 2013. Matthias Korn.

2013.05.07 | Nanna Maria Elgaard Pedersen

Matthias Korn

Screenshots of the Mening@Park smartphone app. Mening@Park enables people to discuss the development of the Mols Bjerge National Park while out in the park during its public hearing phase. People can use the app to explore topics in the park and on a map, add topics of their own, and join in discussions via comments or photos.

Mobile phones and other situated technologies offer new possibilities for engaging citizens in urban planning activities while they are otherwise occupied with day-to-day routines.

In his PhD studies, Matthias Korn looked at ways of supporting people taking part in planning activities while they are out and about and close to the sites being discussed. Experience from a number of software and hardware prototypes tested in fieldwork led him to argue that mobile technologies afford better integration of civic engagement activities into everyday lives by providing opportunities to participate when such topics are most relevant and most at hand.

Matthias Korn sought to promote the concept of ‘situated engagement’, i.e. to support civic engagement activities in those spatial contexts that are at stake in urban planning. Situated engagement complements existing forms of engagement such as polls, town hall meetings or consensus conferences, because it connects discussions with the places that are personally meaningful and relevant in our daily lives.

The PhD degree was completed at the Participatory Information Technology Centre (PIT), Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University.

Time: Tuesday 7 May 2013 at 13.00
Place: Nygaard Building, building 5335, room 184, Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University
Title of dissertation: Situating Engagement: Ubiquitous Infrastructures for In-Situ Civic Engagement
Contact information: Matthias Korn,, +45 8715 6157
Members of the assessment committee:
Associate Professor Marcus Foth, Urban Informatics Research Lab, Queensland University of Technology, Australia
Associate Professor Jesper Kjeldskov, Department of Computer Science, Aalborg University
Associate Professor Christian Storm Pedersen (chair), Bioinformatics Research Centre (BiRC), Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University
Main supervisor:
Professor Susanne Bødker, Department of Computer Science, Aarhus University
Language: The dissertation will be defended in English

The defence is public.
The dissertation is available for reading at the Graduate School of Science and Technology/GSST, Ny Munkegade 120, building 1521, room 112, 8000 Aarhus C.

PhD defence
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Revised 17.05.2018