City Challenges

Focus Groups Debrief: Retrieving Citizens Concerns

Ayuntamiento de Santander, Universidad de Cantabria, TST – Enclave Pronillo

As part of the activities planned in the OrganiCity project for citizenship engagement, a couple of focus groups sessions with citizens of Santander has been carried out in August 2015.

The main aim of these sessions was to gather the views of Santander’s citizens about their life in the city and also to collect an elaborate set of improvement proposals obtained from brainstorming and further discussion.

In order to broaden the perspective of ideas and interests and enrich the discussions, a diversity of citizens (age, occupation, location, …) was requested to participate in the sessions.

To start the sessions, Juan Echevarría from Santander Municipality, presented the project, its main goals and objectives, and explained how the Santander citizenship is a must to reach them.


Afterwards, Laura Rodríguez de Lope and Johnny Choque from the University of Cantabria directed and moderated an open discussion with attending citizens in order to know their daily habits and ask for their personal experiences within the city, extracting interesting conclusions from the different neighbourhoods represented.

At last, Arturo Medela from TST introduced some Smart City concepts to the attendees and collected their input regarding what technical possibilities would they be interested in using to somehow improve their lives in Santander.

Main Results

The sessions have produced a significant amount of information to aid Organicity project to achieve its goals.

Some nice ideas regarding possible mobile applications were collected. It is expected that they will serve as an input for experimenters in OrganiCity open calls.

Furthermore, an increasing interest from citizens to participate in Santander municipality initiatives has been perceived. The idea of being co-creators has catched their attention and interest and they wanted to be active in producing interactions with the Santander city council in order to provide their ideas and point of view about the city.

What’s Next?

The collected information is going to be processed following the qualitative research methodology designed for the three cities which are participating in the project: Aarhus, London and Santander.
The results will form part of the OrganiCity project outcome and will be used to tailor OrganiCity open calls.

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