But, even with a one second delay to dissuade double-voting, the Helsinki touch screens had no way of stopping users from repeatedly casting a vote to skew the results. As a result, the votes were not binding, but the outcome could have potentially boosted the winning side’s argument. Even if the votes weren’t official, the visibility and playfulness of the touch screens encouraged people to engage with an important civic issue. Also, a government’s adoption of Facebook-style referendums marks a huge shift in the way we interact with the state.
It’s also interesting that HeyDay chose to place the touch screens near the proposed site of the museum. The vote could have easily taken place online, with no physical “on-site” component. The pop up touch screens show that even with the ability to have conversations and make decisions on the internet, the physical location of the museum remained a very important element of the decision: place matters!
In the end, the Guggenheim plan was rejected by Helsinki’s municipal government. Does this mark the end of starchitecture in the face of crowdsourced urbanism?