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Communication for Social Innovation

Master2 Design Innovation Société X Scuola Del Design, Politecnico di Milano

· innovation sociale

Workshop d’une semaine à Politecnico di Milano
Projet : Communication for Social Innovation
Travail en groupe : How to create a sense of belonging in cohousing buildings ?

Our group project

HousingLab is a non-profit association which aims at spreading co-living, social experiences and sharing skills. The building we focused on is Green Opificio. It was designed to encourage a strong sense of community. HousingLab helps Green Opificio’s inhabitants to cohabitate during 10 months. After this period, residents will have to live together in a shared building, on their own. That’s why HousingLab wanted us to give them cohabitation tools.

Immersion and problematic

To adopt a user centered method, we went to an “aperitivo” organised by HousingLab in the building. This allowed us to discover that some residents didn’t know about the co-living part of the project.
During a second meeting with HousingLab’s stakeholders, we talked about the association’s main problems concerning their communication and the attractivity of the offer. They also wanted us to improve the communication between residents.

The system we created

The system we created is composed of four collective steps before the event:
- Survey everyone on the kind of event to organize: It consists in collecting opinions, thanks to few invested inhabitants who will talk to the others and then meet together in order to sort out the ideas of everyone. They are kinds of facilitators.
- Survey everyone about the best place and time for the event
- Know more about each resident’s appetence / talent concerning the organization of events or everyday life moments: enabeling residents to mobilize and manage their assets can be a good way to capitalize on individual skills and to leverages collective resources.
- Find a date during the month to organize the event before it takes place for real. Have fun during the collective organization and during the event: the organization itself will be an inside event!

Facilitation tools

We also thought about different tools to guide residents in their collective approach and to evince common identity items inside the residence.

A modular mediation tool will help facilitators informing residents about current, past and future events. This system also invites inhabitants communicating together, thanks to a playfull, inclusive and accessible device. Residents can appropriate this physical object by touch, by changing its disposition, moving it in the space, storing it, decorating it, using it as an outside communication device: like a group identity item.

For precise questions or details concerning an activity (like the date, the place, the number of participants...), we thought about a funny voting installation. The device is movable and highly customizable (number of options, voting options...). It also helps facilitators to survey everyone. Indeed, every residents have their own balls (colored-coded depending on their flat) and at the end of a voting period, the device directly indicates the result to everyone.

To sum up, this project aims to create synergies among neighbors and to allow friendly relationships thanks to a social identity inside the building.

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