This project focuses on the 11th United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, Sustainable City and Community, including promoting positive changes in urban areas and social activities. Students studied cities in Scotland, exploring and measuring their urban characteristics from social, environmental, and economic dimensions.
They intended to unfold some similarities or differences between cities and outline the most practical methods to help cities approach their sustainable potential.
Students used the 5Rs sustainable activities as an opportunity to promote knowledge about available local resources and increase social participation. The final concept is to set up donation machines in different cities, where people can get information about local activities by donating items. By meeting the information gap between event organizers and individuals and embedded interactive devices, students want to benefit local citizens long-term and encourage them to promote sustainable behaviour consistently.
Sustainability is a broad political concept in the global public discourse and is often conceived of three dimensions: environment, economy, and society. The economy involves government policies and regulations, and it's difficult for students to make any change. To better integrate and link people's lives and behaviour to sustainability, students focused on the dimensions of 'social sustainability' &' environmental sustainability.
Research on Social Sustainability
Fundamental human needs (social needs) developed by Manfred Max Neef are an alternative to Maslow's hierarchy of needs. He suggests nine basic human needs: subsistence, security, affection, understanding, participation, leisure, creation, meaning and freedom. Students designed an engagement tool that helped them to investigate people’s satisfaction levels with the nine elements. They visited Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness and conducted thirty interviews with citizens. They found out that residents feel least satisfied with participation.
According to the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) and the Institute for Volunteering Research found that people's participatory activities fell into three main categories: social participation, public participation and individual participation. To know what kinds of participation people feel like they need but are missing, students selected fifteen events from the three main categories and laser cut them on a wooden card. Students gave interviewees mixed cards and asked them to choose the specific activities they were interested in. Subsequently, students asked interviewees about their frequency of attending their chosen events.
Research on Environmental Sustainability
The International Sustainability Council (ISC) Sustainability Belief Statement 'Sustainability' means living on our planet without wasting our natural resources by the 5RS - reusing, reducing, recycling, renewing and refusing materials to preserve our environment for future generations.
To better understand how the social event organizers implementing 5R-related concepts lead and influence people, students conducted participant research and joined sustainable organizations ReBOOT and Green Hive as volunteers to experience their recycling workshops. Students also interviewed their staff to know their viewpoints on holding events for the public and the difficulties they've met when they organize events. In the end, two key findings were made.
1. The activities will get cancelled because organizations cannot get enough participants. Meanwhile, the motivation of people who prepare to participate will be largely reduced because of the cancellation and postponement.
2. The primary income of these organizations is from the donation of event participants and members. If no one is attending the activities, they will have no money for advertising and holding events.
Overall, the citizen and organizations share a similar goal: having more people gather at social events. Citizens need more flexible advertising methods to know these events, and the event holders need sustainable marketing strategies that can attract participants. Students used the 5Rs sustainable activities as an opportunity to promote knowledge about available local resources and increase social participation.
The final concept is to set up donation machines 'Green Green' in different cities, where people can get information about local activities by donating items. Green-Green is a machine in which if someone donates and places things in the box scanning area, the AI optical sensor Huskylens will detect what it is first and show the answer on the first line of the screen. There will be three associated words on the second line of the screen listed afterwards for people to choose. When people select one with a joystick, they can receive three local events tickets corresponding to the selected words. Finally, the scanning area will be open, and the donation will drop into the storage area.
Due to insufficient time and technological skills, this model does not fully achieve its potential. In the future, here are some of our expectations.
1. A cloud database will be expected to be embedded in the machine instead of our class-based code, generating more unexpected results and appealing to more attractive and active people.
2. When AI calculation and algorithms mature enough in the future, they might be able to collect and analyze data. The machine will help event organizers generate activities that align with people's expectations.