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Final Future Cities Workshop on Citizen and User-centred Solutions

The Creative Industries KTN held a workshop on 26th July that involved representatives involved in mobilising others in the regeneration of cities and in developing new urban design initiatives. The aim was to understand the key challenges in citizen and user centred solutions and to identify how the creative industries could contribute to the challenges identified by the Future Cities Catapult programme:

·        Connecting city systems to enable integration and interoperability

·        Increasing city density and population without congestion

·        Transitioning to resource efficient, low carbon cities

·        Resilient energy systems


The roundtable was facilitated by Rachel Jones, CIKTN’s Experience Led Innovation Theme Champion and Future Cities Citizen and User Centred Solutions Lead.


The workshop identified four key challenges in developing citizen and user centred solutions:


1.    Motivating people to engage

We need to build a culture of people who want to engage, give their opinion, have a say, and provide pressure. We need to change values, e.g. around energy, sustainability.


2.    Motivating professionals to engage with people

We need to bring people who are involved in developing and deploying aspects of the built environment and its infrastructure, and citizens, together.


3.    Recognising the diversity of people

A key challenge is to create cities that will celebrate the local culture rather than homogenising it. The integration of different cultures is an existing difficulty which will continue to grow. Creative industries tend to be the ones that manage to bridge diversity and remove barriers.


4.    Engaging people in development schemes

We live in a democratic society. Can we impose systems? We currently do, but does this work? We need to set-up frameworks in which communities can grow organically; give the responsibility back to the communities.


The workshop explored how the Creative Industries could contribute to the challenges identified by the Future Cities Catapult programme:


Transitioning to resource efficient, low carbon cities

  • Explore how people live and work and how they travel between, e.g. low carbon corridor in Oakland, California
  • Retrofitting buildings, parks, hospitals, schools, etc using design and research, e.g. Co-operative insurance tower, Manchester
  • Make carbon visible and make tangible the effects it has on people’s lives
  • Create longer term relationships with the buildings we inhabit and feed back resource usage


Increasing city density and population without congestion

  • Explore what is the new home, the new work, e.g. rooms in Japan, work and meeting spaces in Starbucks
  • Explore what tall buildings mean as communities
  • Explore how we provide flexibility within individual buildings, e.g. grow in buildings as we have families, share the same buildings as we get older, demountable structures (Olympic basket ball and shooting venues)
  • Explore how we can increase food production in buildings and urban areas, provide eco-water systems, supply energy from our homes, reducing the urban / rural divide through creative design
  • Explore using social media systems in the opposite way to the flashmob, by knowing where people are (and aren’t), space and resources can be used more effectively.  Maybe extend this to dynamically priced goods and services by popularity?


Connecting city systems to enable integration and interoperability

  • Integrated city wide systems will only work on well-structured, coherent and managed open-source platforms
  • Products, hardware, devices etc.. will become as malleable and plastic as software is now. Educating a city’s population to create, repair and upgrade physical and software systems, services and products is essential to meeting future demands. One size fits all mass production and consumption will not suffice for truly user centred solutions.
  • Localisation of production and consumption allows customisation of products, services for a fast changing community of demanding citizens. It will also be essential in order fulfil citizen’s needs given likely future environmental and economic constraints.
  • Make use of design specialists such as, Design SMEs, Service Designers,Workplace Consultancies


Resilient energy systems

  • Provide the tools to pool and create collaborations that share resources, improve services, provide better quality, e.g. Isle of Eigg
  • Make use of designers to integrate new technologies with people’s aspirations
  • Use social, web based and IoT systems to engage citizens in efficient energy use, by showing how their behaviour makes a real difference in real time and aggregate


The outcomes from each of the workshops will be drawn together into a final report that will identify the top priorities for the Future Cities Catapult programme from the perspective of Citizen and User Centred Solutions. We would like to thank all those who have participated in this process.

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