Active Enabler and Passive Consumer in a “smartified” environment
Total Hours: 20 hours
Faculty: Kathrin DiPaola, Julius StreifenederSophie Stigliano

Credit: Hyper Reality, Keiichi Matsuda

A smart city cannot be built smart (historically or on the future) until and unless citizens participate in the transformation. Its success is defined by the acceptance and co-creation by its citizens as the core aim of the smart city is to build a city which is ultimately for its people. Active citizens do not want the government, urban planning staff or emerging technologies to provide standard solutions for everything. They prefer a tailor-made approach and authorities (political and industrial) that think along with them and at the same time allows for switching between active involvement and passive consumption. Thus, creating and improving a smart city calls for a new way of relating to each other and working together – a so-called “do-ocracy”, where choice, sustainability, environmental and city friendly infrastructures and services play a fundamental role in the democratic decision-making process.
The focus of this course is to get a deep understanding of the shifting relationship between citizen and city under the influence and emergence of new technologies in infrastructure (i.e. urban planning), services (i.e. mobility), social practices (communication), and political mechanisms (i.e. decision making processes). Students will be introduced to tools, working methods as well as cultural theories that allow for a differentiated approach to meet the needs of current and future planning processes.


Kathrin DiPaola looks back at an impressive record of academic and industry standing and has worked for stellar institutions and companies in Europe and the U.S. She received a PhD from the University of Maryland with a dissertation on postcolonial literature in the South Pacific and a Master’s Degree from Arizona State University on Kafka’s fragment Amerika. Until 2010, she held appointments as Assistant Professor and was the youngest and first female Director of Deutsches Haus at New York University. In 2012, she left academia to pursue a career in mobility consulting, where she was responsible for the intersection between products/technologies in social and cultural processes. Clients included OEMs, city governments, suppliers, urban planners etc.
Last October, she joined Business Sweden in Berlin and took on an assignment as Senior Investment Advisor, helping German companies in the mobility sector grow in Sweden.


Sophie Stigliano is Director at Urban Standards since its founding. She studied Architecture in Munich and works in the field of urban mobility since 2008. Sophie worked among others as Exhibitions Director at the Center for Architecture in New York, as Head of Consult at Stylepark AG and for the UIA World Architecture Congress.


Julius Streifeneder is an expert on urban mobility and sustainable architecture with 6 years of strategy and design consulting experience as well as 12 years of planning experience. He has worked for Foster and Partners, Make Architects and Studio Fuksas and was part of the design and execution of large scale office, retail and education projects in Europe and the US. He has also worked with corporations, municipalities and the automotive industry on strategy, concept and product development in the field of urban mobility. He hold an M.Sc. in Climate Sensitive and Sustainable Design, a specialized postgraduate degree with a focus on energy efficient design and innovative building services. He is a sustainability expert with extensive knowledge on green building certification criteria.


Course Structure

  • Fri 5 April 2019 / h. 15.00 – 17.00: Kathrin DiPaola, Sophie Stigliano and Julius Streifeneder/ [Welcome, Introduction, Course Overview, Topic]
  • Wed 10 Apr 2019 / h. 14.00 – 16.00: Julius Streifeneder /  [What and who is at stake – transitions from traditional to smart urban planning]
  • Thu 25 Apr 2019 / h. 15.00 – 17.00: Sophie Stigliano /  [Partici(tizen)pation – project examples and case studies]
  • Fri 26 Apr 2019 / h. 15.00 – 17.00: Kathrin DiPaola /  [“Yes is more”- extreme citizens require extreme cities]
  • Thu 2 May 2019 / h. 15.00 – 17.00: Kathrin DiPaola, Julius Streifeneder /  [Informal Mapping and Methods of Observation]
  • Fri 3 May 2019 / h. 15.00 – 17.00: Kathrin DiPaola, Julius Streifeneder /  [Project Set Up and start working]
  • Thu 16 May 2019 / h. 15.00 – 17.00: Kathrin DiPaola, Julius Streifeneder /  [Working Session with groups]
  • Fri 17 May 2019 / h. 15.00 – 17.00: Kathrin DiPaola, Julius Streifeneder /  [Working Session with groups] + Scheduled Skype Sessions with each group to fine tune ideas before final session
  • Fri 31 May 2019 / h. 15.00 – 18.00: Kathrin DiPaola, Sophie Stigliano, Julius Streifeneder/  [Final presentations]

No special course requirements

You will be able to select from 2 different scenarios of smart city planning for smart citizens. Each scenario will require you to identify different stakeholders, challenges and ultimately ask you to propose a working process for a participative intervention and solution.
The main goal is to combine top-down planning principles, necessary to build the backbone of cities with the bottom-up and informal dynamic and intelligence of people, inhabitants, citizens as a means to conceptualize user centered design solutions and interventions (strategic vs. tactical).
Basically, create an understanding of the citizen:

  • As consumer/customer
  • As entrepreneur (informal to formal)
  • With basic needs (access to clean water, air, food…)
  • As hedonist (comfort, choice, luxury)
  • As social being (seeking status and a visible role in society)
  • As interest group (stakeholder)
  • As a cultural product (following cultural norms, world views and values)
  • As a hacker (finding ways to go “around” given structures)
  • As a player (gamification)
  • As a patient (who expects to be at the center of attention)
  • As a robot (or robotic assistant)
  • As a fake citizen (avatars and digital products)
  • As a visionary

and use this knowledge to re-design, disturb, modify, etc. one or more features of the current planning process of your chosen scenario.

You are asked to present a concept at the end of the course (30 minutes) – the choice of format is free; the following formats are just suggestions, not mandatory requirements!

  • Hand drawn sketches
  • Diagrams, visualizations and infographics
  • Dynamic/interactive visualizations
  • Pics, Videos, interviews
  • Web or mobile app
  • Interactive neighborhood participation concept
  • Essay
  • Toolbox/ Catalogue with modular design components

Students are requested to submit all the material on the IAAC Gdrive and a Blog post need to be curated on for each project (see “IAAC | Publication Guidelines”) within a maximum of 1 week after the end of the Seminar.

Grading System

  • 0 – 4.9 Fail
  • 5.0 -6.9 Pass
  • 7.0 – 8.9 Good
  • 9.0 – 10 Excellent/Distinction

On this basis, students will be evaluated on several aspects such as:

  • Attendance 15 %
  • Presentations/Participation 20%
  • Blog Posts 20%
  • Results 45%