24 Hour Citizen Hackathon

7 April - 8 April

What is the 24 Hour Citizen Hackathon?

During 24 hours, 4 teams with a total of 8 members such as designers, architects, researchers, academics, urban planners, students, social entrepreneurs, city council representatives and business representatives will work together with a fellow citizen and design partner (lead user) to come up with inclusive solutions in response to the Hackathon brief. Based on the insights gained from their lead user and field exploration in Brussels, the teams will identify and describe the problems and barriers to address. Through ideation and conceptualisation, the teams will present and communicate their final solutions in response to the brief. There will be one winning team for best solution and one for best presentation to be voted by the audience at the event.

What is the purpose of the Hackathon?

The purpose of the Hackathon is knowledge transfer and experiencing an inclusive design process and how to involve people in practice. This is done by raising awareness, build empathy and by challenging practitioners of all disciplines creatively.  The Hackathon will help the participants to build competence and to acquire new forms of expertise within the field of Inclusive Design and Participatory Urbanism.

Why participate?

  • Unique opportunity for knowledge transfer between participants
  • Gain new skills in inclusive design and Participatory Urbanism
  • Be part of a best practice demonstration project developed in an extremely short timeframe
  • An invaluable opportunity to show what you and your selected team are made of
  • Enables new talent to be spotted and developed by the business
  • Creative stimulus for mid-career practitioners
  • Become part of an international network and draw on the expertise of the Participatory Urbanism and The People friendly cities network

This is a unique opportunity to gather designers, architects, researchers, academics, urban planners, students, social entrepreneurs and business who have not worked together before, and to establish new long-lasting networks and connections with like-minded individuals.


What is a lead user?

To ensure an inclusive and diverse perspective when developing people friendly and mainstream products,services and environments, citizens of human diversity; represented by age, gender, sexual orientation, functional and cognitive ability, ethnicity and culture background should be involved and consulted.This range of citizens represent lead users – a unique and valuable tool for innovative development and for gathering real insights, individual perspectives and new ideas to feed into any design and qualitative urban planning process.

Practical Information

Hackaton participants will not need to purchase registration to the conference. They will spend April 7th preparing their work, and are invited to attend the conference on April 8th for team presentations and celebrations. Hackathon participants will however, have to organise and pay for their own travels, food and accommodation.

Apply to Participate in the 24 Hour Citizen Hackathon by March 24th


April 6: Introductory workshop
5:00 – Introduction
5:10 – Ice breaking session (forming of teams)
5:40 – Inclusive tools and methods
6:00 – Finish

Teams are advised to spend time together, explore the city, have a meal or a drink together and to really get to know the lead user.

April 7: Kick-off
9:00 – 24 Hour Inclusive Citizen Hackaton Kick off (brief given)
9:30 – Teams start work

April 8: Presentations and award ceremony
12:30 – USB stick delivered to Facilitator team for uploading
2:00 – Introduction and Hackathon flashback
2:20 – Team Presentations
3:50 – Break and audience voting
4:20 – Award ceremony
4:30 – Celebrations

How will it be organised?

The participants will be organised into five teams and there will be a Introduction and Kick off on Thursday 6.April. at   ……..led by the Hackathon Supervisor Team; Hackathon facilitator Onny Eikhaug,  Hackathon champion professor Tom Vavik and Hackathon coordinator Victoria Høisæther and Hackathon coordinator Giulia Melis.

This is when all the teams will meet their lead users and get acquainted through an Icebreaker session. A short Introduction about tools and methods will be given before the teams will be given The Hackathon brief.

The Process:

The teams will work together solving the Hackathon brief by using inclusive design tools, co-creation and through field exploration of the neighborhood. The solution should be based on the lead user insights but should aim to be inclusive and mainstream, not only designed for one special  group of citizens. The teams are free to decide how to cooperate, for how long and where to work.(Is there a venue for 4 teams of 8 people to sit together? Will someone provide tools, materials and wifi etc for them? Food and drinks?)  They will be mentored and followed up by the Hackathon Supervisor Team.

On the first day of the event Participatory Urbanism, Friday 7. April, one appointed member from each team will present their team’s solutions on stage – 6 minutes  each. After the presentations, the audience will vote for “Best Idea” and “Best Presentation”.

During the 24 Hour period the teams will work together solving the Hackathon brief by using inclusive design tools, co-creation and through field exploration of the local neighborhood. In agreement with the whole team, the team leader should be in charge of management: establishing a plan for the process, delegate tasks, managing the timeframe and progress, ensure that the solution is deliverered on time as per instructed at the Kick off. The solution should be based on the lead user insights but should aim to be inclusive and mainstream, not only designed for one special  group of citizens.


Each team should consist of (recommended but not obligatory):

  • A team leader (to be chosen by the team)
  • Designer
  • Student
  • Business representatives or social entrepreneur
  • Urban planner
  • Architect
  • 1 lead user; user representative also know as design partner

Teams are advised to be formed prior to kick off, but those not part of teams will be put together at the kick off.


This 24 Hour Inclusive Citizen Hackaton will address the event theme Participatory Urbanism and one of the 4 Challenges:


When developing inclusive products, services and environments, involving people is key. This is especially important when planning smart, sustainable cities that also are people-friendly.

To ensure an inclusive and diverse perspective, citizens of different ages, abilities, genders, social and ethnic background must be  involved and consulted in the process. This range of citizens also represent lead-users – a unique and effective tool for innovation, both in design processes and in urban planning.

Cities comprise of an array of agencies and institutions with over-lapping responsibilities for the delivery of health, education, transport, economic development and planning. The systems appear impenetrable for the citizen but unfortunately their involvement is often reduced to superficial consultation.

The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) Report (EC, 2014) on Smart Cities and Communities fully recognises that providing the right environment for people and communities approach is an essential part of any smart city and as such “Citizen Focus” is seen as a priority.

With greater access to the internet people are becoming experts in their own lives – and designers, architects and urban planners are experts in their own fields. Firsthand information and insights from real people about their needs, daily lives and aspiration can challenge, add new perspectives and give rich inspirations that lead to better solutions whether you are designing, products, services and environments.  They can drive innovation!  But more than this – how can citizens participate, be engaged and consulted on a regular basis to improve solutions but also to ensure that their perspectives and needs are considered when local communities and cities are being developed – now and in the future.

So how can inclusive design and co-creation promote and support a citizen focus in the digital world when developing solutions in an urban environment?

Teams are invited to address this in their approach and solution.