Cities for everyone

Cities for everyone

Following the launch of CityVerve, Manchester’s smart city demonstrator, Cassie Robinson, Strategic Designer previously at the Future Cities Catapult, now at Doteveryone, blogs about the importance of designing a smart city that caters to everyone’s needs. Robinson also introduces the second video in a seven part series on smart cities. 

“We need to spread the potential of the Internet of Things to all parts of society,” says Alexandra Deschamps­ Sonsino, Founder of Designswarm.

It was clear from our interviews that something people love about their city (and we think this is common across all cities) is its diversity. To retain that diversity it is important to make inclusion and accessibility essential. Can IoT offer more ways for more people to feel included in their city?

Through ‘demonstrating’ IoT technologies, cities should prioritise ways to expand their potential to these communities, as not everyone uses a smartphone, has Internet access or the time to engage with city governments.

Cities have always consulted their citizens through public meetings, exhibitions or surveys. However, the numbers reached have generally been small and unrepresentative of the overall community. New digital tools offer cities the chance to involve a much wider group of people in these processes, and for these people to have a much more direct impact on their cities.


  • Work with NGOs and community groups to broaden the reach of sensing, mapping, crowdfunding and collective action to communities that wouldn’t usually engage with these processes.
  • Explore opportunities to build ‘bottom up’ collaborative technologies into the city’s workflow. Long-term, thoughtful and inclusive work like Participatory City offers a great foundation for technology organisations and city governments to work with.
  • It is not sufficient for one organisation to know and act on all available evidence. We equally need to ensure and invest in growing our citizens’ collective capacity to have access to and make sense of shared knowledge about a place, its issues and available tools. Provide training opportunities to citizens to help them understand and use technology and data.
  • Involving everyone ­through crowdsourcing data: people can use low–cost sensors to measure and create crowdsourced maps of their environments; city governments can crowdsource data from social media sites and sensors in mobile phones, as a supplement to city–wide Internet of Things networks. Initiatives like IoT Academy offers great examples of how to do this.

Follow Cassie Robinson, Strategic Designer previously at the Future Cities Catapult, now at Doteveryone, on Twitter @CassieRobinson. Don’t forget to follow us too @IoTUKNews.

Cassie Robinson
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