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    Participatory development of an urban navigation app

    SCiM-MK researcher, Oliver Zanetti, with an interdisciplinary team of researchers from around the Open University, have published work on the practice of citizen engagement in smart cities. The paper is titled ‘Smart Cities and M3: Rapid Research, Meaningful Metrics and Co-Design’ and was published in Systemic Practice and Action Research.

    The paper considers the ways that citizens can be engaged in the development of smart city projects. It reports on a short, reactive project called Making Metrics Meaningful, which sought to investigate the data needs of public transport users planning their journeys in and around Milton Keynes. The research used novel methods, including image elicitation and the generation of a musical score based on participants’ commentaries, that provoked an open and wide ranging debate. Mock ups of possible app outcomes were generated and the paper reports on the feedback of users on these mock ups.

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    Researching smart navigation systems for blind and partially sighted people

    Sophie Watson and Oliver Zanetti, both from SCiM-MK's Smart Citizens work package, have been participating in fieldwork investigating the development of navigation apps to assist blind and partially sighted people. Working with thecentre:MK, in central Milton Keynes, a group of local people led by local RNIB volunteer Padma Sheriyan and software developer Roger Wilson-Hind met recently to trial a beacon navigation system in the shopping centre. The technology tested uses short range bluetooth beacons whose 'ping' can be recognised by mobile phones with the appropriate software and are used to locate and direct shopping centre visitors. This could be a boon for blind and partially sighted people, who value their independence. The SCiM-MK researchers will be following developments in this field to better understand the ways that smart technologies can enact or bring about new forms of social difference.

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    Sustainable mobility practices explored in new paper by Miguel Valdez, Matt Cook and others

    SCiM-MK researchers, Co-I Matthew Cook and RA Miguel Valdez, have had their paper Prototyping sustainable mobility practices: User generated data in the smart city published in the Journal of Technology Analysis and Strategic Management.

    The article looks at smart transport as a window into the social shaping of technology. In it, the authors seek to contribute to a small but growing number of case studies about how smart city projects develop on the ground, by exploring the development of a transport application, MotionMap, within the MK:Smart smart city programme.

    MotionMap, a smart app currently in development, will connect users with real-time information on transport flows and services, supporting more informed, flexible and spontaneous travel choices. This research looks at the development process that took place between Spring 2014 and Autumn 2016. A series of citizen engagement workshops facilitated the exploration of existing and envisioned transport practices in Milton Keynes through the interaction of lead users and a series of mock-ups and prototype versions of the MotionMap application. The app has not been officially launched and the deployment of its associated sensor infrastructure is in early stages, but citizens' interactions with its prototypes may provide insight on how ‘smart’ might be integrated within and potentially transform the plurality of mobility practices that exist in cities.

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    SCiM-MK Website Launched

    The project website for the project Smart Cities in the Making: Learning from Milton Keynes is now live.

    Welcome to the SCiM-MK project website. We will be updating this website over the life of the project with news from the project, pre-publication copies of academic outputs, and information on events and other activities related to the project.

    Do check back in with us frequently to see how the project unfolds. You can also follow us on Twitter, or contact us via the form at the bottom of the page if you require further information.

Tomorrow #mindonmk celebrates #mk's past and future with #mkcityfest and #mk50. Venue: Middleton Hall in @centreMK https://t.co/KAVsoJKaeB
by SCiM_MK