Using Lo-Fi Prototyping to Envision Conversational Agents in Public Settings

Quanjer, A.J., Jylhä, A., van Leeuwen, J.P. 2019. “Using Lo-Fi Prototyping to Envision Conversational Agents in Public Settings.” In: Proceedings of European Conference on the Impact of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Oxford, UK, Oct. 2019.


Speech interactions are often associated with virtual assistants and smart home devices, designed primarily for private contexts. A less developed domain is speech interfaces in public contexts. In a smart city development project, we explored the potential of distributed conversational speech interfaces in lampposts. Deploying a research-through-design method, we created a lo-fi prototype of the speech interface that test subjects could interact with during experiments in a lab setting. Our first exploratory prototype consisted of a loudspeaker that acted as the interface and preconceived dialogues designed to investigate the boundaries of desirable and acceptable experiences regarding issues such as privacy. Experiencing the interaction with this rudimentary prototype helped people envision potential use cases and reflect on privacy issues: the dialogues revealed subjective limits of what kind of (personal) information people were willing to share with the lamppost. They also elicited thoughts on possible consequences in the social context of citizens.

Designing an Intervention for Creating Awareness in Motorists about Vehicle Emission Consequences on Human Health

Jylhä, A., Harraou, I., Quanjer, A.J., van Leeuwen, J.P. 2019. “Designing an Intervention for Creating Awareness in Motorists about Vehicle Emission Consequences on Human Health.” In: Schnädelbach, H. and Kirk, D. (Eds.) People, Personal Data and the Built Environment. Springer Series in Adaptive Environments. Springer International Publishing.


Exhaust emissions from motorized vehicles are not only harmful to the environment but also to human health. However, motorists are not necessarily aware of the adverse health effects resulting from their emissions. In this work, we use the health aspect as a primary motivation factor in the design of an intervention targeted at reducing exhaust emissions. Based on research into the problem domain and the target group, we propose a design for a behavior-change intervention, consisting of an infrastructure of large public displays and a mobile application. In a design prototype, we incorporate two approaches, shaming and empowerment, designed to engage motorists with the intervention. An experimental evaluation of the prototype suggests that shaming can have a lot of potential in providing motivation for change, while empowerment is also needed inside the application for helping the drivers reduce their emissions by means of more efficient traveling. Based on the findings, we discuss the role of personal data in the intervention and outline possibilities for realizing the design as part of the built environment.


Effectiveness of Virtual Reality in Participatory Urban Planning

van Leeuwen, J.P., Hermans, K., Jylhä, A., Quanjer, A.J., Nijman, H. 2018. “Effectiveness of Virtual Reality in Participatory Urban Planning.” In: Proceedings of the Media Architecture Biennale, Beijing, China, Nov. 2018.


In urban planning, 3D modeling and virtual reality (VR) provide new means for involving citizens in the planning process. For municipal government, it is essential to know how effective these means are, to justify investments. In this study, we present a case of using VR in a municipal process of civic participation concerning the redesign of a public park. The process included co- design activities and involved citizens in decision-making through a ballot, using 3D-rendered versions of competing designs. In co- design, 3D-modeling tools were instrumental in empowering citizens to negotiate design decisions, to discuss the quality of designs with experts, and to collectively take decisions. This paper demonstrates that, in a ballot on competing designs with 1302 citizens, VR headsets proved to be equally effective compared to other display technologies in informing citizens during decision making. The results of an additional, controlled experiment indicate that VR headsets provide higher engagement and more vivid memories than viewing the designs on non-immersive displays.

By integrating research into a municipal process, we contribute evidence of cognitive and engagement effects of using 3D modeling and immersive VR technologies to empower citizens in participatory urban planning. The case described in the paper concerns a public park; a similar approach could be applied to the design of public installations including media architecture.

Using Virtual Reality to Increase Civic Participation in Designing Public Spaces

van Leeuwen, J.P., Hermans, K., Quanjer, A.J., Jylhä, A., Nijman, H. 2018. “Using Virtual Reality to Increase Civic Participation in Designing Public Spaces.” In: Proceedings of the European Conference on Digital Government, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, Oct. 2018.


Municipalities increasingly seek to include citizens in decision-making processes regarding local issues, such as urban planning. This paper presents a case study on using Virtual Reality (VR) in a process of civic participation in the redesign of a public park. The municipality included citizens in intensive co-design activities to create three designs for the park and engaged the neighbourhood community in co-decision, in the form of a ballot. Through the civic participatory process, we studied the effectiveness of using VR technology to engage the community in participating in the co-decision process. The three designs were presented using highly realistic 360 ̊ visualisations and the effects on engagement were compared between various devices: VR headsets, smartphones, tablets, and computers. Viewing the designs in 2D paper plans was also included in the comparison. The study included over 1300 respondents that participated in the ballot. A statistical analysis of the collected data shows that participants viewing the 360 ̊ rendered images with VR technology expressed a significantly higher engagement in the co-decision process than those using their computer at home or viewing 2D paper plans. The paper describes the complete participatory design process and the impact of the e-governance used on the target group as well as on the actors organizing the e-governance process. We discuss how the use of new technology and active presence of a voting-support team inspired citizens to participate in the co-creation process and how the investment in this procedure helped the local authorities to generate support for the plans and strengthen its relationship with the community. The use of realistic visualisations that can be easily assessed by citizens through user-friendly technology, enabled a large and diverse audience to participate. This resulted in greater visibility of municipal efforts to enhance the living environment of citizens and is therefore an important step in increased civic engagement in municipal policy-making and implementation.

Kunstmatige Intelligentie in de Publieke Ruimte – Projectrapportage

van Leeuwen, J.P., Quanjer, A.J., Jylhä, A., et al. 2018. Kunstmatige Intelligentie in de Publieke Ruimte – Projectrapportage. Den Haag: De Haagse Hogeschool, Okt. 2018.

Project report (in Dutch): Artificial Intelligence in the Public Space.


This document reports on the project “Artificial Intelligence in the Public Space.” The Hague University of Applied Sciences investigated, together with local creative entrepreneurs, the possibilities for applying AI and sensor technology in public spaces. The  municipality of The Hague has the intention to create a Smart City Infrastructure, consisting of “Smart City Hubs” – WiFi stations with plugin-sensor technology – in light poles in the public space.

This project deliberately took a citizen perspective in identify desirable solutions and opportunities for innovation. Two prototypes were created and evaluated, that demonstrated the potential and social value of Smart City technology. The project was co-financed with a KIEM-subsidy from Regieorgaan SIA and the partner organisations.

Civic Technology Research & Design – Jaarverslag 2016+2017 & Jaarplan 2018 UrbanUX


Using Behavior Data for Creating Awareness in Motorists about Emission Consequences

Jylhä, A., Harraou, I., Quanjer, A.J., van Leeuwen, J.P. 2017. “Using Behavior Data for Creating Awareness in Motorists about Emission Consequences.” In: Proceedings of the workshop on People, Personal Data and the Built Environment at DIS 2017. Edinburgh, June 10, 2017.


Personal data is increasingly used by cities to track the behavior of their inhabitants. While the data is often used to mainly provide information to the authorities, it can also be harnessed for providing information to the citizens in real-time. In an on-going research project on increasing the awareness of motorists w.r.t. the environmental consequences of their driving behavior, we make use of sensors, artificial intelligence, and real- time feedback to design an intervention. A key component for successful deployment of the system is data related to the personal driving behavior of individual motorists. Through this outset, we identify challenges and research questions that relate to the use of personal data in systems, which are designed to increase the quality of life of the inhabitants of the built environment.


Urban Experiences & Smart Citizens Social, Design in the City