The Territories and Digital Communities research group of the Computer Science Department of the University of Turin has developed a version of the FirstLife open source platform in co-design and co-management with the Regione Piemonte to concretely support and complement the activities of the Piedmont Sustainable Development Pact, as part of the ‘Activation of the Regional Forum’.
The FirstLife civic social network is designed to foster participatory planning at a territorial scale, to develop collaborative practices between public and private territorial actors and to stimulate self-organisation initiatives. It will therefore be used to structure and manage relations between territorial institutions and civil society in relation to SRSvS objectives and to organise and visualise the contributions of local policies to regional sustainability objectives.
The Piedmont Region believes in the present and the past of the social, economic and environmental fabric as a source of new visions for the future, and is aware that the only way to constructively bring about change is to give voice to all the efforts of the communities that inhabit, know and love the territory of today and tomorrow.
TWM Factory and H501 City Hub, in collaboration with CoopCulture, investigate the city of Rome, focusing on the search for places and ways of regeneration. From this year, the mapping is also online and interactive thanks to the crowdmapping platform “Riscatti di città” co-created through the civic social network FirstLife.
Launched on the occasion of the “Riscatti di città” exhibition at Palazzo Merulana (April 2022), the mapping brings to light the disused buildings undergoing redevelopment (around 430) and the informal cultural centres (over 250) that are proving to have a strong regenerative power for territories and communities.
The tool is an opportunity not only to involve citizens in the mapping process, but to think of regeneration as an opportunity to experiment with new governance models that allow all urban actors, including citizens, to be active participants in the process of social recovery, ecocentrism and digital transition of the contemporary urban environment.
This year, FirstLife has developed a platform dedicated to educational programs. Started in 2016 with the TeenCarTO project (in collaboration with the geography research group of the Department of Cultures, Politics and Society), they are now collected in a single platform, a large container, where all the considerations, analyses and proposals that have emerged can be traced in order to gradually build a collective geography of the teenagers’ city.
The aim of the educational paths is to raise awareness among young people on issues of public interest, using the digital as a tool to amplify reality and give voice to their specific needs, which are often underrepresented.
This year, two schools took part in the civic and digital education activities: the I.C Perotti Toscanini Secondary School in District 3 and a group of students from the Jesuit Fathers Social Institute in District 2.
The FirstLife courses are organised in didactic modules calibrated to the needs and expectations that emerge during the first stages of confrontation and acquaintance with teachers and students: in-depth studies with experience and direct knowledge of the territory, analysis techniques and tools such as the ‘inverted classroom’, mind maps, immersive walks, field analyses and meetings/interviews with community protagonists and with representatives of public and private territorial realities and institutions offering services for young people.
In the course of the 2021/2022 school year we have involved the following realities: Gruppo Abele Onlus, Associazione Eufemia, Ecocentro-Iren, Legambiente Piemonte e Valle d’Aosta, Toponomastica femminile in particular in the person of its President Francesca Troise and the Centro Adolescenti, Monica Cerutti political activist for inclusion, Invasioni creative and TheGate Porta Palazzo.
The Computer Science Department of the University of Turin is the lead partner in the European project Nlab4cit, which aims to build a network of laboratories run by organisations, research groups and institutions committed to bringing together and involving citizens in the creation of public services through civic digital technologies.
The civic social network FirstLife and the wallet app CommonsHood will be made available to the Municipality of Collegno to co-design an intervention with young people.
More info > nlab4cit.eu
The decarbonisation of mobility is indispensable to achieve the goals of the EU 2030 Plan against climate change.
Turin, with its 207 km of cycle paths, is a highly ‘pedalable’ city, but to function effectively and allow citizens to use it in comfort and safety, the infrastructure must be properly signposted and maintained.
This is the goal of Pedalé, the project by Legambiente Piemonte e Valle d’Aosta - the most widespread environmental association in Italy - which maps cycle routes with the help of all those who want to make a difference and support safe urban ‘cycling’.
