Launch of the MUV App in Amsterdam

On Friday, October 5, Waag hosted an Amsterdam-based app launch for the MUV project with local elderly in Buitenveldert. It marked a significant moment for both Waag and the community members, who have been working together to co-creatively develop aspects of the MUV app in the first months of 2018. The effort is part of a continent-wide project funded by the European Commission that aims to encourage sustainable mobility on a neighborhood level.

Up to this point, live co-creation sessions held with Buitenveldert residents helped to identify some of the neighborhood’s most pressing needs as identified by citizens. A desire to have more interaction and cohesion between neighborhood residents is a priority for them; another priority is to be an active neighborhood that makes the most of their outdoor space – a particularly green area that sits between two of Amsterdam’s largest metroparks.

With these considerations in mind, Waag was interested in using the MUV app launch to test how the app (a points-based game that rewards users for walking or cycling instead of driving, for instance) could be used to foster active, outdoor community cohesion. In a fortunate opportunity, we were able to partner our app launch with the neighbourhood’s ‘Week van de Ontmoeting’ (Week of Encounters) which was also encouraging Buitenveldert residents to meet and have high-quality social interactions with one another.

Our launch began with an introductory session including new faces as well as returning members of our co-creative community. We quickly got to work installing the app on phones in preparation for our morning walk.

 

A Buitenveldert resident reviews the Kwiek Route brochure after having installed the MUV app.

Our community walk was done in partnership with a local physiotherapist, who led our group along an existing path in the neighborhood known as the ‘Kwiek Route’ (Nimble Route). The route is designed particularly for senior citizens in the area to help them maintain strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance. With the apps running, we completed our route, comparing ‘scores’ from the app, exercising together, and having conversation along the way. During the route, other people from the community who took notice of our group also joined in to take part in some of the exercise routines which are placed along the walking route.

 

Led by a local physiotherapist, Buitenveldert residents participate in one of the many exercises along the Kwiek Route.

The session ended with a small lunch, where we discussed opinions regarding the app, its fittingness to the neighborhood, and the morning’s activities. Although the app has been built largely to inspire sustainable transportation choices, its launch in Buitenveldert also proved it to be a successful tool to promote community exercise.