Gender in het ontwerp van De Digitale Stad Amsterdam


  • Rommes,Els
  • Oost,Ellen van
  • Oudshoorn,Nelly


Information technology, Technological progress, Sexism, Netherlands, Sexual inequality, Internet, Human technology relationship, Sex differences


Gender and the Design-Process of the First Digital City in the Netherlands. In January 1993, the first digital city in the Netherlands was opened in Amsterdam. This city, 'De Digitale Stad' (DDS), was inspired by the American 'FreeNet' systems and the push-button democracy of Al Gore. The original designers saw DDS as an instrument to invoke political discussion and to open up the Internet for a larger public. The main person behind DDS was a woman: the organizations involved in the design included cultural and political organization as well as people from the hackers-circuit and the government. Public terminals were installed throughout Amsterdam, and DDS attracted a fairly high number of new users to the Internet, although the number of women among the inhabitants of DDS was not higher than elsewhere on the Internet. In an attempt to find out why DDS did not succeed in attracting a more diverse group of users to the Internet, the design process of DDS was studied, considering gender at structural, symbolic, and identity levels. Madeleine Akrich's notion of 'script' is used as a theoretical basis. According to Akrich, during the design process, user representations of the designers are consciously or unconsciously built into technological objects. A new technology may fail to become accepted by groups of users if the framework of action or the script of the technology is not compatible with what users want of the technology. In the design-process of DDS, the designers made no conscious choices as to which users DDS was meant for and as a result used the 'I-methodology,' which used themselves as exemplars for 'the user.' Although the designers of DDS were of both sexes and all shared a fascination for new technology and its possibilities their attempts to draw in as many different users as possible resulted in a design process that unconsciously was constructed that better fit masculine users than feminine users. 2 Figures, 61 References. Adapted from the source document.

Biografieën auteurs


Oost,Ellen van