FirstLife, a civic social network and digital crowdmapping tool to support active citizenship, has made its contribution by developing the Pedalè platform through which cycle paths are mapped, services such as refreshment points (drinking fountains) and bike repair are reported, and structural problems and maintenance needs are highlighted. Pedalè staff will intervene to make them safe, thanks to the reports collected and the collaboration with the City of Turin.
The Pedalè platform gives voice to the community of citizens who want to make Turin green, safe and on a human scale!
2020 - 2022
Sustainable development and protection of the natural heritage of the Goada Forest
The Unione Montana Valli Orco e Soana (TO) has set up a partnership with the Equiliberi Onlus association and the Computing Science Department of the University of Turin, in order to use FirstLife, previously adapted to Burkina Faso, for support its first decentralised cooperation project in Africa.
The Unione Montana Valli Orco e Soana (TO) has adopted FirstLife to map land use in the Goada Forest, in Burkina Faso, where it is taking action to defend protected land, enhancing the agro-forestry sector and promoting sustainable agriculture also outside protected areas.
The opportunities for direct interaction between Italian and Burkinabe municipalities will increase, as well as the quality of their exchanges, thanks to the use of FirstLife. They can directly share and apply best practices in public-private partnerships for the protection of the natural heritage of the Goada forest.
During the Covid-19 emergency FirstLife was made available within the initiative “Torino City Love”, promoted by the municipality of Torino, in order to allow citizens, institutions, merchants, associations to coordinate and share information using the interactive map.
Thanks to ASCOM the map collected information on the merchants involved in the initiative “ConsegnaTO a domicilio” (home delivery), also allowing to update photos, news and use a real-time chat. In the future further information will be added, such as on social services provided by Municipality of Torino, information on local associations, on the public and private cultural offer. Citizens can add other information and self-organize themselves in social streets.
FirstLife is available for mobile and desktop. To contribute with new information, you can enrol with a personal email or login with a social network account.
October 2020 - September 2021
A group of young people in Torino to identify and contrast hate messages on the territory, with the support of CSV Vol.To – Sportello GioVe. Actions:
- Make photos to catalogue and map degraded spaces in the 5th district, or mapping graffiti with hate messages – with the civic social network FirstLife;
- Collect and analyse material elaborating creative answers to hate messages;
- Organization of workshop and recreational activities as street art, protography, film-making, painting, acting,miming.
- Final event and initiatives for active citizenship as CommonsHood, a wallet app based on blockchain and integrated with FirstLife, for actions of financial inclusion in the neighborhoods involved.
February 2019 - January 2022
gE.CO Living Lab aims at studying, for the first time, the economic and legal framework of formal and informal organizations born after the global crisis in Europe: hubs, fab-labs, co-creation spaces, social centres created in regenerated urban voids.
There is a great variety of activities and contexts of collaboration between institutions and local communities, that are generating new models of urban governance. These are defined as generative commons and are based on solidarity, inclusion, participation, environmental and economic sustainability.
The project studies these organizations at the European level, implementing digital tools to map the activities of the communities and PAs involved in new models of partnership.
FirstLife will be the main tool for communities to exchange best practice, disseminate initiatives and events, collect and analyse data to evaluate the sustainability and scalability of generative commons in terms of innovation policy.
2019 - 2021
The project proposes ICT solutions to manage health processes, telemedicine and telemonitoring focusing on home healthcare in the contest of the forthcoming opening of the Health, Research And Innovations Parks in Turin and Novara.
The project adopts a cross-disciplinary and human-centered approach for implementing advanced technologies: Artificial Intelligence, Business Process Management (BPM), Geolocated Social Network guarantee all stakeholders to co-design together hospital and services.
