An architect, who wants to hear the citizens’ voices

Natalia Rincón is an advocate of true citizen democracy in urban planning.

What would a business event be without an open stage for creative and unique ideas? TWINKLE 2015 offered the TWINKLE Pitch competition, a platform for those looking to shine in front of an audience.

The winner of the competition is passionate about urban planning and modern technology. Let’s meet Natalia Rincón, an architect, who always finds motivation for her work through people.

“Citizens are the everyday users of the city, so they should be listened to first. They should have more influence in, for example, where new roads are built”, Natalia finds. Choosing a common good, instead of a monetary reward, was one of her winning arguments at this pitch competition.

Natalia is part of CHAOS Architects, a network of architects providing new solutions beyond the ordinary. Natalia puts their urban planning concept, the Butterfly Effect project, in a nutshell:

“Citizens take the initial step through social media. What do they consider to be worth improving? Say, if you had concerns about a kindergarten somewhere in Tampere, you could post pictures of it to Instagram with certain hashtags.“

Architects then observe the tons of data generated by social media and act as filters. When the data is combined with e. g. maps and demographic information, relevant cases begin to show up. These cases are put into a city app, where citizens are, again, allowed to participate: they could, for example, debate and follow the process.

Only after this are new architectural projects launched. They are also carried out in a new, user-friendly manner.

What about Natalia’s post-TWINKLE life? She is still pitching whenever she gets a chance, seeking to be even better the next time. “It’s important to awake interest with our concept. The thing I value the most about feedback is the advice, where to go next”, Natalia sums up.

This article was originally published in TalentTampere.fi Feb 25th 2016.

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