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View through a digital camera at a person holding a phone. People in orange hi-vis vests in the background.

Research

NavSta: User testing

Kieron Gurner,

User-centred design is a product development process that puts the end-user at the heart of the project. This means gaining an understanding of who they are — their wants, their problems and their perspectives — and then creating solutions tailored to those needs. When products are designed from their target user’s eyes, they are more likely to be embraced.

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Many people walk in an artificially-lit subway. People are blurred as they move near the camera.

Digital Placemaking

NavSta: Accessibility

Jo Morrison,

People with physical and mental differences face a host of barriers that reduce their quality of life by limiting their participation in social, political, cultural and economic life. It can be difficult to move around familiar neighbourhoods let alone strange places. For example, those with mobility impairments often can’t fully enjoy public spaces due to uneven surfaces, visually-impaired people can’t access everyday wayfinding information, and people with less visible disabilities often find crowded place to be a sensory minefield. This is the situation, and it is unacceptable.

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Conference room full of people sitting facing away from the camera. A presenter on stage stands in front of projected slides.

App Insights

Key takeaways from the RDG Stations Summit

Richard Hull,

The Rail Delivery Group (RDG) held its fifth Stations Summit this month (10th October) at Grand Station, Wolverhampton. This year’s conference revolved around the development of stations as transport interchanges within thriving communities. Our Executive Chairman, Richard Hull, attended; he gives us his key takeaways.

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Children running into water fountains, a child on a bike with stabilisers rides in the foreground.

Digital Placemaking

How Digital Placemaking Supports Young People to Shape their Neighbourhoods

Jo Morrison,

Today, over a billion children are growing up in cities. By 2030, UN-HABITAT estimates that 60% of the world’s urban population will be under the age of 18. Cities today, however, rarely provide ideal living conditions for young people. This is a huge problem when we stop to consider how this demographic will dominate the urban population within the next decade.

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Man waiting on a London train station with his back to the camera, a red train arrives in the background.

Digital Placemaking

How Digital Technology is Transforming Public Transport and Mobility

Kieron Gurner,

Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas. By 2050, the UN predicts this number will go up to 68%, adding 2.5 billion more people to urban areas. While urbanisation brings with it a host of benefits, it does put a strain on a city’s transportation and mobility systems resulting in traffic congestion, inadequate public transport and unsafe roads. These are huge challenges that many urban areas today just don’t have the resources to properly address.

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Three contemporary high-rise flats, covered in greenery and trees on every floor, set against a bright blue skyline.

App Insights Mobile Technology

Apps and sustainability: Utility apps for the greater good

Jo Morrison,

Sustainability is recognised as a vital issue for people, businesses and governments, globally. To secure the planet for all of our futures, digital technology can provide support and solutions to some of the challenges we face; ranging from city-scale infrastructure to apps that help individuals find greener ways of living and sharing within…

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Many people walking across a white-floored public space, seen from above

Digital Placemaking

How digital placemaking supports citizens to shape public spaces

Jo Morrison,

On every continent digital technologies are being used successfully to support people to play a proactive role in shaping their environment and public life. All kinds of tools, from simple digital surveys to bespoke augmented reality systems, are now enabling citizens to share their ideas and be heard by decision-makers. This engagement benefits not just the citizens but also those responsible for developing and managing public spaces, for they can better identify and implement projects that the public actually want – and value.

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Child looking away from the camera, at a Victorian-style museum hall, with glass cases containing exhibits to the left and adults in the background.

Digital Placemaking Heritage

Are heritage attractions doing enough to attract young visitors?

Jo Morrison,

Children and young people are often seen as passive inheritors of our heritage. Their portrayal in the popular media regularly suggests apathy and disinterest, just look at the photos that went viral of schoolchildren on their phones in the presence of a Rembrandt masterpiece (although it’s clear, some portrayals are certainly not accurate). However, as the Heritage Fund’s Sarah Lanchin says, “children and young people enjoy heritage and can become strong advocates for the future”.

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Hands holding a phone up in front of street art - abstract shapes in red, orange and purple

Digital Placemaking

Digital placemaking and the arts

Jo Morrison,

Layered Realities, Night Walk for Edinburgh, Brutalist Tapestry, Symbiosia… all recent intriguing projects that involve the artistic exploration of our public spaces through the use of digital technologies and searching storytelling. Whether developing data-driven systems, utilising image and audio AR or pushing the boundaries of 5G infrastructure, arts, culture and technology are inseparable.

This article highlights a range of ways in which artists are employing technologies to foster a sense of place in beautiful, playful and engaging ways.

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