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Project Description:

Our project aims to enhance accessibility and inclusivity in Kadıköy through the development and integration of an app module within the existing Digital Kadıköy application. By leveraging citizen science methods and engaging the community, we strive to address the challenges faced by individuals with restricted mobility.

Project Type: Kick Starter

Theme: Cities for Life, Accessibility

Mentor: Christiane Grill

A Citizen Science Project to Enhance Accessibility and Inclusivity in the Urban Space

Accessibility infrastructure is crucial for individuals with restricted mobility and ensures that all members of a community can actively participate in society and have a fulfilling social life.

The “Digital Kadıköy Accessibility Module” invited citizens to share their experiences of inaccessible sidewalks and roads in Kadıköy, a municipality of Istanbul, Turkey.  This feedback from citizens would then be collected and will help drive improvements to Kadıköy’s physical environment.

The Kadıköy Municipality Project Management Office has embarked on a collaborative journey with NGOs, disability rights activists, citizens with restricted mobility, their families, caregivers, academics, and professionals in design and programming. Together, they are crafting an Accessibility Assessment Module for the “Digital Kadıköy” mobile app. This is a pre-existing online platform, widely used by the community to access relevant services and information for those living in this community. Creating the Accessibility Assessment Module for this App, it provides an online space that is easy for community members to access and for them to share any issues they have experienced regarding accessibility and mobility. This data is then collected and easily accessible for further dissemination to potential urban designers and town planners.    

This unique citizen science initiative aims to continuously generate data, ultimately streamlining the bureaucracy and expediting response times for minor interventions. 

Looking forward, the focus shifts from data collection to utilizing Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to identify accessible routes and areas for interventions. The collected data will contribute to a navigation module tailored to diverse disabilities. To ensure broad engagement, the municipality plans to leverage social media, collaborate with stakeholders, establish a dedicated website, and conduct workshops, particularly targeting design students.

The Kadıköy Municipality is redefining its approach with the motto, “Doing it together with them.” By developing the app module in collaboration with the target group—people with mobility restrictions—the municipality ensures efficiency and inclusivity. The test group, primarily consisting of disabled individuals, recognizes the broader target group, including elderly individuals facing mobility restrictions due to age. This approach underscores the commitment to creating an environment that accommodates the diverse needs of all citizens.

This idea of “Doing it together with them” is also reflected by our participation in the IMPETUS accelerator program, a meticulously planned training initiative, that provided valuable insights into citizen science and facilitated connections with committed individuals.

This inclusive development process, though demanding, has yielded a methodology with considerable potential, and that can easily be adopted by other local governments.

Accessible Kadıköy – Video