The project explored what a well-governed city might look like in 2030 and how the Glasgow City Council (GCC) might respond to citizens’ current and emerging needs, allowing for greater transparency and citizen-centric decision-making. The project lens was ‘Data Experiences and Experiencing Data’, and explored the role of data in enabling citizens to shape their own civic participation.

The objective of the project was to investigate how, in the near future, GCC could enable data-driven decision-making; giving people access to and understanding of their own data, and the collective data of others, to empower future citizens capable of shaping their own participation, with the council and community, and with the city around them.

Quality data is the cornerstone of effective governance, providing decision-makers with accurate, reliable insights crucial for formulating policies that address real-world challenges. By prioritizing the collection of high-quality data, governing systems gain several critical advantages. Accurate data forms the bedrock of informed decision-making, offering an objective view of societal needs and trends. This ensures that policies are evidence-based, significantly enhancing their chances of success. Moreover, quality data promotes transparency and accountability within governing systems, fostering trust and enabling citizens to hold leaders accountable for policy outcomes. Additionally, it facilitates efficient resource allocation, ensuring that investments align with actual needs and priorities. Lastly, quality data empowers governing systems to proactively identify and address emerging issues, ultimately leading to more effective and responsive governance.


‘The Future World’ is a knowledge artefact that communicates the three Landscapes that illustrate the key findings of the project. 
The illustrated findings are a result of synthesis and analysis of evidence gathered through desk and field research as well as the GCC Explorator Day and the Citizen Engagement Day.

Three design directions are communicated by each landscape, which is made up of multiple narratives of possible future scenarios that communicate citizens’ ideas, opinions, preferences, fears and hopes about the future of data and governance. These design directions can be used as tools to focus, drive and inform future innovation.


The Landscapes of the Future World explore three notions :

1. Understanding Citizens through Data which communicates the ways in which the council might engage with citizens, and how they would affect feelings of trust, privacy and choice.

2. Data Inequalities elaborates on how the council might ensure that conversations are inclusive.

3. Value Exchange of Data communicating how citizens understand and engage with data systems

Welcome to 2030 Glasgow,
a world where...

Data is becoming the main conduit through which citizens are being understood by institutions, as more and more interactions are had online, and sensors and tracking devices are more prevalent in urban spaces, meaning that institutions are basing their decisions on data more and more.
As a result, institutions are being forced to become more transparent, and there is a growing demand for understanding around how citizens’ data is collected, used and kept safe.
Citizens have more opportunities to participate in decision making, and progress and development continues to quicken.

This world is inhabited by citizens, those are the ones that make the world as it is. All citizens have different levels of understanding the data, different ways to participate with the council. They allow us to explore and express the different data behaviours like data exchange. Are they more analogue or digital? Do they trust the data exchanges and it’s privacy?
We used visual storytelling to bring our research to life.
The future experience narratives have been designed to be ligthearted and they may even seem like they are not relevant to the day to day work in the council, but they are designed this way to tackle complex issues and complex ideas in an understandable way.


NO. 1 

Welcome to Choiceton...

Choiceton is a landscape where the citizen-council relationship is supported strongly by Artificial Intelligence and a variety of digital tools. To tackle city challenges, the council maps its citizens using data from multiple sources and various methods of engagement.
This landscape came into being because 10 years ago (2020), Glasgow City Council was considering what it means to engage meaningfully with citizens. This world asks if digital approaches to understanding citizens leave gaps in understanding their needs, beliefs and values, or if meaningful data, gathered through digital means enables a more complete picture of citizens to emerge?
How might the council extend the breadth of its engagement with citizens, and how could digital participation play a role in this?

NO. 2

Welcome to Localtoun...

In Localtoun, citizens are supported by the council to take on more responsibility for their neighbourhoods. Decision making is decentralised and community representatives have more power. The council’s role is to make data and information transparent and open, to support citizens. Empowered with data and supported by the council, citizens can be the real experts of their neighbourhood and take ownership of it. In Localtoun,
face-to-face engagement and personal relationships are valued more highly than digital ones and addressing inequalities is central to their philosophy. The council manages and supports the neighbourhood platforms that facilitate the accessibility, readability and understandability of both citizen-created datasets and other wider datasets. They also provide support to educate citizens on how to interpret and use the data. It is then the responsibility of citizens to use the data to make decisions in their neighbourhood.



Welcome to Efficiencity...

Efficiencity is a landscape where citizens’ data is the key conduit between citizens and the council. The governance understands its citizens through their online interactions,
and physical actions data, which is gathered by the increased number of trackers and sensors in the urban environment. Artificial Inteligence (AI) supports and augments citizenship,
by creating new ways for citizens to participate more passively, with less time commitment. This landscape was born out of the desire to have more efficient city systems in place that respond to the needs of all citizens, and ensure a comfortable quality of life for all. Can online participation engage a greater number and more diverse pool of people, and people who would otherwise not be heard?


Speculative scenarios are crucial tools for envisioning the future of any government and its citizens. The service design perspective provides a holistic view of interactions, focusing on citizens' needs and preferences. By involving citizens in the design process, governments can co-create solutions that address their specific requirements. Speculative scenarios allow for testing and refining of ideas, reducing the risk of costly implementation errors. These approaches also foster innovation, enhance stakeholder engagement, and build resilience in government systems, ensuring they remain adaptable and effective in an ever-changing world.

Glasgow’s Future Citizens was a collaborative project between Glasgow School of Art’s Innovation School (GSA) and the Centre of Civic Innovation in Glasgow City Council (GCC)