How might we design a People-Powered SmartCity?

Join us to help us understand how we might inform Greater Manchester's SmartCity agendas with people's needs and problems at their heart.

SmartCity technology has the ability to make better places for people to live, reducing traffic, making more environmentally conscious lighting, and much more . However, they’re also historically led by whatever the latest, coolest tech is, rather than by the needs of the people living, visiting and working in a city. This can unfortunately lead to a power imbalance, with sensors, data and influencing how we live, led by tech companies and local government.

Out of The Federation, the GM Responsible Tech Collective have been working on thinking about how this works for Greater Manchester. We have an opportunity to redefine the power imbalance SmartCities can sometimes create. Though our project - sponsored by the Co-op Foundation and supported by Luminate - how do we create a SmartCity in Greater Manchester that is led by the needs of the people?

Where are we at with the project ? We need you to help answer one question - how might we design a People-Powered SmartCity? We have a diverse project team in place, including Manchester City Council, Open Data Manchester, Kainos and Sigma. Up to this point, we’ve already had a few conversations, done some research and now we need to make some decisions and we need the right people in the room to help us make them.

Who should come? Come along if you want to input into the design of how Greater Manchester could work with the needs of the people to create a SmartCity. We need people to come if you can help us answer one of these three questions: What is a good co-design/participation approach that will work for a tech based subject in Greater Manchester? How can we get access to a wide range of people within Greater Manchester and what will motivate them to get involved? What sorts of solutions are most likely to feed into a Local Authority approach and what barriers exist to commissioning? So you don’t need to be a tech expert or even know anything about SmartCities. We’re keen to hear from co-design experts, people who are connected to the communities… maybe you’re a network organisation or a charity who works with the community. And we really want those in Local Authorities to come along to let us know the sorts of things you’re interested in.

We’re looking for people who want to input long term to the project and people who want to just dip in and give us their expertise. Please invite anyone you think should be at the workshops.

What’s the format? In the coming month, we’ll be running two remote workshops, each time we will split into three working groups: Co-design & participation Reaching a diverse audience Working with Local Authorities

Each workshop is two hours and will roughly take this format: Intro Split into groups to work on challenges Come back and showcase thinking to group Talk next steps

Our first workshop will look at defining each question a little more, looking at challenges and opportunities and requirements. The second workshop will focus on ideation based on those requirements. If you can come to both, that would be wonderful and some consistency will be great. If not, you are perfectly welcome to just come along to one.

Your facilitators will be: Rebecca Rae-Evans from Reply Lauren Coulman from Noisy Cricket Sam Milsom from Open Data Manchester For now.we'd love you to sign up for our "definition" focused workshop on Monday 8th June from 2-4pm. We'll then follow up rearding our second "Ideation" related workshop" on Monday 22nd June.

Who are The Responsible Tech Collective As a tech and social impact hub, The Federation and project sponsors Co-op Foundation and Luminate recognise that Greater Manchester’s history of social progress combined with its industrial ambition offers a unique opportunity to engage our tech ecosystem in responsible tech practice, and establish the region as an examplar for ethical tech globally. Working collectively to better understand and act on the issues surrounding responsible tech practice, the collective run regular review events and issue roundtables, as well as invest in regionally relevant projects, including cultural inclusion in the tech industry and security standards from a citizens perspective.

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