‘Smart Places’ is an initiative 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 2020 we delivered a series of online events on this topic, contributed to by a diverse range of experts in this field.
You can see the complete illustrated blog article series via Medium, and view or download the booklet summarising the series. This features a curated series of 7 thought pieces on the topic of 'Smart Places' - from digital placemaking to data-driven built environment design and planning. Each is authored by a different leader in this field, who has shared their insight and expertise to highlight a contemporary place-based challenge, and set out opportunities and their vision for how using a Smart Places approach (citizen engagement combined with data/tech) could improve the places of tomorrow. Each article features a bespoke illustration communicating this future vision.
Interested in discussing your reactions or thoughts on a particular article or the general Smart Places topic? You can view the discussion from our online events or add in your thoughts by looking for #SmartPlaces on Twitter. Much of the existing discussion shown is from the weekly one-hour Tweet Up discussions held during May and June 2020 - each hosted by a different blog author with attendees including industry and public sector professionals, academics and other interested organisations and individuals.
The Smart Places series culminated in all 7 blog authors coming together for a panel discussion on 26 June 2020. Miss it? View the recording.
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 which we hope can 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.