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Citizens’ Panel

On 19 September 2007, we invited members of the Citizens’ Services Citizens’ Panel to a discussion about the project.

Citizens’ Services will become part of the new Mediaspace, which will also house the new main library of Aarhus.

Key questions

We asked the Citizens’ Panel how to ensure user-friendliness when Citizens’ Services move into the new Mediaspace. Members of the panel were divided into three groups each of which were to discuss and answer one of the following questions:

  • How do you become aware of Citizens’ Services when entering the building?
  • What does the waiting area look like?
  • What could we profitably place near Citizens’ Services?

The groups presented their responses in plenum, which generated many interesting and innovative suggestions.


The request for clear and comprehensible signage was common for all three groups. Mediaspace will be a very large building and signage and information must be well organised in order for people not to get lost easily.

In this regard, inspiration can be found in airports or metros around the world.

Another possibility is that visitors in the house will be met by an employee of Citizens’ Services, a kind of host, who will be able to guide users around.

An ambitious idea was to install conveyor belts to transport the user from A to B.

Waiting area

Regarding the Citizens’ Services waiting area, emphasis was given to Mediaspace’s location near the water, which should be utilised. Why not have a cup of coffee with a view of the sea while waiting for one’s driving license or passport?

Aarhus is historically a seafaring city. Vikings had their entries and places for docking their ships in Aarhus and the location near the water as well as historical significance should be used to create a cosy and comfortable room where people can relax.

Perhaps one could even gain an impression of what it is like to be a fish in an aquarium if a window was made under water?

PCs should be available near the waiting area, enabling people to go online and become informed of the services that Citizens’ Services provide besides passport, driving license and health insurance.

While watching which number you are in line on a large display, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a piece of music coming from an adjoining room with space for a small band or an exhibition.

The children are playing in the ball pit while grandfather looks at brochures for DaneAge Association and mother and father go to the tourist office to see what is worth visiting in and around Aarhus.

This is what a collective plan for Citizens’ Services and the surrounding rooms might look like. It is actually not impossible that some of the requests come to be realised.

The citizens’ panel

The purpose of the citizens’ panel is to involve citizens in the decision-making processes that regard Citizens’ Services.

Citizens’ Services handle e.g. passports, driving licenses and health insurance, and it is therefore an authority which all citizens of Aarhus will encounter at some point.

Knowing what the users think about and request from Citizens’ Services is therefore important.