The Living Lab
In the Vondel/Helmers neighbourhood in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 93% of the residents are satisfied to very satisfied with their living situation. If residents have to move, two-thirds wish to remain in the neighbourhood, even if they become more vulnerable or develop dementia. The local neighbourhood-based citizen collectives Stadsdorpen want to contribute to this. They focus on community reliance (i.e., neighbourhood), so that people can ‘keep participating’ for as long as possible.
Social relationships and interactions in the neighbourhood play a role in this effort. This stimulates the community reliance of neighbourhood residents, and in particular of people with early-stage dementia. Artificial intelligence artworks are rich in interaction and foster social relationships. In practice, however, not all neighbourhood residents are equally heard in the design of these works. That should be improved. In the project “It takes a village to grow old,” therefore examines how to work with residents to create a dementia-friendly neighbourhood. The outdoor space in the Stadsdorp Vondel/Helmers serves as a Living Lab for this effort.
The project has two main objectives: first, to explore the potential of extreme citizen science, where citizens lead the research with scientific guidance, to improve social interaction through AI-based art interventions in public spaces. And secondly, to study the design of these AI-based art interventions.
The project combines participatory action research with the Empathic Design Framework to study with residents how to adapt ‘fourth places,’ public spaces where people gather, to enhance social cohesion among diverse neighbourhood residents and stakeholders. To do so, residents were asked to keep a diary of their regular walking routes to identify intersections where multiple residents converge as potential locations for interactive art. Residents were also asked to take photos (photovoice) of places they find pleasant and unpleasant.
The outcome so far
Based on the initial results of the needs assessment we have adjusted our approach, and are now analysing the initial findings.