Bona City :
Enabling connection for a better city
Graduation Project for an MA Service Design,
The Royal College of Art, London, United Kingdom
Team: Andrea Diaz & Me | Sector: Public services | Lenght of the project: 5 Months ( Jan - May 2018), Full time
My contribution : Research synthesizes | System analysis | Rapid experiments & prototypes | Design strategy | UX/UI Design, Service video & storytelling
Barcelona is a city of 1.7 million residents, yet receives more than 32 million of tourists every year. This mass tourism phenomenon is jeopardizing the capacity of the city’s infrastructure, resident’s wellbeing and the existence of the local cultural identities.
I and Andrea Diaz found it very interesting how mass tourism is invading the city to be somewhere local life is disappearing from its existence.
For our 5 months graduation project at the Royal College of Art, we were traveling back and forth from London and Barcelona to explore how to create a better co-existence in the city by empowering individuals and cultural communities to reshape the city's tourism in ways that are more sustainable and beneficial for their neighborhood?
" How to leverage resident’s power to facilitate an ecosystem where the local neighborhood can create the tourism model that benefits both tourists and local residents considering the distribution of economic benefits and the protection of residents wellbeing and local culture? "
How mass tourism affect the resident's life?
What are existing solutions? Does it work?
How do the tourists plan their trip and what tools do they use?
What is the existing system that drive mass tourism ?
What's the gap in the system that could be an opportunity for the solution?
What is the future of city's tourism the resident want to see ?
03. Ideate & Prototype
What's the best tool to connect the tourists to the local experiences?
Prototype 1 : Experience
Prototype 2 : Local Currency
Prototype 3 : Information
How does the service work ?
What are the value propositions?
What's the users' feedback?
Tools & Methodology
The experience storytelling
Wireframes and information flow
We started our secondary research in London to understand mass tourism in Barcelona by reading reports and articles such as Barcelona Tourism 2020. We, then, created the stakeholder map and contacted all of the stakeholders to do the interview in Barcelona to understand the following questions;
1.) How mass tourism affect their life?
2.) What are existing solutions and does it work?
3.) How do the tourists plan their trip? What tools they use & what are their experiences?
We did field research in 2 types of areas ;
1.) The city center: area with more densely tourist ( Ciutat Vella, Barceloneta, La Rambla, and Gracia.)
2.) The area with less densely tourist but has a tendency
Below are the findings we found in the research ;
" Tourism is an inseperatable part
of the city "
Barcelona City Tourism Department
Interview Barcelona's Tourism Department
"We need to design a city where the local life can exist."
Jordi Rabassa, Ciutat Vella Council
Interview Ciutta Vella Council
"The best solution is through regulations"
Poblenou's neighbourhood Association
Interview the Poblenou Neighborhood Association
Need quality tourist and a better exposure to new customers
There's a hidden local charm in local neighbourhood area.
The commercial association tries to get access to tourist customer but has a limited tools
Eix Commercial Poblenou
20 Interviews with local commerces in Poblenou Neighbourhood
Observe local neighbourhood street out of the tourist route in Poblenou Neighbourhood
The booklet the local commerce association published to get access to tourists customer
Happy to share the public space with the tourist if they don't interfeere their daily life
12 Interviews with residents in Poblenou Neighbourhood
"It's very hard to get access to the local experiences"
10 interviews with tourists
70% of the resident don't mind sharing restuarant table with tourists
" How many tables in the restaurant you want to share to the tourist? " survey
People tend to contribute the action they can do at home. For example, recycle at home, report the illegal activity.
"What Barcelona you want to live in look like? " & " What you want to do to make it happen? " survey
source : Adjuctement de Barcelona. “Tourisme 2020 Barcelona”
We translated all the research into systemic analyses such as the co-existence customer journey between the resident and the tourist, to understand how their path cross and affect each other. The journey visualises both parties’ emotions, tools that have been used, and how gentrification and overuse of public space have been triggered.
We, then, created a system map to see how mass tourism is invading the city on a systemic macro scale and then dive into the micro scale of people interaction and digital tools.
Visualization was the main tool we used to speculate on the future scenario the resident wish to see in the tourism of their city. In the ideation process, we created benchmarking in the big system of what our solution could fill in the gap.
We found that the different demands of services and products are transforming the city to be a place in favor of tourists more than to the local. This roots from the limited source of traveling information that direct the expectation of tourists to go to certain tourist attractions and to do some certain Barcelona's must do things. For example, visiting Sagrada Familia, walking in La Rambla, eating Paella, and drinking Sangria. These tourists demands don't go along with the local's and transform products in the markets and restaurants.
It also creates the influx of the public spaces in the tourist route and increases the housing price.
From the value network, there are the unmet demands from tourists, residents and local commerce that haven't been fulfilled due to the lack of tools to connect them.
1.) The tourist has a demand for a unique experience.
2.) The residents have a demand for quality tourism in their own neighborhood.
3.) The local commerce has a demand for better access to a new tourist group of customer.
Identifying the future scenario & Design strategy
We speculated future scenarios and asked residents what they want to see in the city’s tourism. Most of the answer is voted for scenario 3 - distributing the number of tourists to other neighborhoods.
Our next question is how to not let tourism invade the local way of life again if we distribute it ?
By starting in Poblenou neighborhood where mass tourism challenge has not yet been presented, we aimed to develop it as a model where other neighborhoods can adopt to protect the local well-being and culture from tourism in the future. We aimed to fill in the demands of stakeholders that haven’t been fulfilled yet with a platform that connects tourists to the rich of Barcelona local's culture and distribute the economic benefits of tourism to the local economy.
Rapid experiment : Live chat with the local
We created rapid prototypes in the Poblenou neighborhood to find out what tool could best connect tourists to local experiences and generate economic benefits for the local economy.
Live chat with the local is the third experiments we created. It derives from the insight that the information provided on the guidebook and internet, such as TripAdvisor and Google reviews, is limitedly generated by the tourism businesses.
Our hypothesis is if the resident has a channel where they can generate their own neighborhood story, it will help set the new demand for local experience in tourists
We created experiments to test our hypothesis by 1.) ask tourists what they want to ask the residents. 2.) ask residents to answer those questions, and
3.) ask residents what they want tourists to know before visiting Barcelona.
We found that both the tourist and the resident enjoyed asking and answering questions. It came very naturally that we see the potential to ideate based on the idea of Live Chat experiments.
Bona City is a platform that enables connections for experiencing a richer city, from local cultural makers and residents to travelers. It is a platform for local culture makers - including local gastronomy producers, artists, shopkeepers, and artisans - to promote their work and services, enable collaboration and access to their customers to understand their expectations.
It is a tool for residents to create their own city's narrative which represents more of their local reality. It is also a guide for travelers exploring the city and its neighborhoods, by providing easy access and tips to enjoy a meaningful, authentic experience by connecting directly with the people who make the local culture.
The biggest learning from the project is how to turn this massive city scale issue into an actionable solution in a short time and limited resource. I found that analyzing the research in the macro and micro level - from the problem landscape to the relationship between people, local government, and businesses helped massively to see the pattern and holistic view of the problem.
I also learned that in a wicked problem, there can be more than 1 leverage point. To discover the best solution, create some hypothesizes and let the people judge what works best by creating rapid prototypes and experimentation with them. The strong point of this project is we are trying to provide the tool where all stakeholders can participate in a short period of time and benefits everyone. The weak point would be we didn’t get a lot of collaboration from the local designers and developers in Barcelona. I would love to develop more skill in pivoting the service proposition faster in order to have more time to test prototype with users.