The platform FirstLife provides a geolocated system to activate participatory processes between all internal and external stakeholders. Doctors, nurses, health workers, auxiliary staff and all actors involved can participate actively to redesign the internal process management and the clinical paths, also reporting critical points in the actual organization of work. The map returns a spatial representation of the processes activated by user’s interactions, encouraging coordination and cooperation to share proposals and go beyond critical points.
In the next steps FirstLife will be a tool for overall coordination, based on flows visualization and collaborative monitoring of internal process management.
2018 - 2019
The Municipality of Torino joined to the national initiative “The school adopt a monument” with aims to involve students in the promotion of historical, artistic and cultural heritage adopting a monument, many of them unknown for the majority of citizens.
In the project FirstLife was used by students to map minor monuments enriching contents with photos, stories, historical research created and collected by themselves. FirstLife in the project is a tool for a public restitution of the work done by students in Torino, bringing citizens closer to the historical memory of these places.
Schools involved: Istituto comprensivo A. Cairoli, Istituto comprensivo P. Frassati, Is Gobetti-Marchesini, Liceo Berti
2017 - 2020
Co-city is the winner of the first Urban Innovation Action Call of the EU.
Co-city is intended to break the self-reinforcing circle of poverty, social segregation in deprived neighbourhoods and lack of participation. It achieves this by supporting the development of an innovative, polycentric “commons-based urban welfare” composed of generative communities centred on urban commons, low-cost service co-production, social mixing, and care of public spaces.
The Municipality of Torino opened a public call for citizens to collect proposals related to the co-management of urban commons with local administrations. The authoritative approach is replaced by a collaborative one that considers citizens as potential changemakers, agents of virtuous circular processes of commoners’ welfare. Meanwhile, the public sector evolves from being a service provider to being an enabler and a partner.
47 proposals have been submitted to realise different kinds of intervention such as regeneration of buildings in abandon or the care of public spaces.
Within Co-city, the University of Turin is responsible with different departments for the Co-City Toolkit, a guideline for legal and technological tools implemented in the pilot use-case.
FirstLife was used to map urban commons co-managed by citizens and administrators, but also as a tool to coordinate, collect and share all projects.
The blockchain technology has been experimented with financial tools to support the local economy of urban commons: exchange of tokens as prepaid cards, coupons, fidelity cards, buying groups, fundraising initiatives.
February - 2016 - February 2019
WeGovNow wanted to experiment innovative forms of collaboration between citizens, civil society and institutions, adopting a participatory approach for increasing the involvement of the local communities.
The project developed a unique platform for different technologies (geolocated social network, tools for online deliberations), thus allowing citizens to report on critical issues, suggest improvements, debate on public topics and vote concrete solutions for local policies.
FirstLife was implemented as a tool to support “We-government”, active citizenship, co-production of services between PA and citizens and access to institutional Open Data.
It was intended as a platform to meet the offer and demand for local services, enriched by functionalities to moderate discussion and activate the participation of organizations and local associations, in collaboration with Liquid Feedback-Association for Interactive Democracy. Integrating FirstLife with other technological tools, proposals were collected, discussed and voted by citizens.
Results: the platform WeGovNow supported the co-design and co-management of a public park in Turin (Parco Dora). Citizens and institutions have activated a deliberative process to discuss the needs of the neighbourhood, cooperating to implement the project of urban regeneration.
Piemonte dal vivo Foundation is the regional circuit of live entertainment, approved by the Piemonte Region and by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
FirstLife wants to innovate the methods of advertising for the cultural offer in an easier, interactive and customizable way, to meet the needs of the public and of the cultural operators. So far, FirstLife has mapped all events for summer 2020 in Torino.
The project is managed by the Association LaQup, in collaboration with 6 municipalities in the Turin area and involving schools and citizens. The purpose of the project is to give back value to little urban spaces, as gardens or small squares, that are important in the everyday life in the neighbourhood with:
- Education: raising the citizen awareness on the territorial potentialities through seminars, study visits, educational activities with schools;
- Shared mapping of the urban spaces and their use: with FirstLife citizens and students reported more than 250 important places to be improved and valorised. The map is gradually enriched thanks to workshop in schools and public events;
- Reuse and Sharing spaces: schools draw-up proposals to reuse spaces, organizing micro-regeneration actions in public spaces involving citizens.
