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    Special recording of Thinking Allowed with members of the SCiM team

    On Thursday 14 June, Gillian Rose, Sophie Watson and Oliver Zanetti were pleased to be panellists on Radio 4's Thinking Allowed to talk about smart cities and the research conducted as part of SCiM.

    The programme, presented by Laurie Taylor, was recorded in front of a live audience in the Open University’s Berrill Lecture Theatre. We were pleased to welcome research participants, Open University students and academics, and members of the public from Milton Keynes and beyond to what was a very lively event. Following the recording, audience members were invited to ask questions which generated an engaging conversation about the future of smart cities and beyond.

    The programme will be broadcast on Radio 4 on Wednesday 25 July. There will also be a series of OpenLearn resources created in conjunction with the programme. Links to all these will be added to the SCiM website as they become available.

     

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    Paper delivered at the British Sociological Association

    SCIM MK Research Associate Oliver Zanetti spoke at the British Sociological Association's annual conference last week. In a session organised by the Cities and Mobilities strand of the conference, Oliver spoke on the complex ways in which smart is, and isn't, coming into being in Milton Keynes. The fieldwork undertaken indicates a gap between the work being put into smart city initiatives by local government and the city's businesses, and the extent to which smart is recognised and engaged with by the city's citizens. Why is this the case, he asked in the presentation, and what kinds of consequences might this have for citizens?

    The presentation sketched out some early thoughts that Sophie Watson and Oliver are developing in this area. In the coming months, the two will be engaging with the fieldwork data in further detail with a view to developing an academic journal article on this topic.

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    SCiM goes to Canada, and Cambridge

    Project PI Gillian Rose was invited to participate in a smart cities event in Vancouver, Canada, in early March, called Technocity: Equity, Innovation, and the Rush of Smartness. Around eighty people turned out to discuss the joint bid from the cities of Vancouver and Surrey to the Canadian government's Smart Cities Challenge.The event was part of the Bell Urban Forum organised by the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University. Both halves of the event are available to watch on YouTube.

    Watch part 1:

    Watch part 2:

    In other news, Gillian has become of member of the Centre for Digital Built Britain's Expert Panel.  The CDBB is a partnership between the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and the University of Cambridge to deliver a smart digital economy for infrastructure and construction for the future and transform the UK construction industry’s approach to the way we plan, build, maintain and use our social and economic infrastructure

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    MK Council Mobility Strategy 2018-2036

    The consultation on the draft MK Council Mobility Strategy 2018-2036 is still ongoing, but will end soon. The strategy and the consultation process around it are both interesting for scholars of smart cities in the making, as the strategy will not only update the local transport plan, but it also integrates explicitly smart projects as it delivers the MK 2050 vision and the growth ambitions of Plan:MK. The update takes place at a critical time for Milton Keynes when advancements in IT and innovative transport systems, and the advent of connected and autonomous vehicles, coupled with a period of significant growth make mobility a key issue for the future success of the city. To a considerable degree, the strategy explores the various ways through which smart transport may sustain the environment and the quality of life of the city in a time of economic and demographic growth.

    From our perspective at SCiM, the making of the strategy also provides an opportunity to reflect on the 'how', 'who' and 'where' of smart policymaking. In addition to the online consultation, Milton Keynes has quite a culture of face-to-face consultation and debate around policy issues, often led by intermediaries such as Community Action MK or the Fred Roche Foundation (FRF). Events like the Going Places workshop organized by FRF and the MK Business Leaders partnership provide a meeting point where government, business , academic and community actors can exchange perspectives in polite (of sometimes heated) public debates. For example, the Going Places event initiated a particularly lively debate about the feasibility of providing mobility for all through market forces alone. The city (and smart cities all around the world) may be getting close to the point where a binary choice will have to be made: will policy frame mobility as a public good, or will smart reinforce a model of monetized mobility that will take us into an Uber kind of future?

    The debate goes on, and we at SCiM are reflecting on it and preparing our contribution to the consultation. Also, while the event was not related to SCiM, the organizers kindly allowed us to contribute by showing two of our smart city teachinig videos related to the issues under discussion - on looking at the context of MK and the roots of smart transport, the other looking at MK and its overall move towards becoming a smart city.

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    Connected Communities Programme report

    The AHRC funded research programme, Connected Communities, has recently published their Universities, Cities & Communities: Co-Creating Urban Living Report. Connected Communities is a project investigating the changing nature of communities in their historical and cultural contexts and the role of communities in sustaining and enhancing our quality of life. Their recent report looks specifically at the role played by universities in engaging citizens in challenges facing the cities they live in, and provides case studies of good practice.

    SCiM-MK’s work was reported on in the publication in the section 'Using creative methodologies and sensory approaches to tackle urban challenges' It sits alongside a number of other exciting urban research projects taking place across the arts and social sciences.

Research from @SCiM_MK was discussed on the @BBCRadio4 programme #ThinkingAllowed. Panelists were @ProfGillian, Sop… https://t.co/zGS5trld6N
by SCiM_MK

If you're in #MiltonKeynes this Thursday, come to the recording of @BBCRadio4's #ThinkingAllowed. @ProfGillian, Sop… https://t.co/rbERMGxUAo
by SCiM_MK

Research Associate @OliverZanetti of @SCiM_MK delivered a paper last week in the @bsacities strand of the @britsocihttps://t.co/qFpSjcoJdW
by SCiM_MK