The ZK Social Labs

UI/UX Design
Project Overview
The main component of my Master's coursework was working in teams of four on complex design challenges brought to us by external clients. Wonam, an Amsterdam based housing development company, asked by team to design a solution that would create acceptance of their latest housing development project:  The ZK Building. The ZK Building is a mid-range apartment complex and co-working facility located in the Bijlmermeer, a neighborhood in the southeast of Amsterdam that has been undergoing an intense urban transformation period.
My Contributions
I worked on this project with four other designers, and took on a role conducting UX research and visual design. Together with Danny, the other Dutch speaking member of my team, I interviewed different community members in the Bijlmermeer and ran a series of field probes to gather information about life in the Bijlmer. After the team decided on a service design concept for our final deliverable, my teammate Niovi and I worked together to create an animation explaining the service, and the benefits Wonam would be offering to the local community by implementing it.
ZK Social Labs website mockups
As our team was tasked with creating acceptance of ZK building and its residents within the larger community, we began our project by getting ourselves familiar with the neighborhood of the Bijlmermeer. We visited the area and conducted interviews with community members, placed a comment box in a local community center to gather anonymous opinions and feedback, and gave out disposable cameras to local residents to get more open-ended data on the feelings and values of the local residents.

After analyzing our research, we found out that the locals highly value diversity and multiculturalism. But while newcomers are welcomed, we learned that there are fears of the repercussions of gentrification that a large influx of expats could bring to the area. Our main findings were:
  • There is a strong sense of community
  • High demand for affordable social housing
  • Fear of gentrification
  • Lack of activities and facilities, especially for the youth and elderly
  • Willingness to participate, there are lots of social initiatives working in the area
Wonam Housing Developers
Master Digital Design Coursework
Teammates: Gabriel Castro, Niovi Chatzipoufli, Danny Nguyen
February 2020 — June 2020

Some notable quotes from our interviews.

Given that our original task of “creating acceptance” is quite a broad topic, we used the ‘How Might We’ to method to narrow down our problem space. We defined the following three possible directions for our project:

After some discussion with our client, we made a decision to focus on ideating around the first direction because it would be the most impactful and suitable for the current needs of the local community.

How might we use the building to create opportunities and benefits for the local community?
How might we diagram

The outcomes of the How Might We exercise.

After a few rounds of ideating on which opportunities and benefits could be created for the local community, we realized that in order for our project to be truly beneficial to the residents over a long period of time, our solution needed to be able to adjust to the changing needs of the community. Furthermore, the community already has many social initiatives and community groups working in the area. We shifted our focus from trying to create something concrete inside the building, to using the building to give these social initiatives the space and resources they need to provide the community with the most benefit.

Our proposed solution, the ZK Social Labs program, is a service that provides social initiatives working on improving the neighborhood with funding and workspace inside the new building. Every 6 months, all of the social initiatives in the area are invited to share their project ideas on the ZK Social Labs platform, and the local community is invited to vote for their favorite initiative. The top 3 initiatives receive a workspace inside the building to realize their projects. Wonam has pledged to donate 1% of the revenue generated by the renters and businesses to these initiatives to fund their work.

Value proposition canvas
Service Design Blueprint

The Value Proposition Canvas and Service Design Blueprints that were used to develop our concept.

My team and I fleshed out every aspect of how the ZK Social Labs will need to work. Using service design tools, we created a step by step guide of how to implement the program. Alongside these service blueprints, my team delivered design specifications for a website that could be used to facilitate the application process for the program and increase community engagement, as well as an animated video explaining how the system works and it's benefits for the community. Wonam hopes to present this video to the municipality of Amsterdam as well as their investors to gain additional funding for the ZK Social Labs Program.

The full service blueprint can be downloaded here
ZK Social Labs Project page

A sample project page on the ZK Social Labs website.

ZK Social Labs Animation character designs

My character designs for within the animation.

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