Civic mapping and network building for a fair and inclusive city
City Hall have launched a “listening exercise” to help the Chief Digital Officer Theo Blackwell and his Board fulfil the Mayor's aim of making London the world's leading Smart City.
We believe that a Smart City should also be a Networked City, where community-led mapping, technology and network-building combine to address social isolation and ensure an inclusive, fair society in a rapidly-changing world.
Over the past year we have explored the idea of Networked City as a smart city that is sharing, participatory and inclusive. It's about connecting people using technology and also every other way in which we can support human interaction. Here's how Barcelona is addressing the challenge: Building the Networked City From the Ground Up With Citizens.
In the afternoon there were workshop sessions about different methods of mapping, and how to meet the challenges of engagement and inclusion in the digital, networked age.
We discussed in the workshop groups how mapping and network building tools can support cooperation between communities, organisations and citizens working for a fair and inclusive London.
Learning for Action: Nicolas Fonty
Challenges: How do we learn together to create action? How do we share knowledge?
Techniques: A metropolitan civic school as a platform to share knowledge between communities and organise collaboration with universities, practitioners and possibly local authorities.
Engaging for action: Barbara Brayshay
Challenges: How do we enable participation and above all inclusion of everyone in the Networked
City? How to make participation attractive and meaningful ? How to make visible needs and aspirations of usually excluded groups ?
Techniques: Examples of innovative and inclusive engaging processes; in particular some civic mapping processes (including playful and artistic) ; addressing the demands/needs from specific communities (working class areas, minorities …)
Organising for Action: Matt Scott
Challenges : how do we organise in the digital/network age? How do we organise non-hierarchically?
Techniques & issues: theories of democratisation, existing networking tools, cooperative model, networks governance, taking collective decisions, data ownership, digital commons, ; mapping and other tools to support civic collective action
Data for action: David Kane and Mike Duggan (Royal Holloway)
Challenges: Why is civic data important? What data is available? How can communities and citizens use data and make sense out of it?
Issues: Open data, contributed data, access to strategic data, data for justice, data ownership, big (civic) data, data analysis (pedagogic, accessible) , data visualisations (pedagogic, accessible)…
Understanding networks: Steve Dale
Challenges ; Why is it important to understand networks?, What is the scale of the network map (individual, neighbourhood, metropolitan, thematic) How can networks strengthen relationships in the digital/network age?
Network mapping: Drew Mackie
Challenges: What is the purpose of a network map, how will it be used and who is it for? Managing and maintaining netmaps.
Techniques : Network surveys and participation. Making visible connections across civil society, finding the gaps, Automatic map generation through SumApp and Kumu
In the evening we discussed how to develop one or more Communities of Practice (CoP) and networks to learn together about developing a more networked city, and how to input to consultation about Smart City London.
Toby Laurent Belson spoke from the perspective of local communities, and Richard Lee, of Reclaim our Spaces, noted the following key points:
Before the event we started “mapping the mappers”, so we had a map of who is doing what for the 27th, and the basis for a CoP and network. That map now includes others interested in Networked City. It is available here, password protected, to those on the map. Screenshot below.
Here's our poster describing making connections at different levels:
The March event was in part a response to the new London Smart City initiative, where the team have asked for input to their current "listening exercise". We believe it is important that civil society organisations and citizens can contribute their perspective to plans that currently focus mainly on public and private sectors.
In particular we believe that digital technology can support methods to map local assets, connect Londoners, support creative collaborations, enable citizen-led action, and address social isolation. We've focussed on these opportunities over the past year in our Networked City exploration - and argued that they should feature more prominently official plans for civil society infrastructure.
The March event was also an opportunity to bring together different methodologies that support our approach: on the one hand social network mapping and analysis, on the other using geographic mapping as a participatory cartographic tool for exploring less tangible social infrastructure, place making, community engagement and empowerment.
We are also combining our ideas for a Community of Practice in which civic change agents can learn from each other how to undertake mapping, and to use this and other methods for community building in localities, and networks.
We'll be running further events for the Community of Practice, and developing an online collaboration platform.