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Smarticipate: Guide for creating new apps

cover_how to create a new appSmarticipate is a research project revolved around the development of the smarticipate platform, a web-connected solution that allows citizens to interact in a new way with their local government. Based upon the idea that smartphones and web applications are widely used in our daily life, this project aims at opening up the process of creating new applications. So, this guide is a step-by-step manual explaining how the smarticipate platform can support the creation of new apps aiming to make cities more liveable, greener and smarter.

According to the  Smarticipate approach, an urban app consists of 3 elements; features, data and rules. By analysing a problem and its possible solution, what is called the urban story in this guide, the elements of an application can be specified.

A feature is a tool in the app that enables users to act. They facilitate online communication between different stakeholders and make it possible to reach out to a wider audience. The smarticipate platform provides you with a set of built-in features which you can activate for your app. For example, as show in the following figure, some features are sharing, liking and commenting on proposals via social media.

On behalf of the city of Hamburg, Nicole Schubbe stated that:

The city of Hamburg has huge amounts of open data accessible to citizens and entrepreneurs via our Transparency Portal. A great first step! However, our ambition is that more people use the data and transform it into usable applications which support the decision-making.
Available features in the smarticipate platform. Source: current guide.

Table of Contents

The guide is structured as follows:

  1. Why make an app?
  2. What’s your urban story?
  3. The basics to develop your app
  4. Organise a Smartathon
  5. Are you ready for it?
  6. Put your app together
  7. Test and edit your app
  8. The official launch
  9. Manage your app
  10. Ten tips to make your app a success

Smarticipate prototypes

In the smarticipate platform, there are also some prototype applications that could be easily adapted to other cities. These applications include:

  • Plant a Tree App: This prototype allows citizen to make their own proposals for planting new trees and provides automatic feedback on its suitability. It will be able to provide additional information, like estimated CO2 reduction and cost calculation.
  • Urban Gardening App: The Urban Gardening App engages citizens
    and community groups to identify where new urban gardens should be established in their neighbourhood. The immediate feedback allows
    users to check if a parcel is available for urban gardening and if there is a water source in close proximity.
  • 3D Planning App: This prototype allows citizens citizens to view a proposal for a new building in 2D / 3D. So they can better understand the impact it will have from different views and the shadow it will cast. Residents can comment on the proposed ideas and share what they have seen via social media.
The ‘˜How to create a new app’ manual for opening up the smart city is made possible by all smarticipate partners: Fraunhofer IGD, University of the West of England, Austrian Institute of Technology, GeoVille Informationssysteme und Datenverarbeitung GmbH, ICLEI, WeLoveTheCity BV, Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg, Roma Capitale, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and Wetransform GmbH