“People Need to Feel That They are in Dialogue”

In what ways can local governance become more accountable in ensuring transparent decision-making?

Kyle worked for many years as a postman. His knowledge of neighbourhoods and communities made him the perfect candidate for the Data-Collector role at the Collective Community. After all, it is almost the same job except this time it is about collecting! Kyle likes to say he understands what creates a sense of community and trust.

Communities are often engaged and consulted but are not always kept in the loop. The Light Data Collection Device ritualises the process of feedback. Kyle, the Data Collector is accountable in ensuring the community is informed on how their voices have influenced change. The Light Data Collection Device primarily allows recording individual needs and inputs for accessibility. In turn, entry points for discussions can be adapted.

While data is being collected, citizens can see a live digital landscape of the community voice. And once collected, citizens are also informed of actions being taken in response to the data collected. If transparency of information is ensured through appropriate feedback loops, ecosystems of trust can be strengthened. This also recognises who doesn’t want to be involved in ongoing community conversation which ensures we don’t pressurise citizens that don’t want to be involved.

A digital device for collecting data from citizens engaged in Living Room Activism.

Design Opportunities

  • Direct and indirect networks
  • Spontaneous Encounters
  • Informal Centres for Culture
  • Trust through Vunerability

Artefact in Action

Who does this primarily exist to benefit:

All citizens participating in living room activism and elected representatives by informing decision-making.

Aspects to consider:

Accountability relies on the Data Collector to successfully report the voices of citizens back to local representatives and communities themselves. Feedback loops outside a digital framework need to be enabled and supported by providing offline opportunities to be informed. Incorrectly representing the community and failing feedback systems can result in distrust and disillusion of citizens towards public initiatives. To respect and ensure that those who do not wish to be involved are not pressured, how can a distinction be made between someone who deliberately does not want to be involved, someone that is not aware, and someone that is putting a light off as a message?

Research Evidence