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From Finland to the world: How a scalable startup disrupts city planning

Open data and citizen engagement equals sustainable cities of the future.

CHAOS architects was founded in Helsinki in 2016, and since then it has been steadily claiming its place in the smart city and urban planning industry. Up to this day, CHAOS architects is the only European startup that addresses the smart city challenge, combining citizen engagement and big data with AI.


Data lies at the heat of the smart city. The technologies that are being developed for the smart city have created 90% of the data in the world in the last two years alone. It is obvious that there is a giant influx of data being generated, which also means there is a growing demand for a solution that is able to refine, organise, and visualise this data.

What is often left aside in the industry, currently buzzing with variety of sensors and IoT networks are citizens. Citizens themselves are the source of highly valuable data, since, after all, they are the end users of a smart city.

Why do we combine these two elements — citizens and open data — and why it is important?

According to McKinsey’s recent report “Smart cities: digital solutions for a more livable future”, citizen engagement is one of the key pillars in the smart city. First of all, “when governments open their data, and publicly track progress on the goals they have set, citizens are in a better position to hold government accountable.” Secondly, McKinsey highlights 4 areas of engagement tools’ applicability: 1) Reporting non-emergency incidents, 2) following political processes online, 3) participating in digital city initiatives, 4) using digital channels to express opinions to local decision makers. Finally, citizen engagement tools can double the percentage of residents who feel connected to the local community, and triple the percentage of those who feel connected to local governments.

CHAOS architects aims to address two areas listed in the report: participating in digital city initiatives and using digital channels to express opinions to local decision makers. By providing a two-sided and a holistic solution, this in its core differentiates CHAOS architects from alternatives in the market.


Usual practices in urban planning for reaching people include polling people, conducting questionnaires and arranging info-meetings. What we aim at CHAOS architects is to digitalise and optimise these traditional practices of obtaining crowd insights for urban projects.

Our free app “Happycity” is designed to engage people and boost their urban creativity. In addition, citizens’ creativity will lead to an investment of ‘social capital’ in urban development.

A developer, an urban planner, an architect, a municipality, or a city; anyone responsible for crowdsourcing and analytics of a project, will be able to maximise people’s outreach by area through geofencing and zip code targeted questionnaires. In a matter of seconds a questionnaire will be delivered to relevant groups of people, directly to their phones, via push notifications.

The interactive project management feature in Happycity, enables communication between a project manager and a citizen in both directions. This way, it allows a project manager i to react to creative proposals of citizens real-time, and monitor received feedback. Such virtual interaction will empower citizens and enhance the level of acceptance of urban planning projects. For project managers, two-way communication brings more alternatives to an urban project in its planning stage.

In the development planning stage, it is crucial to reach diversity. One of the current challenges for Helsinki city is reaching particular segments of the population. Helsinki is a young and vibrant city driven by the youth, but it still lacks the information about the way people use the city. It is challenging to receive representative data from every group of society, including younger generations. In this sense, a mobile application with a lean and interactive and gamified interface with is a perfect tool to address this challenge.


Data is power that can serve many purposes.

Combining different layers of data — citizen demographics, open and licenses data on real estate, mobility, and sustainability — will provide an end user with a comprehensive analysis about cities and areas, and support sustainable planning and decision-making. Identified trends, analysed by AI algorithms, will dissect an ongoing dynamic in cities and forecast the optimal direction for urban development. It will be done through an assessment of spatial inequalities and segregation in cities and metropolitan areas from multiple perspectives.

Part of demographics obtained through Happycity and displayed in CHAOS AI Dashboard

Data variables (Extract from CHAOS Data Dashboard)

Having all key smart city data gathered within one dashboard — environment and sustainability, housing and real estate, transportation, and citizen insights — makes the CHAOS dashboard a de facto smart city platform that may be applied to many urban projects for smart and sustainable solutions.

CHAOS solution provides urban planners with:

1. Advanced geofencing and audience targeting

2. Real-time data & prediction analysis

3. Dynamic & automated reporting

4. Holistic perception of urban environments

5. Hard facts on how citizens relate and engage with their direct surroundings

For any inquires reach us at hello(at)

- We at CHAOS architects will be happy to have a chat with you and show you our CHAOS Data Dashboard and Happycity tool during the Smart city Nordic conference this year. We are looking forward to meeting you at our stand on the 30th and 31st of October, 2018.

On Wednesday, 31 Natalia Rincon, CEO of CHAOS architects, will talk about “How citizen and artificial intelligence are building the cities of the future” during the Digital Transformation - Disruptive technologies section.

Meanwhile, you can request a demo or connect with us on Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram

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