10 October 2014 by Jay Heal
Residents of any town or city will always complain about certain aspects of where they live. Whether it is immigration issues, cleanliness, local schools, hospital care, bin collections or even how often the council cut the grass. But being a proud Peterborough resident for over 5 years now, one thing no one in this commuter city can complain about is the forward thinking of their council.
Given Smart City status, Peterborough DNA is looking at ways where data can improve the lives of the 200,000+ residents of this cathedral city. Although tiny in comparison to other cities in the UK, such as London or Manchester, it’s forward thinking must be applauded. Quoted as being the fastest growing city in the UK earlier this year, the city has more in common with London than first appearances. London is facing transport, housing and natural resources issues as it prepares itself for it’s population to hit 10 million within the next 5 to 10 years time.
Throw into the mix a new gigabyte data pipe that will send Peterborough on to a broadband connection platform shared with South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong. So with the issue of carrying data, a will to open up local data points and the foresight to see the benefits of a smarter city, my local area is on the brink of doing great things for not only its residents but businesses too.
Also worth mentioning at this point, Peterborough has a lot of smart people working in digital. Not only do we have innovative businesses such as Compare the Market and Kiddicare based here, we have some incredible individuals too who either work locally or commute everyday to larger cities such as London or Cambridge (which are both 45 minutes away by train).
A few weeks ago, members of the local council and Peterborough DNA invited local businesses and ‘digital’ people to come together to brainstorm ideas of how we could make use of data within the city centre. Installing a screen outside the main shopping centre, Queensgate, as smaller multi-disciplinary teams we came up with ideas of what this screen could do and to what benefit. The outcome of this session is provided on OpenCity’s website.