Past Meetup

Smart Citizens Talk: Making Sense of the Smart City

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In this edition of the Smart Citizen Talks (a collaboration by Waag Society & Pakhuis de Zwijger), we’ll explore participatory sensing. How do we collectively measure and make sense of our environment? How do we stay in tune with the ever emerging smart city? How do we make sense of a city that likes to make sense of us instead?

During the Smart Citizen Talks we’ll explore a wide range of bottom up and grassroots initiatives, initiated by people that care about their environment: The human approach to improving the cities living conditions. Small actions that can create a big impact.


20:00 welcome and introduction Making Sense by Frank Kresin

20:10 Tomas Diez – Developing Smart Citizen: from Tech to Impact

20:25 Mara Balestrini – Implementing & extending Smart Citizen

20:35 Q&A

20:40 Mel woods – Campaigning: from Experiments to Community Action

21:50 Q&A

21:05 Christian Nold - Extreme Citizen Science – Lessons from Heathrow

21:15 Q&A

21:20 Alexandre Pólvora – New Maker Cultures and the European Policy Context

21:30 Q&A

21:35 Discussion with all speakers

21:50 Rounding off & Conclusion

22:00 Drinks

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Information about the Speakers

Christian Nold, who has been working on a PhD at the Extreme Citizen Science group at UCL, where he has carried out a design ethnography of participatory sensing. Christian Nold is well known as artist, designer and educator, working to develop new participatory models for communal representation.

Mel Woods, practice led researcher at DJCAD VisualMel Woods1Research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts, developed interfaces and explored interaction between people to foster creativity and affect. Throughout her academic career she has published nationally and internationally, created digital artefacts and exhibits.

Mara Balestrini, is a Human Computer Interaction (HCI) expert and technology strategist. She’s Research Director at Ideas for Change and a Computer Science PhD candidate at UCL. In collaboration with KWMC and Bristol City Council she recently developed “The Bristol approach (”, a commons-based framework for citizen sensing.

Tomas Diez, is a Venezuela born Urbanist specialized in Thomas Diez1digital fabrication and its implications on the future cities models. He currently leads the project Fab Lab at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) and coordinates Fab Academy program offered by the worldwide network of Fab Labs.

Alexandre Pólvora is a connector of people, things and information. Policy Analyst at the JRC / Joint Research Centre, European Commission, in Brussels.

Introduction & Moderation: Frank Kresin. Frank is Research Director at Waag Society, institute for Arts, Science and Technology, based in Amsterdam.

Mel Woods, Mara Balestrini, Tomas Diez and Alexandre Pólvora collaborate in the project Making Sense, a research project with focus on the question how open source software, open source hardware, digital maker practices and open design can be used by local communities to make sense of their environments. It will develop a Making Sense Toolkit based on the Smart Citizen platform for bottom up citizen science, developed at Fablab Barcelona. The toolkit will be developed and tested in nine pilots in Amsterdam, Barcelona and Pristina.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme "CAPS - Collective Aware Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation" under grant agreement no. [masked]