Visit Stockholm is Stockholm’s official destination marketing company. Their mission is to position and develop Stockholm as an accessible and attractive place to visit, using the ‘Stockholm – The Capital of Scandinavia’ brand.
“The public has an increased understanding that travel can be problematic in a range of ways, and demand for sustainable travel is growing, both societally and environmentally. There is also greater interest in creating an image of the destination before the visit itself, so people can prepare for their trip and then talk about it with friends and family on returning home,” says Sofia Lundmark, programme coordinator for ICT, Media and Design, and responsible for the project.
In the collaboration, students from the programme focused on using creative design methods to tackle challenges related to potentially visiting Stockholm without travelling, and to sharing experiences in an innovative manner. Making the most of travellers’ voices in a meaningful way, as well as encouraging participation and influence over travel, were vital.
The starting point for students participating in the project was that visitors’ opinions were shaped by internet searches about the destination, and they visited a range of sites for tips and recommendations. The second part was done by showing photographs, films and other material gathered on social media or in a mobile phone. It is evident that being able to step into the city without actually visiting has become more important, and that more ways to experience Stockholm are necessary for people who are unable to travel for reasons such as disability, age, finances or the climate.
Descriptions of challenges that were developed as part of the project with Visit Stockholm are:
- How can I reduce the climate impact of travel by visiting Stockholm without travelling?
- How can I utilise technology to drive the development of travel in the city?
- How can the experience of visiting Stockholm be shared with friends and family so that it also enhances their experience of the visit?
The students worked on these challenges for five weeks, starting from a user perspective by interviewing and observing tourists and inhabitants in Stockholm, as well as visiting tourist attractions and destinations in the Stockholm region. These meetings allowed students to see the visitors’ needs and to gain valuable insights, helping them create innovative design solutions for capturing people’s voices in new ways to travel without leaving home.
One thing they did was to develop a service in which Visit Stockholm offers livestreams from Stockholmers. They show their favourite places, and provide an interactive map where users can navigate through Stockholm and zoom in on places they want to experience, watch videos and read information. There are also digital games where your avatar is your digital guide and your face is the main character in a live-streamed urban adventure.
The students also created a range of apps, such as one for families for easy travel planning, an app to simplify public transport for the elderly, and one that helps people with minor cognitive impairments travel to and from Stockholm. Other concepts that were developed were special train carriages with a fun and welcoming atmosphere for young families, focusing on safety, security and acceptance, an app that promotes environmentally friendly options for tourists and, finally, a website that uses sounds installations to convey the sounds of Stockholm and promote it as a city of culture.
“What makes our concept different is that we provide a genuine sense of the city. The city consists of buildings, but culture and street life are at its heart. That is what makes the city unique. We provide users with a unique experience by substituting the feeling of standing in the streets through local artworks that portray Stockholm and a soundscape that represents its rich culture and language. We provide the opportunity to see Stockholm in every season, and listen to how this affects the city’s sounds. Jump straight into the city’s local time and watch it wake up or fall asleep. We are not displaying Stockholm, we are displaying the actual feel of Stockholm!”