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Digital Placemaking

Digital Placemaking for Nature

Jo Morrison,

Sir David Attenborough, during his speech at the prestigious Landscape Institute Awards 2019, said that helping people to understand that our entire world is in danger means we have to “bring them face to face with the complexity, the beauty and the importance of the natural world… They have to…

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People walking on the road during day time

Digital Placemaking

Smart Cities and Digital Ethics: a few thoughts

Jo Morrison,

Worldwide, city leaders are hungry for smart city status. They believe in the promise of connected devices, location-aware sensing technologies and masses of data combining to inform (or make) better public service decisions, optimise efficiency and provide a brighter future for all citizens. What I hope they also believe in…

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Two people standing on a sunny street, holding phones up to a shop exterior with mustard walls.

Digital Placemaking

Digital Placemaking: 2019 at a glance

Jo Morrison,

Digital placemaking really came of age in 2019 and the next decade promises to take us to new levels of digitally-enabled experiences. The ways that people understand the public realm and – critically for businesses and for public services – expect to interact with these spaces, has been transformed by…

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Phone in a hand, showing a screen of text

Digital Placemaking

NavSta wayfinding app: an overview

Jo Morrison,

Calvium has lead this Innovate UK funded project to develop a mobile wayfinding system to help people with less-visible impairments to navigate railway stations independently and with confidence.

In partnership with Transport for London (TfL), Open Inclusion and Connected Places Catapult we shall deliver a digital wayfinding solution that has inclusion at its heart. By bringing together this team of specialists, Calvium has ensured that NavSta (Navigating Stations) has the greatest chance of becoming an integral part of the travelling public’s wayfinding toolkit.

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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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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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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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