Green.citizen@ICT

A platform for engaging citizens in the identification of patterns and the co-creation of smart services.

The green.city@ICT is an ongoing project that Prof. Seffah started 10 years ago at the University of Concordia with members of the human-centric software engineering group. The main objective that still accurate today is to leverage interaction technology for making users and citizens aware about their impacts on the environment while looking for avenues or engaging them in the design of innovative services to supporting environmental and sustainability development. More than 300 students from courses have been developed over years more than 50 services.

The original source of motivation is what is being called these days the E-Waste Hell (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd_ZttK3PuM).  This video shows how the west’s ‘recycled’ electronic gears ending up in a toxic dump in Ghana? Reducing the waste of natural resources and engaging citizens, consumers as well as all stakeholders in the co-creation of solutions and services to developing the awareness of citizens and the community consciousness. One way of achieving this is to educate citizen with the following values in mind:

  • Respect natural resources and the environment
  • Rethink environmental issues, concepts and solutions with a human mind
  • Reduce the amount of natural resources we consume and waste
  • Reusematerials and resources before recycling or discarding
  • Recycle all materials that have available on the markets

The first prototype that has been developed aimed to increase the awareness of the Citizen of the City of Brossard, Quebec Canada, regarding the way of collecting and recycling waste (plastic, glasses, metal, paper and green). The citizen were engaged in game with the goal to identify patterns of recycling. Students from the courses on human computer interaction (Master of Software Engineering) and user interface design (bachelor of computer science and software engineering) developed the Web-based application. Following this success, Prof. Seffah has presented this approach in many courses that he has been lecturing at various University including Rostock University (Germany), Ecole Centrale de Lyon and Marseille (France), University Polytechnic Madrid (Spain), University of Valenciennes (France), University Technologies de Troyes (France). While sabbatizing in 2012 in Jordan, Prof. Seffah and students from the master program of software engineering at Hashemite University have developed also a series of services for supporting the waste of water which is a critical natural in the entire Middle East.

With a grant from the Canadian Agency for International Development, ACDI), professor seffah and a team of students from various Jordanian University initiated the project  green.Amman@IT is a community project that combines serious games, citizen and design science concepts into a social media platform to collecting data from citizens regarding their style of life, mainly their experiences in consuming natural resources such as water, electricity and gasoline, three critical resources in Jordan. While supporting fun and competition among citizens, the social serious game approach developed in this project aims to support long life learning and citizen awareness about the consequences of our daily actions on the environment. Citizens are encouraged to decrease their consumption of natural resources. If they are successful, they earn credits and other awards, which increase their motivation, active engagement and finally to be win the price “green citizen of Amman city”. The play, discover, connect, share and innovate metaphor we are experimenting via the social gaming approach has two fundamental objectives: (1) facilitating the immersion of strategies and patterns to developing and managing efficiently natural resources and (2) involving citizen as a key designer of sustainable development regulations that are derived from citizen daily experiences (solutions by citizens, with citizens and for citizens).

After this experiment and as part of his teaching at LUT, especially in the courses (Software as Service and User Research and Design), master of software engineering, students has developed various services addressing the following objectives:

  • Uunderstanding the experiences of the different groups of stakeholders engaged in data monitoring and service design, deployment and management including the diverse groups of citizens like disabled elderly people, single parent families, disadvantaged citizens or immigrants
  • Deploying and effectively using in four different urbanized communities in for countries, an innovative human-centric platform for citizen and stakeholders participation in the co-creation of innovative services to support local sustainability efforts
  • Investigating how the complicity of citizen observatories/science can be combined with visual data mining to discovering innovative sustainability patterns and services from big open public data and the data collected by citizens

Via user research, using the infrastructure of our CODER Lab, we the societal benefits of the various prototypes developed every year:

  • Creating a model for engaging actively citizens and stakeholders in the smart monitoring of sustainability data-centric services and the underlying value co-creation by design
  • Creating an ICT-based eco-system for fostering the active collaboration between the three human pillars of sustainability development: private stakeholders, citizens and public authorities
  • Reducing the administrative burden in sustainability data monitoring and the underlying service via more usability, responsiveness and transparency that matches reflecting the different needs of citizens and all stakeholders

The project outcome, some of the prototypes developed as well as the patterns presented has been featured in various conferences and in master and Ph.D. thesis. Prof. Seffah also presented the green.cityI@CT or green.citizen@ICT in his conferences where he has been invited as a keynote speaker including RoCHI-2016 (http://rochi2016.utcluj.ro/invited-talks), Ergo-IA2016 as well as at the Madeira Interactive Technology Institute (http://www.m-iti.org/node/4176).