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The multiyear cultural programme De Staat van Eindhoven (The State of Eindhoven) looked at the changing relationship between government and citizens and, specifically, Eindhoven’s twofold ambition of being a smart city in a participatory society.

Eindhoven's ambition of being a smart city in a participatory world brings with it an exciting range of conflicts and yet-to-be-named values. Het Nieuwe Instituut facilitated the search for these values and pose a fundamental question that is simple in essence yet complex in practice: why, how, and with whom will Eindhoven’s citizens contribute to building a smart city? Het Nieuwe Instituut and the city of Eindhoven partnered out of a shared belief in the need for a multidisciplinary vision of urban development. Eindhoven’s city council views the changing social contract between government and citizens as partly a cultural issue. And Het Nieuwe Instituut values local field-testing of research into the changing, increasingly interlocking design disciplines it represents.

The DATAstudio was a joint programme of Het Nieuwe Instituut and the City of Eindhoven (2015–2017). It addressed the question of how we can build a smart society rather than just a smart city. In other words, how can we use data and technology to benefit citizens and neighbourhoods? The DATAstudio organised a range of activities, including workshops, lectures, school programmes and the Embassy of Data, always with the aim of understanding or supplementing collected data. We asked aloud how we should handle data and the associated technological possibilities. And we looked at how we might use them to build better neighbourhoods together. The Embassy of Data constituted the conclusion of the three-year DATAstudio project.

Below some highlights of the project. For the latest news read 'Blogposts', read more background information on the project or the maps, or the archive of past reports and events.

The programme concluded with a  digital publication in which Dan Hill, Anab Jain, Sukanya Krishnamurthy, Klaas Kuitenbrouwer, Ekim Tan and Linda Vlassenrood (ed.) place the work of DATAstudio in a broader context.


In the DATAstudio, part of the State of Eindhoven project, available data and technological possibilities are married with the reality of life in the city and local residents’ needs. What can the smart city do to enhance social life in a neighbourhood? And how might technology help to encourage citizen participation?

Embassy of Data

The Embassy of Data, a multi-day programme during the World Design Event in Eindhoven, will aim to raise awareness of the possibilities and opportunities presented by data but also the threats and inadequacies. An exhibition, a varied programme of workshops and serious games, and an international conference will introduce visitors to some of the questions around data and its often invisible impact on our everyday lives. The Embassy of Data concludes the three-year programme of De Staat van Eindhoven.


Design session DDW

During the Dutch Design Week, the DATAstudio will go looking for how we can make subjects without data visible in the digital map together with officials, designers, data experts and ordinary citizens. 

Essay: Participation in the Smart City

Evelien Tonkens

The combination of smart technology and participation may sound promising, but the reality is fraught with perils. In this essay Evelien Tonkens, Professor of Citizenship and Humanization of the Public Sector at the University of Humanistic Studies, Utrecht, and member of the State of Eindhoven advisory board, explains why.

Being smart the smart way

Tsjalling Swierstra

Introducing smart technology at the neighbourhood level is a bit like getting married. You have to think about it carefully beforehand, since you're entering into the relationship for the long haul. In this essay, Tsjalling Swierstra, professor of the philosophy of technology at Maastricht University, describes a few problems to keep in mind as we design new sociotechnological systems.

The State of Eindhoven
Linda Vlassenrood

This project is part of the programme track Partner projects and the folder Research.

The multiyear cultural programme The State of Eindhoven)looks at the changing relationship between government and citizens and, specifically, Eindhoven’s twofold ambition of being a “smart city” in a participatory society.