‘Smart Places’ is an initiative currently being developed in partnership between the Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI), the Data-Driven Innovation programme (DDI) and Edinburgh Living Lab. ‘Smart Places’ is a broad theme that generally aligns to the concept of placemaking and emphasises active citizen engagement and participation alongside new uses of data and technology to improve places for people. During May and June we will be delivering a series of online events on this topic, contributed to by a diverse range of experts in this field.
On 22 May we will be launching an online illustrated blog article series via Medium on the theme of Smart Places. Each week thereafter during May and June, we will be releasing a new article authored by one of a diverse range of key thought leaders in this field. Each author will be sharing their insight and expertise to highlight a key Smart Places challenge, and set out their future vision for how we can use a Smart Places approach - combining active citizen engagement and participation with data and technology - to improve places and the built environment post-Covid 19. Each article will feature a bespoke illustration communicating this future vision, created by a different talented Illustrator to create a carefully curated series.
All articles will be available on our Medium account as they are released each week. Interested in discussing your reactions or thoughts on a particular article's topic? Or to meet others interested or working in a similar field? Join us on Twitter by looking for #SmartPlaces for a series of weekly one-hour Tweet Up discussions - each hosted by a different blog author. The author will share 6 questions over the course of the hour based on the topic of their article (one question every 10mins), each tagged with #SmartPlaces. Follow along or join in the discussion using #SmartPlaces!
The Smart Places series will culminate in all 7 blog authors coming together for a one hour online panel discussion (3-4pm 26 June) and public Q&A on the Smart Places theme - more details and sign-up form coming soon.
The aim of these events is to open up new conversations and connections between university researchers, industry practitioners and local people, to share knowledge and create a network of people working to improve local places using either community engagement and/or data/tech approaches. We also hope they will start to identify what some key built environment challenges of mutual interest might be for people across Edinburgh. This will feed into EFI’s work longer term, with discussions, connections and thinking all acting as a pre-cursor to a series of in-person physical events and Smart Places exhibition and conference to take place later in the year.
As we consider the way forward into a changed and changing world, EFI seeks to put research, education and engagement in the service of the wider community and to support recovery and regeneration. The Smart Places initiative will contribute to conversations and activities in core sectors linked to the Data-Driven Innovation and City Region Deal contribution including creative industries; tourism and festivals; financial services/fintech; public services/data civics; future infrastructure; and ethics of data and AI.