Smart Spaces

Citizens help to shape the city of the future.

City of People

Although Ghent already is a pretty good place to live, the city is still facing a number of complex challenges, such as: How to make sure elderly people don’t get lonely? How can we guarantee an (affordable) roof over people's heads? How can we use energy that is more local, cleaner and at the same time affordable? Can we turn cultural buildings into future proof, participation-friendly hot spots?

In the City of People co-creation process we are tackling such challenges. We aim to develop, build and test innovative solutions in a highly participative and collaborative process. The keyword here really is cooperation: we get citizens, civil servants, local companies and academic experts to work together.

Smart Museum challenge

The wise museum, a collaborative place for citizens.
In this challenge, the City of People is working on smart spaces and smart buildings. More specifically we are giving shape to the museum of the future.


Smarter spaces and buildings in the cultural sector

Visitors and staff of museums in Ghent have a lot of ideas on the how future museums could be. They could be citizen driven spaces with interaction at their core. We are seeing such buildings evolve to so called smart spaces, where technology enables new ways of visiting and enriched experiences. But how can this vision, including its underlying technical layers, be implemented in traditional, perhaps old and outdated (museum) buildings? We need to rethink the buildings and their architecture, in line with how we envision a museum of the future.

The challenge: define the cultural building of the future together with citizens, governments, universities and companies.

Core questions:

  • Which expectations do we have for cultural buildings of the future?
  • How will using such buildings look, and what will it feel like?
  • What kinds of experiences will we want to have in and around them?
  • How will technology fit seamlessly into all of this?
  • Which are the criteria and conditions we could build in now to ensure the adoption of current and future technologies?



The Design Museum Gent is building a new wing, called Ding! (Thing!) – Design In Gent. They want this new building to be highly multifunctional, flexible and freely accessible. The City of Ghent, Ghent University, imec and Digipolis are cooperating to help achieve this target. Aligned with the City of People-vision, a diverse group of stakeholders was brought on board as well: museum visitors, museum guides, cultural associations, architecture and design specialists, curators and researchers from the museum, technology/innovation experts, public opinion-makers, academics, companies, …

This diverse group is defining how technology could be integrated in present & future buildings, so that these buildings can become smart spaces.

Activities so far included:

  1. Defining our vision and ambitions for the museum of the future.
  2. Idea generation: what kind of participative activities should a new cultural building facilitate?
  3. Analysing technological implications and crucial infrastructure. We consulted a multidisciplinary group of technical experts.
  4. Defining conditions for smart buildings: how to engage architects and design teams in our future vision?


More information? E-mail us at:

City of People