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One of our missions here at DESIGNSCAPES is to showcase like-minded projects that aim at combining design and innovation in the urban context.

As we know, urban design and development don’t always merge smoothly. Examples like Stuttgart21 or Hamburg’s Olympics application have become well-known urban design disasters. Here, citizens weren’t properly involved, and their subsequent protests not only lead to stops of construction, but even social and political turmoil, eventually causing huge losses of money, time and trust.

That is why U_CODE has chosen to address this challenge by enabling multi-stakeholder digital participation on a massive level, and integrating local knowledge of citizens with professional expertise of planners, designers, and authorities. The comprehensive U_CODE process leads from early co-ideation to co-design and decision-making. The workflow can be adapted to the very context and ambition of the project, but still maintain a good quality of citizen engagement.

The U_CODE platform provides a digital toolkit, including three innovative co-design tools: 1) a Mobile Online Tool which all citizens can easily access; 2) Interactive Multi-Touch Tables to support hands-on collaboration in Focus Groups with expert planners; 3) a Virtual Reality Experience that enables non-professionals to express their ideas in 3D.

Already successfully tested in the lab, the U_CODE workflow and tools will see pilot applications in the near future with real-world projects across the EU – and thus not only prevent urban design disasters but ensure good citizen participation and engagement on a new level.

Final event: “A day with U_CODE”

The final event of the U_CODE project, “A day with U_CODE”, took place on July 22nd and 23rd, 2019 in the Deutsche Hygiene-Museum in Dresden. On both days, visitors were able to meet the team and experience the developed co-design tools. Professor of Computation in Architecture Peter Russell from TU Delft, a DESIGNSCAPES partner, gave an exciting keynote speech, envisioning the future of architecture and BIM (Building Information Modelling). For more information about the U_CODE platform and its digital toolkit on digital participation visit

[All pictures: U_CODE]