City Challenges

OrganiCity Conversations: life in London and the potential for experimentation

During September we have hosted a series of conversations as part of the co-creation process. Londoners and potential experimenters joined us at the Urban Innovation Centre to talk about the challenges and opportunities that the city offers as part of our Let’s talk London sessions. Technical specifics and questions around the experimentation process were discussed during the subsequent Let’s talk Experimentation meetings.

The observations we gathered during these conversations are informing the themes for the first OrganiCity Open Call, which will be launched in 2016. As we had identified in the previous workshops, mobility and air quality are some concerning issues for citizens. In an apparent contrast with the character of our partner cities Santander and Aarhus, in London, there is also a concern around the disconnection of communities that we would like to address. This might be due to the sheer scale of London, or the tendency for population to be transient, moving around quite a lot.

Participants drawing the challenges they find in LondonLondoners are in love with the city and want to explore its diversity and feel a part of it. Over time, they have established a personal connection… even with the tube lines! One of our participants explained how “Today was a Victoria line day, especially because I’m really into my book and I want a seat to read on my way. Every day I choose my transport according to my mood.” This intention to connect and belong in the city is challenged by living situations: “It’s hard to set up a community if people are living in situations that they don’t see as a long term solution.” We are excited to see how experiments might better connect people with their surrounding community, or facilities that are available for more social, more healthy, or more cultural interaction.

John Lynch and Belen Palacios, from Future Cities Catapult, hosted the conversations and were joined by Evangelos Theodoridis, from Intel in the Let’s Talk Experimentation events. These conversations were a good opportunity to get an overview on what OrganiCity proposes to provide through our Urban Data Observatory and co-creation tools. We had the chance to gather potential needs and questions which will help with the design of our first Open Call and the experimentation process. We are now feeding these back into our process to shape the platform we provide around the needs of citizens in Santander, Aarhus and London.

Thank you to those who took part in the events this month. We would like to enable more communication online and offline along the process, so the conversation continues! If you are currently thinking of the potential of developing an experiment and want to submit questions or requirements, get in touch!

Post its on a wall with perceptions and experiences in the city

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