Jemma Hoare of Digital Greenwich represented the Sharing Cities project at a roundtable held on 22 March about ‘Smart cities: Young, entrepreneurial and inclusive London’. Co-organised by the British Council in Kazakhstan and the urban place making and green space consultancy and think tank Living Space Project, the event, held at the Urban Innovation Centre in London, explored the role smart entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and technology-led innovation can play in turning smart city plans into reality. Representatives of London, Almaty, and Astana shared their experiences of involving citizens in smart city innovation, identifying common challenges, and learning from the others’ project experiences.
Based on the discussions at this roundtable and at other meetings held under this programme, a report will be drafted drawing on relevant case studies, contrasting successful and struggling initiatives, and highlighting the obstacles along the way.
Jarmo Eskelinen, chief innovation and technology officer at the Future Cities Catapult, also presented at the roundtable the activities of his organisation, including the Sharing Cities project.
Representatives of civil society organisations active in Kazakhstan were briefed on the Sharing Cities project in general and its ‘People’ work package in particular, which recognises the key role people play in making cities smarter, and aims to develop new approaches and tools to improve the public’s understanding of how smart cities should operate, and to encourage public participation. It does this through ensuring the development of people-centred services and employing a ‘digital first’ approach. Participants heard about the in-depth user research conducted in Greenwich and the other ‘lighthouse’ cities, and also about the planned measures to promote and incentivise co-design in a digital social market economy through online engagement hubs and traditional face-to-face engagement events. All these measures aim at ensuring that the changes brought about by the Sharing Cities project best meet the needs of residents.
Other UK partners involved in this project include the University of Westminster’s Policy Studies Institute (PSI) and Urban Labs. On the Kazakh side, Atomik Architecture, Urban Forum Almaty, and the Almaty Development Centre are involved.
Jemma Hoare, Jemma.Hoare@royalgreenwich.gov.uk
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement N°691895
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