Creative Associates: Smart Cities Toolkit

Dr Katharine Willis from the School of Art, Design and Architecture is developing creative technologies as toolkits to enable more meaningful citizen participation in smart city projects as part of the AHRC funded Whose Smart City? network.

The project develops out of the 2 year research project with international partners which studied how and why cities and people are shaping technologies to suit their needs and the role of civic inclusiveness in this process. The research works with international partners in city of Chennai, India, Belo Horizonte, Brazil and in London and Plymouth, UK. 

Creative Output and process 

This project creates a creative, digital ‘Toolkit’ for communities and people to enable them to participate in smart city projects. It makes complex technological developments accessible to a non-expert audience so they can use these for societal benefit and make cities more sustainable. The Toolkit was trialled through an event called ‘Hack the City’ at the Digital Design Weekend at the Victoria and Albert museum in September 2017

The main objective is to enable communities and individuals who will be impacted by smart city projects to get involved and create their own projects, rather than relying on expertise of technical specialists and government organisations. 

The project includes a mix of creative demos and videos, together with explanations of how to make simple smart devices and interactions, and was developed with tech startup OnePolygon. The project works with the emerging technologies of IoT (Internet of Things), artificial intelligence and augmented reality in exciting new creative ways.

<p>Smart Cities Toolkit - Creative Associates 2018</p>
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Smart Cities Toolkit - Creative Associates 2018

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Smart Cities Toolkit - Creative Associates 2018

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Smart Cities Toolkit - Creative Associates 2018

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Smart Cities Toolkit - Creative Associates 2018

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Dr Willis said:

‘The Smart Cities Toolkit is about creatively introducing citizens to how smart city technologies can relate to them in their everyday lives and communities. The toolkit comprises online video materials and a series of three demo projects that will open people’s eyes to seeing the city and smart technologies in new exciting ways and giving them the ability to use them for community benefit. It develops out of our AHRC funded research into smart cities, which finds that there is a need to be more inclusive approach to enabling participation in smart cities.’

The research being undertaken is part of a range of projects in the School of Art, Design and Architecture at the University of Plymouth that explore the future potentials of digital technologies in creative ways. The School is leading pioneering research and teaching in the areas of virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, smart cities and IoT (Internet of Things).

One Polygon

One Polygon is the inception of passion in an era of digital creativity. Operating for a number of years, their journey has involved many exciting projects which challenged them to keep improving solutions for their clients. They strive to keep surpassing the expectations of not only their clients, but themselves in order to solve tomorrow’s problems.

The founders were still attending the University of Plymouth when One Polygon was born in a small office room at the heart of Plymouth. Now, it has grown into its own through working with great clients and partners to “completely change everything they thought possible.”

Find out more about One Polygon

Creative Associates

The Sustainable Earth Institute's Creative Associates projects aim to explore novel and innovative ways of communicating research and develop a portfolio of case studies of the different creative approaches possible

Find out more about the initiatives

Image: Carey Marks/Creative Associates