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Service Design (MA)

Astha Johri

Hello! I’m a Serivce designer with a background in Design Research and I believe in building seamless expriences for the people. 

Using systems thinking and strategy, I design evidence based solutions for complex urban-city ecosystem and drive innovation within organisations. I started my career as a Design Researcher at Tata Consultancy Services, designing research mechanisms to address urban challenges and Smart City experiences with multi-disciplinary teams. Working with emerging technology and an experimental mindset, I aim to transform organisations by aligning their business needs to those of the people and the planet. 

At RCA, I had the opportunity to build on my human-centred skills while I designed, AI powered smart home-ecosystem for Kids with Alpha, Telefonica. I also addressed the rising air pollution issue by designing a mobility strategy for the City of Bradford and Interreg, designed an app based solution to enable people to easily shift to sustainable lifestyle for BBC and envisioned the future of consulting services by designing an employee expectation management tool for Thought Works. All of which also brought out the entreprenuer in me.You can see them here

Since the past 6 months, along with my colleague Francesco, I’ve explored my interest in ‘Urban Resilience’ and ‘Resilient Cities’. Working in collaboration with Camden Council we’ve created a better way of managing and using Green Infrastructure that amplifies the mental, physical and social benefits that it brings to the citizens.

Going ahead, I see myself working with organisations that are keen on making a positive impact on society and the environment by giving priority to the needs of the people and the planet, alongwith their business goals. I believe my ability to capture complex narratives, frame and communicate the right problems, easily navigate ambiguity, while working collaboratively enables me to create robust and sustainable solutions. 

Just trying to design for a better future, you know?





Degree Details

School of Design

Service Design (MA)

Piece of mind.

Blurring line of Public-Private

Future of Governance and user-centered innovation

Re-imagining the future blueprint of how we interact with a city and its systems


Change cannot be limited to top-down.We see a rise in social movements because change is not always a result of policies. But the power of people. I'm interested in empowering communities while working closely with people who are in position of making decisions and drive change that is inclusive and real.. 

The old structures and ways of working are being challenged each day, with or without a pandemic. I want to be part of this new creation, that is new mindsets, rituals, thoughts and an evolved understanding of human behaviour. 

Using tools of empathy, imagination,intuition and mostly self belief. 

The world we are entering will not be satisfied with a quality service experience, its looking for a sustainable and a just one, where the focus is on impact and agency. With this, I want to address the complexities of living in the data driven economy and designing for minute nuances of the human experience. Whether that is in city services or innovation within organisations. Being part of a new wave of social innovation driven directly by ecological motivation.  

RCA has given me the ability to look beyond what’s given and what’s already there - the current state of affairs and then be brave enough to imagine an alternative while using all the tools and skills to bring it closest to reality.  

I’ve experienced the power that comes with working in a diverse setup, embracing a pool of perspectives from very unique individuals and finding my own voice in the process. 

As Michelle Obama said, "Look at people more than Stats. Instead, focus on their stories. Ask them questions differently, ask them different questions. To create something different, you have to look at things differently with optimism." 

More of my thoughts and work on my portfolio 

INTRODUCTION TO LOT — LOT is a public digital platform that enables community stewardship of urban green space. It enables citizens to take up stewardship of land patches in their local area and convert un-used or neglected spaces into green micro-sites. The platform has three main features: 1. A lot to do: Via a digital map, citizens can view ongoing initiatives and find the right fit for them to volunteer. 2. Adopt a lot : Citizens can see the closest patch available to them and claim it upon presentation of a deserving project plan. 3. A lot to say: A community forum to express your opinion about what's going on LOT's near you

THE CONTEXT — The context we explored — Francesco and Astha introduce the context they dived into prior designing LOT.
THE PROBLEMS — The Problem — Francesco and Astha describe LOT's problem area and the user pain points they encountered in their research.
THE SOLUTION — The Solution — Watch how LOT's user experience addresses the outlined problems

HOW IT WORKS? — How it works — Working alongside landowners, we standardise the terms and conditions of use of land and provide a digital contract for meanwhile use. These patches are listed on the digital platform that can then be claimed by citizens as 'stewards', 'co-stewards' or 'volunteers' on providing a proposal plan.

BenefitImage — LOT's benefit for London — The three main areas we see LOT contributing to London and Londoners' wellbeing.

This project is done in collaboration with Camden Council


Using Service Design methodologies, Astha and Francesco, explore the application of concepts like Urban Resilience and Food citizenship in shaping London’s green spaces.

Green spaces are an integral part of British culture. In the past, it was about Victory Gardens, today it is about a rising interest for biodiverse neighbourhoods.However, urbanisation massively reduced the space for such endeavours and budget cuts obliged local authorities to give a lower priority to the maintenance of small patches across London, which are mostly enjoyed by locals.

Doctors and academics reaffirm the benefits that green spaces provide to the city in terms of resilience to climate change, food security and health and wellbeing for those who interact actively with them.

The growing interest of citizens in green spaces and biodiversity was evident in several citizen’s assemblies that led Councils across London to formally declare a Climate Emergency.

Through our interaction with grassroots initiatives like Think & Do, Company Drinks, Incredible Edible, we found that despite creating a high community engagement they still struggle to reach wider communities.

Using provocative exercises and future scenario mapping, in a multi-stakeholder workshop, that included Camden Council officers and initiative leaders, we narrowed our focus area to Repurposing of Land.

A range of experts from architects to data scientists helped build our vision of scaling the impact of grassroots initiatives by easing people’s legal access to land in their neighbourhood.


We saw how part of the population is very proactive in regards to public open spaces and their usage. From different voices we heard two main problems: lack of transparency in land ownership and management models and the absence of ways to meet and systematise the citizens' demand, causing conflictual views on use of such spaces. The outcomes are bitter relationships and neglected spaces.

Also, GLA's Environment Strategy reiterates the need for new ways to create and maintain green spaces.


LOT is a land management and co-maintenance platform that leads to de-centralized management and use of green infrastructure at neighbourhood level. We work with land owners (private,developers,council) to list tiny or big land patches on our platform that can be claimed by citizens as stewards, co-stewards or volunteers. A public digital platform, fed with geo-data of claimable land brings transparency in ownership and land use, thereby improving accessibility and making it inclusive for all digital literates.

To speak to the designers follow this link:


Design Ethnography, Provocations, Workshops, Scenario mapping, Opportunity mapping, Stakeholder mapping, Customer Journey, Desirability-Viability-Feasibility study, Prototyping, Design Research, Remote Ideation, User archetypes, Jobs to be done,


January 2020 - June 2020 (6months)

In Collaboration with:

I worked with Francesco on this project.
cityClimate crisisCommunityFuture of FoodFuture of Urban LivingGreenHealth and WellbeingpolicyResiliencesmart citySocial innovationUrban Living


In collaboration with


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