Creating room for citizen perspectives in ‘smart city’ Amsterdam through interactive theatre

A. Fraaije*, Marjoleine G. van der Meij, A.P.O.S. Vermeeren, Frank Kupper, Jacqueline E.W. Broerse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The ‘smart city’ vision is popular, but it lacks citizen perspectives. The aim of this study was to gain insight into whether and how art-based citizen engagement can create more room for citizen perspectives in smart cities by developing and testing an art-based citizen engagement project in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. To that end, a combination of interactive theatre, interaction design and social research methods was used to bring together diverse publics and innovation professionals for joint exploration of increased dataveillance in cities. The events were studied through observations, and through interviews with participants and organisers. Data analysis was guided by the outcomes, processes and challenges of the responsible innovation dimensions: inclusion, reflexivity, anticipation
and responsiveness (Stilgoe et al., 2013). The most important achievements of art-based citizen engagement were: engaging people who would not have engaged with the topic otherwise, encouraging participants to question common phrases and assumptions, exploring future social implications of technologies, and staging meaningful interactions between citizens and professionals. The most significant challenge was to involve citizens in a way that could influence innovation trajectories.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalResearch for All
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2023




  • public participation
  • public engagement
  • inclusion
  • Responsible research and innovation (RRI)
  • impact
  • urban technologies
  • interaction design
  • art
  • theatre
  • science communication


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