Strategic Design for Resident Engagement

Course project for the design of visions and services for a citizen-centric smart region

Completed: 2022
Sponsor: Partnership for Economic Innovation - PEI
Participants: 14 graduate students of The Design School, ASU. We also have five city officers visiting two class sessions.

This was a sponsored course (Strategic Design Futures, graduate elective). PEI is a non-profit organization that promotes a culture of innovation in Phoenix aiming to contribute to the economy with research, technology development, and entrepreneurship. The students designed strategies and services for the future (2030) and the present related to resident engagement in Greater Phoenix. The goal was to explore city managers’ need to engage residents from their communities to socialize initiatives, get residents to participate in the decision-making process, and continuously learn how residents are affected by policies and services. With the mentorship of the instructor and the sponsor, students explored, ideated, and prototyped products, services, policies, and or systems that would help residents better engage in their local government processes and services.


  • Participatory design (user workshops, interviews, scenario planning, visioning, prototype critique).
  • Prototyping (worldbuilding, design fiction, journey maps, storyboards, renders, experience prototypes, service blueprint).


  • Students presented five proposals. Two examples:
    Kendon Jung, Renée Saavedra, and Jared Pratt proposed a strategy focused on engaging new residents adding move-in protocols to renters and homeowners. They also develop a communication timeline to deliver consistent and relevant information to residents (see images in gallery).
    Megan Joyce, Megan Van Horn, and Nandhini Thevar proposed a strategy based on recruiting active residents as city ambassadors who would help to engage other residents. They also proposed an information system that would serve city officers, ambassadors, and residents with various digital touchpoints including kiosks, an app, and administrative access (see images in gallery).
  • We are writing a grant proposal for the NSF Smart and Connected Communities program. We have had meetings with city officers in Mesa, Gilbert and Scottsdale to further understand resident engagement needs to make Greater Phoenix and smarter region.