Search graduate:

    Erik Heiki Veelmaa

  • Industrial and Digital Product Design
  • BA
  • Small Cities 2.0 - The Role of Design in Securing the Future of Estonia's Small Cities and Future Transport Trends in 2050
  • Tutor: Janno Nõu MSc

Estonian small cities have been shrinking for quite some time now. This thesis addresses the population decline in Estonia’s small cities, proposing design-led solutions via speculative and system design methodologies.The study introduces a novel concept – city personas – which are formulated through statistics, historical analysis, field research, interviews, and mapping. These personas represent a variety of city types (industrial, resort, decentralised) and serve as tools to articulate real cities’ personality, aspirations, and challenges.

Persona city visualisations

Combining the personas with design methods like the Futures Wheel, Worst Case Scenario, and backcasting, develops a methodological blueprint, which can be used to investigate the effect of strategies from sustainable shrinkage to community gardens. Using future transport trends as an example, I utilized the process to demonstrate the use of the methodologies and propose a vision of possible transportation solutions in the year 2050. Overall, the thesis underlines the significance of design in shaping the future of small cities. The introduced city personas serve as a robust tool for creating localized solutions and the proposed transportation system concepts provide input for possible future solutions.