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Measuring the Impact of Future Visions through Card Sorting: From User Experience to Participatory Planning (a Pilot Study)

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Abstract

During the 20th century, several top-down urban visions were proposed by distinct stakeholders interested in urban processes, and some of those visions were actually planned, built, and can be experienced today as best practice examples of urban planning around the world. While some of those topdown visions for cities allowed global innovations in such fields as politics, economy, and urban planning, they also triggered a reaction of bottom-up approaches that promoted local and neighbourhood engagement, which can be traced until today. Furthermore, new generations of researchers and practitioners continue to advance the field of urban planning, in order to determine its present and future impact. How can we measure the impact of future urban visions? Which evaluation methods, from such fields as cognitive sciences and human computer interaction, could advance participatory planning processes for public spaces in local contexts? In this paper, we describe a pilot study that aims to experiment evaluation methods of public participation for future urban visions. We present methods and results of this study with postgraduate students from distinct disciplinary backgrounds at Northumbria University (UK), and we discuss further methods to measure the impact of future visions. Finally, we sketch further work supporting creativity within participation processes for tomorrow’s cities.