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Participating through the Outernet

Due to technological progress and a price decline in display technologies, it is believed that almost any surface in urban spaces could become digital. In the long run, people might live ‘inside’ the Internet, surrounded by interactive and digital surfaces. The research project Participating through the Outernet believes that this new infrastructure, the ‘Outernet’, has considerable potential – not only in the advertising domain but also in terms of civic participation. Access could be granted without the need for any technical device on the part of the user, thus providing an opportunity to boost participation by lowering barriers and enabling simple participation ‘while passing by’.

Based on the project MyPosition!, the research group questions in what way the Outernet can be used for low-barrier participation of this kind. The project MyPosition! is a cooperation between the design researcher Nina Valkanova, Technische ­Universtität Berlin, and the Alexander von Humboldt Institute for Internet and Society. It is an interactive urban facade, which represents a collective visualisation of citizen opinions. MyPosition! was integrated in the architectural and social fabrics of several local communities in Berlin and aimed to enable citizens to easily participate, enter a dialogue and discuss local civic issues and challenges.


Jörg Müller, Prof. Dr.

Former Associate Researcher

Former employees

DurationAugust 2012 – September 2013
PartnersUdK Berlin; T-Labs, TU Berlin