6 Themes

We haven’t particularly mentioned them to date, but Dublin City Beta Projects uses 6 themes when trying to prioritise which Beta Projects macro to next work on. (Also see the blog sidebar where they’re shown.)


(This image was taken as part of street conversations by Dublin City Council’s Studio.)

These are…

  1. Identity, Communication and Ownership
    • Eg: Dublin and individual neighbourhoods having distinct character.
    • Eg: When are you allowed to do a piece of street art, and when not? How does the City Council make decisions. Who to talk to if you’re trying to do something (for example if something overlaps with several City Council departments).
    • Eg: If you would like to do something on your street – for example hold a street feast – can you?
  2. Environmental
    • Eg: People wanting more of the positive – such as more trees, plants, animals and nature in general (often called “biophilia” – ie “love of nature”).
    • Eg: People wanting less of the negatives – such as places feeling littered, chewing gum on streets, light pollution (and not being able to see stars), air pollution, noise pollution (people being able to sleep restfully at night).
  3. Moving and Resting
    • Eg: Walking, cycling, driving. And aspects such as when it rains, people use umbrellas, which can make tight pavements more awkward to use.
    • Eg: Having somewhere to sit (for eg street benches), or being able to sit somewhere without being moved on (for example, teenagers).
  4. Safety and Street Hassles
    • Eg: People feeling unsafe on streets at certain locations or times.
    • Eg: People being annoyed by ‘chugging‘ or ‘agressive begging‘.
  5. Expense
    • Eg: People felt that they had to spend money whilst they were in the city centre, and that it was an expensive place to be. (It’s worth noting, that only a tiny minority mentioned the cost of car parking as a disincentive to visiting the city centre – a theme that often felt to be prominent.)
  6. Added Value
    • Eg: Getting more out of what we already have. For example neighbours holding a barbecue in their nearby park.

…and we weight them in that order (ie the ‘Identity, Communication and Ownership’ is considered higher priority than the ‘Added Value’ theme).

Where did these 6 themes come from?

These came from a variety of sources during the Designing Dublin project, including ‘street conversations’ (such as the type shown below) which took place across the city and ‘scheduled conversations‘.



Scheduled Conversation

(All three of the images here are from the Designing Dublin project.)

We’ve also compared them to the themes that the Your Dublin Your Voice surveys have found, and have found them to be very similar and in similar order of hierarchy (the main exception being that the first theme seems to be unique to the Designing Dublin project, perhaps due to the particular questions which were asked).

The Studio have also run multiple street conversations recently (side note: and have also since created a toolkit for how to run them).

How do we use these 6 themes?

We use them when trying to prioritise a Beta Project macro suggestion. For example if an idea would address 4 of the 6 themes, it should (naturally) be prioritised over one which only addresses 1 of the 6 themes. (We only have a limited amount of resources such as staff time and also budget.)

We, so far, have only tried Beta Projects that would primarily sit within Themes 1-3 (of course they might also be indirectly addresses the final three themes – the traffic light box artworks are one such example – they’re primarily about themes 1 and 2, but also indirectly address theme 6).

We’ve three reasons for this:

  1. They’re the items that people in Dublin would appear most to want addressed.
  2. The latter three are trickier (more political and so forth), and as the Beta Projects are run as a part-time innovation time project, with limited time and resources and political capital, we decided to narrow the focus to the first three themes only.
  3. Dublin City Beta Projects also want to facilitate ‘bottom-up’ activity (alongside ‘middle-out’ and ‘top-down’), and to do so the first theme becomes very relevant.

Do they apply to Beta Project micro?

We have yet to look at Beta Projects micro, but it’s likely that local areas of the city will have their own unique priorities.

However it’s also very likely that the above city-wide (macro) themes will be similar to what emerges at local (micro) level, perhaps with some additional ones – or in a slightly different order of priority.


As always, please comment below if you’ve any feedback on this!


About Dublin City Council beta

Dublin City Council are trying a new method called DCC Beta Projects...your input, then quick trials 'on the street', then your feedback! We'd LOVE your help!
This entry was posted in Beta Project macro, General Thoughts & Future Betas, Shane, Strategy. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 6 Themes

  1. Pingback: Themed Kanban Tables | Dublin City Beta Projects

  2. Pingback: Beta Projects – Priorities | Dublin City Council Beta Projects

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