On the 18th of June, SUGAR has held its consortium meeting with literature review presentations from the Cyprus University of Technology on the use of Augmented Reality for Public Participation and Urban Governance and from the University of Cyprus on Public Participation practice through creating a systematic taxonomy of methods and approaches. This comprehensive overview of the literature will be key in taking the project forward and proposing a Sustainable Urban Governance through Augmented Reality framework to be implemented in Cyprus.
The consortium has also facilitated a meeting with members of the public – what we have called Living Lab. Through using a very contentious and contemporary case study on the failure of including the public in the decision making of a Cypriot city as a conversation starter, we have expanded on themes on cultivating trust and transparency between state and public as well as how to bridge the (mis)information gap and domain-specific knowledge deficiency. The discussions with the public, a key stakeholder in the project, will guide us in the stages that are to follow. Keeping the users and stakeholders at the centre of the design and creation methods is key in a successful approach.
Finally, on the same day, we have held our first Advisory Committee meeting. The Advisory Committee consists of key stakeholders, with in-depth knowledge of the Cypriot planning system and its bureaucratic processes. A lively discussion between the stakeholders revolved around the capabilities and dangers of public participation as it should be viewed positively but also critically. Examples brought to the table by stakeholders and their insights complemented the information we have received from the public and have offered a different point of view to the consortium that will reconcile the multiple complex parameters that formulate the planning system in Cyprus. Case studies that were proposed by municipal authorities in order to facilitate the implementation of the project were presented and through the discussion that ensued, while many possible projects have merits, a specific opportunity seemed stronger as it is in a manageable scale given the limited time and resources of SUGAR but also has the capability of actually instigating change and influencing the decision-making process.
We look forward in the next few months as we take all this information and knowledge to design a response and an approach to Sustainable Urban Governance for Cyprus utilising the capabilities of Augmented Reality. Next stop is Harvard University in July.