Johannes Schmidtner, Design
Antonios Hazim, Computer Science
Committed citizens are increasingly demanding participation in local projects. The involvement of urban society is also an important concern for the Berlin Senate. But implementation is not always easy: the bureaucratic effort is too high and usually only a few voices are heard. Residents also sometimes learn about projects in their direct surroundings far too late, often only after the planning phase has already been completed and they can no longer contribute their own opinions. Yet participation is a necessary component of successful democratic structures.
The two team members have tackled this observation and created DISCUS. As an autonomous mediator between the administration and the citizens, DISCUS appears in public space for a limited period of time in order to draw attention to a planned project of the city. Placed at the planning site by the administration, DISCUS takes on the task of informing citizens. In a low-threshold survey, citizens are invited to give their opinion on the specific project that is of public interest. By turning the wheel, it is possible to choose between three answers. The most important information about the project, as well as counter-arguments, can then be printed out directly on the device and taken home. This opportunity for participation strengthens the citizens‘ identification with the project and their city. DISCUS invites people to express, argue or reconsider their own opinions, which improves self-esteem and strengthens democracy.