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Manchester – the people-centered smart city

There were three key elements to the work FutureEverything did, alongside partners: human-centred design, citizen engagement, and adding “imaginative dimensions” to the smart city

  • July 11, 2018 10:00
  • Author Olya Georgieva
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Source: Facebook / Manchester, United Kingdom

While almost all cities now talk about the importance of putting citizens at the centre of smart city initiatives, clear examples showing what this looks like in practice are rare. Manchester’s CityVerve has generated a “blueprint” for people-centred smart cities. There were three key elements to the work FutureEverything did, alongside partners: human-centred design, citizen engagement, and adding “imaginative dimensions” to the smart city. Manchester-based projects have taken to engage, inform and entertain its citizens with the technology being implemented. Good examples are “The every thing every time” artwork by artist Naho Matsuda, the digital versions of MMU Special Collection artefacts and Supergestures by Ling Tan Trust. The aim of all these projects is to make people think. It’s about visibility, but it’s more than that; it’s about building literacy and legibility.

Human-centred design is all about putting people’s real needs at the forefront. Ultimately, it’s about developing services and products that are useful, usable and likely to be used. To take human-centred design beyond closed workshops, the CityVerve team also trialled the AR-based Buzzin App to help people navigate the Christmas markets, then asked users for their feedback. The citizen engagement strand focused on defining what citizens count as success for the CityVerve project. It’s about “meaningful engagement” not just marketing. The work included community forum meetings and monthly workshops. These started out as being loosely about smart cities and IoT, then became more focused on specific use cases and technologies.

Source: Smart Cities World