Designing a viable land for future generations.

Service Design

With IRN & The Portuguese Government

Challenge

To improve the experience of land identification and registration in rural Portugal.

Outcome

Recommendation reports and communication assets.

Client
IRN & The Portuguese Government
Service
Service Design
Location
Portugal
Duration
11 months
fields
Strategy, Communication, Research, UX
team
Tiago Nunes, Miguel Coutinho, Maria Gomes,

Raquel Félix

,

João Joaquim

,

Henrique Neves

Bupi - O Bonito

context

After almost a century of several failed attempts to establish a coherent rural land identification and registration system across the whole of Portugal, in 2017 the Government decided to try a new, digital native approach to finally understand who owns what, and where.

But, would a web-based platform enable an elderly population to register and identify their properties using aerial/satellite images?

our role

01

Evaluate and improve the entire experience of this public service.

02

Devise a mobilisation strategy targeted to local communities.

goal

To map

50%

of the combined territory across the 

10

municipalities.

RESEARCH

We assembled a multidisciplinary team of distinctive brains and fully immersed ourselves in one of the target municipalities, from where we were able to observe, empathise and better understand the ways local people relate to the land.

To learn about the origins, the stories and the relationships people have with their lands.

To see how people actually manage and define the limits of their lands and also learn about their experiences with the existing service.

By putting ourselves into a land identification and registry process, where we even tried to buy an 11,572m2 property.

To self-document our experience.

To involve and generate commitment from local stakeholders.

 

To learn and test different scenarios, experiences and approaches to the population

40

Interviews

30

Observed processes

from users at the information desks

15

Key stakeholders

in participatory design

14

Visited locations

10 municipalities + other similar contexts

5,000

km traveled

Tiago map 2
team in forest

RESULts

Once the recommendations from our service design report started to be implemented, registration skyrocketed.

from

2%

in January

47%

to more than

47%

by November

We weren’t quite satisfied yet, and proposed a redefinition of the vision for the whole project:

using:

  • satellite images
  • historical databases of ownership
  • every bit of publicly available georeferenced data

together with:

  • computer algorithms

in order to understand:

  • the existence of rural properties in a given area
  • their most likely boundaries
  • their probable owners.

Yes, we went from analysing 50 year old documents by hand to deploying big data and machine learning across huge sets of data.

Besides the expansion of the project, improvements of the algorithm and development of visual supports for mass media communication, we are already studying how the data collected can be used to empower entrepreneurs from all over the country to find new ways to enrich rural Portugal.

This project was a finalist at the 2019 Service Design Network Awards in Toronto, Canada; and received the award for the Best Digital Transformation Project at the 2019 Portugal Digital Awards.

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