Together with the eastern district of the Amsterdam municipality, a pilot study was constructed and a first test was conducted in an Amsterdam neighborhood called the Dapperbuurt (8400 residents). A mobile phone application was created with as its main purpose to enable citizens to give input on places of pride and places in need of attention in their neighborhood. The application had various functionalities. First of all, the participants were able to see the current plans from the municipality regarding the further development of public space in the coming years. Secondly, participants could plot places of pride or those in need of attention on the map. It was possible to attach a photo, location and description about that place. After uploading, all other users could also see the place that was just added directly on the map. Finally, users were able to either like or dislike places added by others. To make the threshold for participation as low as possible, users could decide to join anonymously, or could choose to enter their email address if they would like to get in contact with the municipality. The mobile application was published on both Android and iOS.
In the case study, the primary focus was on the development of public infrastructure. The district gets a certain budget for improving the neighborhood’s infrastructure, which it currently prioritizes on the basis of existing ‘metadata,’ such as the age of the current infrastructure. With the case study the municipality wanted to involve citizens in this prioritization by gathering their input and thoughts on what should be improved in their neighborhood’s infrastructure. To gather this input, the mobile application aided in finding out: 1) which places citizens already like in the neighborhood 2) which places require attention and 3) if citizens may have ideas and suggestions on how to improve the infrastructure. The mobile application was deployed and tested during a two-week period from the 27th of September to the 10th of October 2016. A total of 72 users installed the application. However, only very few people added data. Only 14 places were added, of which 5 were tagged as place of pride and 9 as place of attention. While not many places were added, the municipality found the quality of the data that was added high, as they were highly informative and engaged with. Users attached clear descriptions and photos for all locations which were valuable for the municipality. In total 33 likes and 5 dislikes were added to these places.