Sharing Cities

The digital economy has helped the growth of the sharing economy.

The most obvious example is a services like AirBnB (where you can find people to rent out your spare room on a nightly basis). It’s not just the preserve of southern californians.  This is a search for Dudley – Saturday night.

dudley_-_Airbnb

 

But there are far more ways to think about how sharing can make our cities better places to be and this was the subject being discussed last night at an event in Birmingham.

Julian Agyeman was discussing his book  Sharing Cities: A case for Truly Smart and Sustainable Cities.

First some sketchy notes I made of the points he was making.

  • The sharing economy can help to build equality in cities.
  • Don’t do area projects, find opportunities for what he called urban acupuncture / pin pricks to relieve pain – He gave the example of the garden library in Medellin – the one time drug crime capital of Columbia.  Built on a hillside where the slums had developed – this encourages new ways of being and connects the city in new ways.
1024px-Biblioteca_España-Medellin
  • Sharing things helps us build relationships –  however we may do that within out own existing networks.  How do we create culturally inclusive spaces? Ones where people talk across what makes them different.
Other examples:
How_One_Boston_Neighborhood_Stopped_Gentrification_in_Its_Tracks_by_Penn_Loh_—_YES__Magazine

This is what he thinks a city should have on their to do list

  1. Map assets –
  2. Put sharabity in the tender/contracts
  3. Encourage Co production
  4. Measure sharing Walkscore -,sharescore
  5. Participatory budgets.
  6. Change taxation, planning and licensing
It got me thinking.  The social media surgeries are part of the sharing economy.  CoLab Dudley is entirely about nurturing it here.
But it also reminds me that the smartest cities are not oiled simply by faster broadband, mobile phone apps or better tech training.  They are made smarter  by the connections and the best connector is often a cup of tea.  So maybe the way to measure collaboration is to count the number of cups of tea drunk in a city.
(Nick Booth is the founder  of Podnosh – and the chap behind the social media surgery movement.)

 

5 reasons to come along to BostinCamp on 12 April

BostinCamp returns to DY1 on Tuesday 12 April (you can register to come along on Eventbrite). We’ll be hearing how Dudley’s Business Connector Andy Mullaney is using social media to increase his impact, and learn about Dudley Smart Region Hub and Data Brew, both created by local resident Nathan Coyle.

Here are 5 great reasons to come along, based on experience and what we have lined up.

1. You’ll learn something useful… if not quite a few things

I frequently hear people during and after a BostinCamp session saying “I didn’t know …” I am always pleasantly surprised at how effective 90 minutes of chat over a cuppa and a bit of cake can be for knowledge sharing and learning.

2. You’ll meet lovely people who are involved in interesting things

The most difficult thing to do at BostinCamp is break up the conversations people have started before we kick off and during the comfort break in the middle. Everyone seems to make great connections and enjoy the chance to have a bit of one-to-one time with someone they may have just met for the first time, or perhaps know but don’t often get the opportunity to chat to.

3. You’ll be inspired by someone

I can’t predict how, but it just seems to be something that happens during these sessions. Following our last session at which Alison Sayer from Halas Homes talked about her journey using social media, and Joy Boyes shared her experiences of using social media in Public Health, Jane Clarke got home and sent her first tweet!

4. Andy Mullaney has a great story to share

I couldn’t believe that Andy hadn’t used Twitter before he was seconded last October from Lloyds Bank to Business in the Community to become Dudley’s first ever Business Connector. I can’t wait to hear how he uses social media to help generate a positive impact in education, employment and enterprise in Dudley borough. You can find him on Twitter @DudleyConnector and he’s also blogs regularly on LinkedIn

5. Nathan Coyle is up to really interesting things

I posted a couple of weeks ago about Nathan’s #SmartDudley twitter campaign, and mentioned Dudley Smart Region Hub and Data Brew. I’m fascinated by these innovations Nathan is driving, I think they are the start of some completely new kinds of conversations and activities in Dudley for citizens and local government in relation to use of digital, or civic tech as we might call this sort of thing.

I’d love to hear more reasons if you’ve been along to BostinCamp before – you can pop them below in the reply box. Don’t forget to register places to join us on Tuesday 12 April 6pm-8pm. Hope to see you there.

#SmartDudley twitter campaign

I was delighted to finally meet Nathan Coyle recently. A Dudley resident with a passion for Dudley, it’s people and ways that we can use technology to make Dudley even better. Nathan has kicked off something really interesting called Dudley Smart Region Hub – because as well as being thoroughly lovely, he’s the kind of person who turns his ideas into actual things.

This week Nathan made and launched a beta version of a digital tool called Data Brew. The idea behind it is “to encourage community groups, social enterprise and citizens to come together to create social campaigns or projects using open data as a base to evidence it.” In other words a way to help people work together using data to help solve problems. Do have a look / play and let us know what you think of it.

I’ve also just spotted a lovely twitter campaign which Nathan has started called #SmartDudley. See the graphic below for details and get tweeting!

I’m hoping Nathan might guest blog here sometime soon about Dudley Smart Region Hub and Data Brew, in the meantime you can check out his Huffington Post blogs and hear from him at the upcoming BostinCamp (which will be on Tuesday 12 April, details to be shared shortly).

smart dudley

Introducing civic tech

To date this blog has focused pretty much on ways that people are using social media, and aimed to celebrate, promote and support that. It is an online place to signpost to face-to-face activities taking place in and around Dudley borough which offer support to people getting to grips with or tentatively trying out social media – activities such as Social Media Surgeries and BostinCamp. The strapline for this site until today has been “celebrating the ways that people are using social media to do great things and build community across Dudley borough”. Today I’ve added a second area focus: civic tech.

Civic tech, or civic technology, is

“technology (mainly information technology) that enables engagement or participation of the public for good development, enhancing citizen communications, improving government infrastructure, or generally making national and local governments more effective. It encompasses civic applications, platforms supporting government bodies and institutions and other software enabling those goals.” (source: wikipedia)

Interest in civic tech is developing in Dudley, particularly in relation to the development of the Community Council (I’ve started blogging about the Community Council on the Dudley CVS blog). There is a great new post on the Civicist blog about the role of praising and shaming in civic tech. It concludes:

“Until now, behavioral economics in public policy has been mainly about nudging citizens toward preferred choices. Yet it may be time to start also working in the opposite direction, nudging governments to be more responsive to citizens.”

I am of the understanding that senior officers in Dudley Council are keen to invite this nudging from citizens and communities. Indeed I’m starting to do some work on ways to help it to happen. So I’ve added a civic tech page to this blog to draw together useful resources and examples which we might want to learn from here in Dudley, such as work the Knight Foundation has done (see diagram below).

I’ll keep readers updated with ways to get involved in the conversation and activities. I’d love to hear about your favourite examples of civic tech in action, and any experiences you have of developing or using it. Leave a comment here, or get in touch with me on twitter: @dosticen or email: lorna@dudleycvs.org.uk

civic tech

From the Knight Foundation Civic Tech slide deck http://www.slideshare.net/knightfoundation/knight-civictech