The App That Puts Street Design Powers Into the Hands of Children

For the first time ever, Norway is crowdsourcing public safety information from kids—made possible through the powers of smart phones and gamification.
September 12, 2016, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Alinute Silzeviciute

"If Pokémon Go has taught us anything," writes Naomi Larsson, "it’s that apps and gamification have the potential to change the way we interact with our cities; and as cities become smarter, citizens are increasingly having a greater influence on their development."

"A new Oslo-based app has taken that idea further and is giving power directly to the people who, when it comes to urban planning, are too-often left out of the conversation: children."

Larsson is describing the Traffic Agent app, which allows children to report safety hazards they encounter on the way to and from school. The app offers an opportunity not only to gather feedback from underrepresented members of community, but also to learn more about how children perceive their environments. The lessons of Pokémon Go are in the gamification aspects of the app: users are cast as "secret agents" in the city.

The article includes more details about how this app fits into Oslo's planned ban on automobiles in the city center and how the app addresses privacy concerns that might prevent parents from allowing their children to use the app.

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Published on Saturday, September 10, 2016 in The Guardian
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