Collaborative hub for urban development and participatory planning: The hub development in Estonia

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Insinööritieteiden korkeakoulu | Master's thesis
International Design Business Management
Degree programme
Master’s Degree Programme in International Design Business Management (IDBM)
With population growth, urban expansion, and rising migration to cities, urban planning has become a multi-dimension subject with underlying complexities. Therefore, society needs to get together and collaborate to tackle the challenges and provide solutions for smart, sustainable, and livable urban development. This thesis is part of the GreenTwins project - a collaborative work between Estonia and Finland under the FinEst Twins Smart City Center of Excellence to develop a blue-green infrastructure with digital technology to support urban planning and decision-making. The study focuses on the initial phase of developing the Hub - a technology-embedded physical meeting space located in Estonia to support collaboration and participation among citizens, planners, and stakeholders in urban planning. This thesis aims to discover (1) The roles and importance of physical space and technology in supporting participatory planning. (2) The elements that should be considered in designing the space. The study was conducted in two parts (1) Case benchmarking - to find the significant attributes of other hub-liked spaces. (2) Workshop and interviews with planners, experts, and municipality authorities from Finland and Estonia as potential users - to validate the concept and get insights on user needs and expectations towards The Hub. Most users perceive the concept positively and emphasize the importance of having a physical gathering space with supporting technology for visualization. It is recognized as a valuable means for better communication, collaboration, and public participation in urban planning. It can also help building mutual understanding, consensus, and a connection between public sectors and citizens. Data visualizing, planning simulation, public display, and information exchange are considered the most important elements. Visualization tools are necessary, and the idea of having a hybrid hub was raised and is widely approved. Collaboration with public sectors, corporates, and universities is mentioned for the operation and maintenance of the Hub.
Kyttä, Marketta
Thesis advisor
Staffans, Aija
participatory planning, urban planning, collaborative space, urban development, collaborative planning
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