2017 - 2019
The project aims to help people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) move and live within cities by means of a/THROUGH new digital service that provides interactive personalized maps.
ASD is marked by a tendency of withdrawal from social relationships and implies the need of finding reassurance in repetitive routines, making it hard to manage unexpected events. These characteristics entail peculiar spatial representation modalities and the need of tailored supports for orientation and movements in the urban environment.
The project aims to provide such support especially to adult individuals with medium or high functioning autism, or with Asperger’s Syndrome (now categorized as a form of ASD), since an orientation support for such people could highly impact on their autonomy, making the transition from a state of (partial) dependency to a state of autonomy.
The map in FirstLife was adopted to facilitate people with ASD for orientation in the urban space, developing specific functionalities involving the same users.
The project involved University of Torino, Polytechnic of Torino and University of Gastronomic science of Pollenzo.
The Atlas aims to: produce new knowledge related the metropolitan food sector; increase visibility of the system and its dynamic; support PA to build and implement food policy supporting also the ordinary management of the system; increase awareness, participation and citizen’s involvement; offer an interaction tools, enabling also integration mechanisms and cooperation among projects, initiative and activities related the food system.
Periodically will be provide updates (detailed study and annual report) in quality of Observatory of the food metropolitan system. FirstLife support the participatory mapping on the Torino Metropolitan food system.
2017 - 2018
The main objective of the project promoted by the Municipality of Torino was to stimulate more the involvement of the teenagers in the public local life, through urban regeneration interventions; to make teenagers able to explain the city in a critical way, building representations of urban spaces from their point of view.
The project was developed in three phases: territorial analysis, participatory co-design, fulfilment of the project in practice.
Students from high schools used FirstLife for a participatory mapping highlighting their personal point of view living the city, also bringing into the school a deliberation about technologies as a tool for participatory citizenship and web education, increasing their digital skills.
2016 - 2017
In 2016-17 took place many openlabs to experiment FirstLife in use-cases and real projects related to urban regeneration, valorisation of local resources, community services and so on. Each openlab saw the participation of different actors and similar projects, sharing challenges and ideas to facilitate social innovation and change.
The initiative involved participants in the co-design of a unique social network, contributing actively to enrich the platform with ideas and proposals for coordination, monitoring and evaluation of local projects.
Citytelling - The real-thought-lived city
The lab addressed architects and intellectuals with experience on buildings, public spaces, neighborhoods; artists and writers wanted to give voice to the places; to citizens and tourists that live the city everyday for the first time. Citytelling hosted projects and initiatives related to community mapping, with a strong involvement of citizens to share and discover local resources. FirstLife contributed to giving visibility and facilitating connections between projects and contents.
Resources - Local enterprises for the territory
The focus is the promotion of commercial, handcraft and professional activities in the productive and tourist ecosystem in the city. Resources tested the civic social network FirstLife as a tool to help small enterprises to collaborate with other companies in their networks, as a new participative model to share stories and the professional evolution of the enterprise collecting customers and workers point of view.
Regeneration - Urban regeneration paths
The lab addressed associations, citizen’s groups, local institutions involved in urban regeneration actions in the city, from people to people. Citizens participated to find innovative ways to reuse public spaces or urban commons. FirstLife was the tool to represent the entire regeneration process of a place, collecting and sharing activities and synergies with a participatory perspective.
WeGovernment - New models of shared governance
The openlab involved public administration and local institutions that tested FirstLife in local projects and initiatives regarding the co-design and co-management of public services and spaces, the co-production of new inclusive and integrated services. FirstLife was also tested in the two european projects WeGovNow and Co-City, based on a new model of governance and collaboration between PA and citizens.
