Quick overview notes from Innovate Uk’s Urban Living: Integrated Products and Services workshop held last friday at The Building Centre.

This venue itself is an amazing resource that i didn’t know existed with interesting practical¬†exhibits on building materials as well as currently one on Smarter London (you can fly like an eagle over it) and an upcoming one on Rethinking Urban Landscapes.

The Building Centre - London from above

This was an interesting introduction to one of their latest funding opportunities (officially opened today).

Encouragingly the focus is not on innovation or data creation for the sake of it but more about the use of it for social and environmental benefit in urban areas.

The idea is to connect the emerging city wide data platforms (with possibility to overlap with others) to products and services that will help to improve peoples lives.

Possible theme areas include (but not limited to):

  • Wellbeing
  • Water
  • Unemployment
  • Homelessness
  • Reducing GHG
  • Independent living

Notes on Urban living ideaa

There were plenty of opportunities to interact with the other workshop participants and also an introduction to many of the Horizons Tool, helping to expand thinking and widen perspectives of related issues.

I think this is a really interesting area, as well as an important one where the role of design should not be missed. Understanding and collaborating with the user, thinking about root causes and connecting to real environmental and social needs has a large role to play in supporting the use of all this created data effectively. Similar thinking had been sparked earlier in the week at Siemens launch at The Crystal of their book Better Cities, Better life where the question came up if smart infrastructure really contributed to people’s happiness and wellbeing (and was partly ignored….)

Products and Services not created for data or technology’s sake but for the sustainability and wellbeing of our urban environments. We need to ensure a better convergence between technology, human and social behaviour and needs and the use of creative design approaches to help facilitate this.

If you’ve got ideas you’d like to develop, need support in system and user mapping, or would like to collaborate than please get in touch.

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