Community21 is a network and planning toolbox for 21st century communities and neighbourhoods.

A Nominet Trust and Gulkbenkian Foundation funded project developed in collaboration by The University of Brighton and Action in Rural Sussex.

I helped work on the 'Digital Citizenship' part of the project whereby we developed tools to encourage the particpation of young people in having a voice in their community planning and neighbourhood development.

The tools were collaboratively designed (co-designed) by young people with different age and abilitiy ranges in conjunction with digital design and youth engagament researchers.

Lewes Town map with 'Ideas and Issues' videos attached, using augmented reality technologies.

On the left is an interactive map of Lewes I made while at the 2013 summer workshop we held. The children used a variety of digital recording techniques to express  their ideas and issues about Lewes Town into a video format. Videos were then 'attached' to the map using augmented reality.

We found that being able to view peoples ideas and issues through an augmented video format - using a large scale physical map - was a powerful yet also fun way to engage people.

 

To the right are 6 exercises I helped design. The goal of each is to get the children to engage with the issues of their local community. One of the problems we initially faced we termed as 'Skate Park syndrome', whereby when the children were asked what they would like improve in their community, they would almost all ask for a skatepark. Hence the exercises were designed so as to prompt the children into thinking about the wider ranging issues surrounding the area they live in. We did this through a variety of techniques, both using prompt cards and also by geo-tagging areas they valued as either 'treasure' or 'trash'. Once issues were addressed we then encouraged them to start thinking about potential ideas to resolve these issues.

One important aspect of the project was to understand what technologies children use and how they may use them to effectively communicate their ideas to create change. We did this by getting them to fill in a 'Technology Diary' over the course of a week. Once we collated together this information we used the 'Tools' print out to help them map out how they could use these technologies to get their ideas/ issues heard by the most relevant audience.