The Scottish Smart Urban Intermediary (SUI) researchers, James Henderson and Oliver Escobar, consider their learning from the fourth Govan Local Lab in May 2019.
In this blog-piece, Pat Cassidy, Director of Govan Workspace and Govan Heritage Trust, reflects on his learning from the Smart Urban Intermediaries project and from over 40 years of working for regeneration and social change in Govan.
On the 28th of November, 36 practitioners, policy-makers, funders and academics gathered to share our research findings. We looked at how smart urban intermediaries ‘make things happen’ and considered implications for policy.
The ‘smart cities’ movement has emphasised the contribution that technologies can make to tackling complex problems at the interface between urban institutions and the people who live and work in cities.
Smart urban intermediaries came together in Birmingham in May 2019 for their final ‘local lab’ workshop. The event was a chance for participants to reconnect with one another and share their thoughts and experiences.
Our visit to Krakow as part of the SUI programme provided an opportunity to become reacquainted with familiar faces, meet new folk, learn some new stuff, compare this with old stuff, but most importantly reflect and learn from our collective experiences with colleagues from England, Netherlands, Denmark and Poland.
The Scottish SUI research team, James Henderson and Oliver Escobar, consider their learning from the third Govan Local Lab in December 2018.
The opportunities offered by smart cities are often seen in terms of bureaucratic efficiency and the commercial and managerial opportunities presented by big data.
Thinking back on the study visit to Lisbon in January, what has stuck with me is the importance that constructing stories of ‘history’ has for creating a sense of community, and for being an impetus for driving change.
We think a place as having a distinct character, but in modern urban settings singular places can have multiple characters. Not just that but those multiple characters exist both in the present, the past and in memories.
Much discussion of urban policy currently focuses on investment in ‘smart cities’ as incubators of advanced technology, engines of growth, and hubs of innovation.
I, Joke Kop, a SUI from Amsterdam, had a wonderful experience in Lisbon. Here are some of my reflections.
This blog is based on Abdullah Rehman’s experience working as a capacity builder during his early days at the Balsall Heath Forum (BHF) and his thoughts on the current situation facing the community.
What surprised us the most – was that the SUIs (smart urban intermediaries) from four cities share so many similarities! Reflecting on the intensive days at the Transliving Lab in Glasgow, we talked about how striking it was that many of the participants shared some of the same capabilities and experiences.
One of the partners of SmartUrbI, Han van Geel (Board Member of the National Platform of Area-based Working (LPB) and District Director municipality of Zutphen), reflects on his lessons learned from the latest Transnational Lab in Govan, Glasgow.
One of the key questions in this SmartUrbI project is how the work of a smart urban intermediary becomes effective. Andrew Magowan, a Link Up Programme Manager in Scotland was present during the recent Transnational Living Lab in Glasgow and tried to cover some essential characteristics in this new blog based on this paper.
On Tuesday, July 3rd the second Birmingham Local Lab convened at the Women’s Enterprise Hub. It was attended by eight ‘smart urban intermediaries’ (SUIs), three people from the co-operation partners.
There is an idiom in English that says “a picture is worth a thousand words” and yet social science research, especially ethnography, has often relied heavily on spoken and written words, with interviews, reflective writing and fieldwork notes usually comprising much of the data. In SmartUrbI, we have decided to use photographs taken by research participants as a prompt for reflection and dialogue.
On Thursday July 5th, the second Local Lab took place in Amsterdam, at Zid Theatre. A group of 15 people (3 external partners, 10 smart urban intermediaries and 2 researchers) came together to discuss and exchange ideas on what it means ‘to make a difference in your neighbourhood’.
The 7th of May 2018, on one of this years’ first sweltering summer days in Copenhagen, 15 active local people from the neighborhood of Nord Vest gathered to talk about their work. They represent a broad scope of various types of actors: some are active residents, others are entrepreneurs doing business, and some do social work in the area while others are public employees working with more strategic issues. However, common for all in the group is that they are identified as ‘smart urban intermediaries’ (SUI), meaning that they work locally to ‘make a difference’ in the neighborhood.
When Mahmooda Qureshi was first contacted by HOPE not hate, she was already very active in her community, a mother and foster carer for children from challenging backgrounds. In 2007, she received an award from the City Council for her community work within the Islamic Society of Britain. Here, she explains what her life is like as a HOPE not hate community organiser.
Our first Lab was held at the Pearce Institute in Govan (Glasgow), an important community space in this neighbourhood. The session brought together eight smart urban intermediaries (SUIs) –people who are making a difference locally– and five cooperation partners, who are helping to connect local learning to national networks.
‘’Be out on the streets!’’ (Amsterdam civil servant)
Are people in different cities around Europe facing comparable challenges when they work in deprived neighborhoods? How can we better – and more cleverly learn and inspire each other?
On Friday March 16th, the first SmartUrbI Local Living Lab took place in Amsterdam Nieuw-West. More specifically, in Amsterdam Osdorp, 2 researchers, 3 external partners and 8 smart urban intermediaries came together to discuss and exchange ideas on what it means ‘to make a difference in your neighborhood’.
The first of four Birmingham ‘urban labs’ was held on 19 March 2018 at the Women’s Enterprise Hub located between Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook, at the heart of our anchor neighbourhood.
At the centre of our collaborative research is Govan, a former ship-building neighbourhood with a long working-class history in Glasgow. As many industrial sites, Govan was harshly hit by the process of de-industrialisation. Unemployment and the dismantling of former industrial sites are just some of the issues that Govan had to face.
Alison Gilchrist, the research fellow on the Birmingham team, describes her initial explorations of their ‘anchor neighbourhood’ just to the east of the inner-city. She shows how the combined Sparkbrook/Balsall Heath area meets the project’s criteria for somewhere that is vibrant, diverse and active in finding solutions to local challenges.
During the last months, we as SmartUrbI team in Amsterdam have had more than 25 informal conversations with a wide range of individuals, organisations and initiatives.