Will Smart Cities lead us to Subtopia?

Why you must influence the Smart City agenda where you live

In 1955 critic Ian Nairn wrote a piece for Architecture Review called “Outrage”, in which he coined the term “Subtopia”:

Subtopia is the annihilation of the site, the steamrollering of all individuality of place to one uniform and mediocre pattern

Nairn was calling for the preservation of characteristic places, fearful that if things were allowed to continue then “…the end of Southampton will look like the beginning of Carlisle; the parts in between will look like the end of Carlisle or the beginning of Southampton.”

Over 60 years later the New Economics Foundation (NEF) has found that 41% of our town high streets are clones, full of national identikit chain stores and devoid of local character, with another 23% well on their way. Continue reading “Will Smart Cities lead us to Subtopia?”

Happy Birthday TTN Reading!

One year on from launching The Things Network Reading, I was invited back to Reading Geek Night to give an update on what we have been getting up to…

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Here’s a link to the slides:
rdggeek-talk-nov-2016

There wasn’t an official videographer this time, but Mike kindly put this together from his mobile phone.

Here’s to the next year of fun 🙂

Reading Hotspot project launches

This week saw the launch of the Reading Hotspot project for Reading 2016 Year of Culture.

Four students from UTC Reading are working with Mark Stanley from The Things Network Reading to develop Internet of Things sensors that will be installed in arts centres and museums around Reading.

Mark explained the project:

“Reading’s arts scene has to work hard to get the attention of a largely commuting population. If we can better connect artists and audiences in Reading we can increase attendance at performances at venues in Reading.”

“By the end of the summer we aim to give audiences a very simple way to find out ‘Where’s hot in Reading?’ and rate the events they attend. We’ll provide the arts and culture venues with objective data that demonstrates the impact of different events, and which will support funding bids for future events.

The team(left to right): Kieron Cardall, Simon Light, Sam Kimbinyi, Tom Helyer

The team(left to right): Kieron Cardall, Simon Light, Sam Kimbiny, Tom Helyer

The team has been given a base at Reading’s collaboration incubation and co-working hub, GROW@GreenPark, and will run throughout the summer holidays. The students are using laptops donated by local geeks and supporters of The Things Network.

“Reading Hotspots is about connecting Our audiences and artists and growing the attendance at arts events in Reading, but it’s also about demonstrating that Reading is once more becoming a hub of technology innovation in the UK.” said Mark. “Reading has the biggest Things Network in the UK, it’s free to use and there is a lot of community interest in what we can do with it! I’m delighted that Reading Council is looking at low cost ways to explore Smart City technology like this, it’s very encouraging and forward thinking.”

About The Things Network

The Things Network is a global, free to use, wireless data network for the Internet of Things. It began in Amsterdam in August 2015 and has spread to nearly 200 communities around the world.
Mark Stanley and Mike Beardmore started The Things Network in Reading in December 2015, so the people, schools and startups in and around Reading can use it to build and connect their “Things” to the Internet.

Contact: Mark Stanley: mark.stanley@coraledge.co.uk or for visit https://facebook.com/ttnreading

About Thingitude Ltd

Thingitude is a non-profit organisation established to promote, support and develop community-led open source Internet of Things projects. We believe a great deal of Smart City innovation and value will come from a bottom-up community-led approach to complement the top-down consultancy-led approach. We also believe in Smart Towns, Smart Villages, and Smart Countryside!

Thingitude was successful in its bid for Reading 2016 Year of Culture funding for the Reading Hotspot project. The project is also part-funded by Coraledge Ltd.

Contact: Mark Stanley: mark.stanley@coraledge.co.uk or visit http://thingitude.com

About Reading 2016 Year of Culture

Year of Culture will be the most important cultural and creative activity undertaken in Reading in a generation. The aims of the initiative include uniting the existing arts and culture organisations in Reading, and increasing the cultural ambition of Reading to make the town a destination for arts and culture in the UK

Reading 2016 received seed funding from Reading Cultural Partnership and is supported by Reading UK CIC, the University of Reading, Reading Borough Council, Reading College, Alt Reading as well as many local arts groups and businesses.