Information Desk

Information desk is a counter where people may obtain information. Typically, it has a human operator and is located in public buildings, such as airport, library, train station, etc.

Basic Information on the Method
Mode of communication
Group size
31 and more
Geographical scale
Public space, Neighbourhood, City
Skills required
Resources needed
Low, Medium
Level of Involvement
Level of involvement
Type of knowledge enabled
Additional Criteria
Planning phase
Initiatiion, Planning & Design
Methodological approach

How to use the method

  1. Decide on the functions, size and location of the Information desk. Do you need a permanent or temporary facility, mobile or stationary? Do you want to use it solely for communicating the information about the ongoing plans? Or do you want to introduce additional functions, such as co-working or event spaces? The Information desk should be easily accessible by the prospective users, e.g. located in the city centre next to the main transportation hubs.
  2. Think of the opening times. Is it going to be a final destination for the prospective users or a place to drop by on your place to/from work. Perhaps, the desk should be open on workdays in the evenings and/or on weekends in the afternoon.
  3. Decide, who is going to be responsible for setting up and maintenance of the Information desk. Decide, what type of content do you want to display there and who is responsible for preparing such content. Usually, Information desks are funded by the City and communicate the information related to the ongoing detailed and master plans. It is helpful to appoint a curator and a technician, who are going to prepare the content.
  4. When the Desk is established, communicate the information about it in the media. Trace the everyday activity of the users and gather their feedback.

What are the outcomes

Information hub in the city where people can get the information about the ongoing plans.

Skills required

Skills required from participants - Basic

  • If the Information desk does not contain any additional functions, then citizens use it solely fo getting informed about the ongoing plans, and no special skills are required.

Resources needed

Resources - Low, Medium

  • Depending on the format and the content of the Information desk resources may vary. If it is just a counter with some paper based information, the expenses are relatively low. If it uses some state-of-the-art visualisation technologies or has some additional functions, then the expensed are higher.

Strengths and weaknesses

  • An efficient tool to convey information to the citizens
  • May include additional functions, e.g. collecting paper-based citizen opinions and proposals about the ongoing plans
  • The human operator can explain the planning documents to the laymen
  • Excludes those people, for whom the location is inaccessible and/or the opening times are unsuitable
  • In peak hours may have long queues and waiting times
  • May be inefficient, if limited solely to one function of conveying the information

Use cases

Laituri - Helsinki, Finland, since 2008

Laituri is an urban information centre in Helsinki established in 2008. Attached to the Helsinki Municipality’s city planning department, Laituri helps disseminating information about the city’s development plans and new projects through exhibitions and presentations. Instead of being a one-directional communication channel, Laituri also acts as an interface for feedbacks from citizens: with the help of workshops and discussions, the centre plays a key role in participation processes addressing urban transformation in the Finnish capital (Polyák, 2017) .

Try one of these tools & resources

  1. Polyák L. (2017) Laituri Helsinki - an urban laboratory to make strategies alive. Cooperative city magazine. Available at: