Research group at imec & Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Michelle Boonen


Personal Description

Although I grew up in what they call the countryside of Belgium, cities are my biggest passion. All these people who mostly are unknown to each other, yet still share a sort of interlinked city identity… They have always intrigued me. Studying how novel technologies are part of this citizenship, and what it could mean for city services and the future of the city, has now become part of daily professional work. By applying co-creation tools in a living lab environment, combined with big data and user interaction, I strive to provide insight on how to design smart city services.

I graduated with a master’s degree in new media and society in Europe in 2016 (Vrije Universiteit Brussel). My master’s thesis was on digital billboard modalities in the public/private space. I obtained an additional master in international relations and diplomacy in 2017 (Universiteit Antwerpen) where I focused on identity constructions of minorities. I joined SMIT as a user researcher in March 2017, with a focus on smart cities related to the City-of-Things project in Antwerp. This concerns different Smart City projects related to mobility (Citizen Bike), environment (Airquality) and citizen participation (Wappr).