Citizen Interaction Design

Citizen Interaction Design (CID) partners rising information professionals with Michigan communities to create information tools for twenty-first century citizens.

New information tools have transformed many industries in the past several years, but have rarely been applied to interactions between local governments and their citizens. Now, more than ever before, citizenship is dependent on both access to, and participation in creation of information. New information tools could help citizens to engage with their community in constructive, effective ways. And, in the process, those tools would help local government to better enable and support that citizen interaction.

University of Michigan students from all disciplines are invited to take part in the Citizen Interaction Design experience.  The program offers School of Information students the opportunity to enroll in SI 538 Citizen Interaction Design Studio, a four-credit interdisciplinary course that engage students in the development of information tools that promote citizen engagement with their local government.  Students can also participate in summer internships with local Michigan municipalities, attend speakers on civic engagement topics, attend our bi-annual #micities conference, or work with program leadership to initiate their own civic technology project.

Though three-year partnerships, CID connects partner communities with University of Michigan student teams through, classes, service projects, internships, and other activities. Together, they develop new information tools that foster civic engagement on a broad range of topics, including local history, public access to government data, police interaction, recycling, vermin control, and many other topics.

CID extends traditional project-based learning beyond single-semester projects. The three-year partnerships with communities provide an opportunity for curricular and co-curricular activities throughout the year. The novel aspects of Citizen Interaction Design include:

  • Long-term, year-round partnership with a city to facilitate sustainable projects
  • Professional staff supplementing student work
  • Dedicated administrative staff who will manage projects
  • Co-learning opportunities for students and city partners

Citizen Interaction Design is an initiative from the University of Michigan School of Information. UMSI has a long history of involvement in community-focused initiatives; students, faculty, and staff regularly design and maintain projects, which directly benefit communities close to home and around the globe.