Communities - Collaboration in the community services
Communities involved association, cooperatives, spontaneous groups active in the field of proximity and social services, but also projects with a strong impact for the local communities. It was a digital lab to experiment, with FirstLife, new models of internal and external coordination among association, companies, and local institutions in the same sector, improving the social innovation with a participatory approach.
EduLife - School, web education and territory
A lab for schools and educational institutions to facilitate the collaboration among teachers, staff students, families and other territorial organizations. EduLife is a virtual archive of projects developed by schools or classes to improve the continuity between the educational paths and the coordination between the different participating classes. FirstLife mapped and collected the projects from classes and schools; as a civic social network can also be a teaching tool for web education.
Transformation - The changing city
Transformation involved public administration, designer, local committees, facilitators in projects concerning new models to design and manage transformation areas through a participatory process, both on the territory and online. Goal of the project: a more involvement of citizens in the local policy extended the participatory processes, increasing the collaboration between civil society and administration.
2017 - 2018
The project, co-funded by Compagnia di San Paolo, focused on monitoring, geocalizing, quantifying and qualifying the live music in Torino.
Users can be REPORTER for a night, enter for free to the concert in Torino and be part of the team collecting few but essential quantitative and qualitative information on the performances, to build a final report useful to improve the music sector in Torino.
FirstLife collected all the live events mapped by the team or reported from users. You can listen to the local artists in Torino inside the playlist Spotify “Io Sono La Musica Che Ascolto”.
2016 - 2017
Miramap is the result of collaboration from DAD Department of the Polytechnic of Turin and of the Computer Science Department of the University of Torino. focused on the neighbourhood of Mirafiori.
The general objective of the project was to improve and innovate the communication and transparency between the local Administration and the citizens by using new technologies, to build new models of interaction able to identify critical points and potentiality of the local context, cooperating to find new solutions, adopting solutions to improve the co-management of common goods.
In the project FirstLife was used as a tool to report critical points at the neighbourhood scale, making requests or advice to valorize territorial needs.
Link FB : https://www.facebook.com/miramap.polito
July 2014 - July 2015
The project, financed by Piemonte Region, tackled the topic of Safety at work with an interdisciplinary approach, integrating the use of sensors with data produced by workers and collected with an interactive map.
The project addressed enterprises, research centers, workers and everyone involved in services related to safety at work. In particular turns to isolated workers and open space perceived as uncomfortable, with a special focus on laboratories in hospitals and universities.
Main objectives of the project: to collect data by workers to identify and manage risks factors in a working environment; to develop innovative solutions for safety at work integrating environmental sensors, an interactive online map enriched by users, questionnaires and interviews.
FirstLife alllowed a collaborative mapping of internal hospital environments, with information collected directly by workers following a participatory approach. FirstLife data were integrated with sensors data, surveys and interviews. The Open Data collected are available on the Smart Data Platform.
GeoNight is a crowdmapping platform based on FirstLife, a civic social network, dedicated to the sustainability of university life, developed by the Territories and Digital Communities group of the Department of Computer Science in co-design with the Green Office UnIToGO, the Council of and Students in the Environment Commission and the Department of Cultures, Politics and Societies.
GeoNight provides a geography of the relationship between the city and the university through the eyes of and by students and the university community who, through the interactive features of FirstLife, contribute to the emergence of places and stories about the sustainability of daily life in Turin and the university declined in the following topics:
- food (including vegan)
- public and free services (including water, toilets, sanitary facilities)
- spaces and services for disability and neurodivergence
- green areas
- social spaces
- soft mobility
- study spaces
FirstLife mapping is being populated with “bottom-up” information added not only by and from young people, but also by student associations and representatives of and from students who, in the various bodies, already play an important role in informing and relating to the university community. Social features allow community members to stay in touch with each other and receive updates, improving the usability of the city, helping them learn about the urban social and cultural life, and facilitating them in building new social networks precisely from the places mapped and frequented.