School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Staff Profile

Dr Sara Heitlinger

Research Associate in Participatory Design


My research interests are in participatory design, sustainability, smart cities, and more-than-human worlds. In my current research, I am developing methods to increase participation of diverse citizens in the design of digital technologies for urban food futures, and interrogating how the visions produced counter traditional top-down, technocentric, and utilitarian narratives of the eco-smart-city. I am also interested in the ways in which humans and other species participate and stake a claim in the digital urban commons.

Before joining Newcastle University, I was a Researcher Co-Investigator on Connected Seeds and Sensors, an 18-month EPSRC-funded Research in the Wild – Internet of Things (IoT) project based at Queen Mary University of London, where I investigated co-designing digital technologies with urban agricultural communities to support more sustainable food consumption and production in the city. The project involved smart sensors, data collection, and an interactive seed library to raise awareness, empower communities and increase participation in sustainable urban food practices. Connected Seeds and Sensors grew out of my PhD work, which I completed at the Media and Arts Technology Doctoral Training Centre at QMUL.