Co-tainer is a physical, situated toolkit for neighborhood development. My team and I developed this concept to offer a new format for connecting different stakeholders in a neighborhood and support collaboration.


Social Design
My role:
Research, Concept Development, Project Management, Branding
TransformCity, Citizen Data Lab
Master Digital Design

The problem

Cities like Amsterdam are moving towards a bottom-up approach for community development. Through citizen empowerment tools, neighborhoods are aiming for a more democratic and collaborative approach to develop their area. Still, community initiatives are dealing with complex stakeholder management, struggling to get closer to the municipality to get their ideas off the ground. There are new processes and tools needed to connect stakeholders and build better trust to inspire flourishing community initiatives.


We designed Co-tainer to bring all stakeholders into the neighborhood development process for collaboration and dialog. Co-tainer is a pop-up space that emerges in neighborhoods for a temporary amount of time when it is needed. Citizens can use this space for voting, learning, discussing, and creating solutions regarding a neighborhood-related topic or issue. All collected input in this space is digitized to be used for a co-design session, together with the data coming from online platforms. Different stakeholders such as local businesses, investors, policy-makers, and specialists can come together in this space with citizens for the decision-making process. All components of Co-tainer are flexible and can be adapted for different case studies, depending on the issues at hand.

The process

I was involved in multiple parts of the process in this project:


To understand the context and problem, we did desk and field research activities. I conducted several interviews with community leaders in Amsterdam. Besides, we used methods as customer journeys, stakeholder mapping, and diagrams to get a deep understanding of the problem space. Later on, I helped planning and analyzing user tests.

Project management

Throughout the project, I made sure the design process was organized and structured. A part of this was managing expectations from team members and our clients. I also hosted ideation sprints and facilitated a co-design workshop with stakeholders.


I created brand guidelines for Co-tainer. The overall style is professional, but there is room for play. Colors are inspired by an urban environment, where the dark colors stand for concrete buildings and green for elements of nature. I also designed and animated the logo. 'Co' is an important element of our logo as it has a strong association with collaboration, and is therefore highlighted in green. Other style elements, together with the c-shape, represent the disc object that plays an important role in our concept.

UI design

Our concept involves an interactive table that people can use for co-design activities. This table has two screens: one that displays relevant data for the neighborhood issue, and one where people can propose their ideas to specialists and policymakers. I was involved in creating the UI for these screens, using the Co-tainer visual identity.

More about this project can be read here.

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