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Meeting with the Citizen Panel of Citizens’ Services

On 19 September, members of Citizens’ Services’ Citizen Panel were invited to the Town Hall. The purpose of the citizen panel is to involve citizens in decision-making processes concerning Citizens’ Services. Citizens’ Services handles, among other things, passports, driving licenses and national health insurance and is thus an authority which all people in Aarhus will have a need for at some point. It is therefore important to know the users’ opinions of and wishes for Citizens’ Services.

Citizens’ Services to change location

In 2014, Citizens’ Services will be part of the new Mediaspace on the harbour. Mediaspace will, apart from Citizens’ Services, house Aarhus’ new main library. Although 2014 can seem a long way away it is necessary to start planning the building now as the architectural competition starts next year. Mediaspace will be the citizens’ building and their opinions must be conveyed to architects and project owner.

Focus on user-friendliness

Following words of welcome by Alderman Flemming Knudsen, Citizens’ Services’ Citizen Panel was asked how user-friendliness is ensured, when Citizens’ Services move into the new Mediaspace. After a short presentation by Mediaspace project manager Marie Østergård, the participants were divided into three groups. Each group was to discuss and answer one of the following questions:

  • How do you spot Citizens’ Services when you enter Mediaspace?
  • What does the waiting area look like?
  • What can advantageously be placed close to Citizens’ Services?

Wish for clear signage

The wish for clear and comprehensible signage was common for all three groups. The 21,000 m2 in Mediaspace is a large area and one would easily get lost in such a building if the signage and information is not in place. Inspiration for signage can be found in airports and subways around the world. Alternatively, a member of staff at Citizens’ Services could greet visitors and act as a kind of host who guides the users to their destination. One ambitious idea was to install conveyor belts which could transport visitors from A to B.

Enjoy the view and the music while you wait

In the waiting area for Citizens’ Services, focus was on utilising Mediaspace’s location close to the water. Why not enjoy a cup of coffee with a view of the sea while waiting to have one’s driving license or passport issued? Historically, Aarhus is a seafaring city. The 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.

Parking must be adequate and free, when one is waiting for one’s passport. There should be PCs nearby allowing Internet-access and printing and information about what Citizens’ Services can help with other than passport, driving license and national health insurance.

While watching which number you are in line on a large display, you should 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.

The ideas are used

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. It is the wishes and inspiration of the citizens which carry the project and the meeting with the citizen panel is just one of several initiatives involving citizens and interested parties in the idea development for Mediaspace. Follow the project on our website and see how you can make your voice heard.