The role of social movements in the design process of technologies and technological systems, with societal value, has been appointed, lately, increasing significance. The design, development, and implementation of major projects, on a national or regional level, consider the involvement and participation of users’ groups. Patients’ and disabled people organizations, environmental groups, consumers’ associations, single users, etc, have contributed, with their knowledge, needs and demands, to the realization of public transport systems, complicated computer systems, alternative energy sources, radical medical networks, etc.
The involvement of these groups has a twofold effect: Firstly, the quality and extend of engagement and interaction affects the social role of these movements or individuals and derange their social, political and economic status quo, for better or for worse. Issues of concessive inclusion and exclusion arise, also.
Secondly, the involvement of social movements and users’ groups in the development of science and technology constitutes a major radical innovation for technology policy. The traditional map of producers and policy makers is substituted by extended interaction between users, producers, state policy makers and contributes to the improvement of the political system, in a wider sense, and the stimulation of enhanced techno-scientific solutions. New institutional frameworks and novel policy instruments ensue that consider, establish, and protect interactions between the state, users/interest groups and technology producers.
The paper will attempt to highlight different aspects of disabled users’ participation in the design and implementation of Athens’ new metro. It will also investigate and evaluate public technology procurement (PTP), as a policy designed and implemented by public authorities. Particularly, the article will focus on how PTP fosters and establishes networks and patterns of user-producer interactions, within the framework of the Athens’ case.