The fourth in our blog series about project ‘Future of the High Street’ — openly sharing the evolving project and process, our learnings and findings. This month — we do some jargon busting around co-design and data — and what it means for this project. Or scroll down for this month’s insights direct from the project team members.

Film by Future of the High Street film-maker Megan Miller

Co-design. Engagement. Design thinking. Data-driven. Urban data. Data and design. There’s a lot of jargon out there! And the Future of the High Street project combines aspects from all these things. …


Film by Megan Miller — a film-maker documenting the Future of the High Street project process and sharing these via our monthly project blog.

The third in our blog series about project ‘Future of the High Street’ — openly sharing the evolving project and process, our learnings and findings. This month — we reveal insights into live project decision-making and thought processes around digital engagement.

This month a critical question for us has been something that many built environment and placemaking professionals have needed to consider over the last year, as they pivot their previously established stakeholder engagement, placemaking and…


These were the questions we first asked during a conversation between the Edinburgh Futures Institute and Edinburgh Living Lab at the University of Edinburgh, Jacobs, the City of Edinburgh and Sustrans in late 2019. This conversation evolved into a project around the Open Streets programme in Edinburgh, and subsequently the Spaces for People temporary street interventions. Both project phases explored how urban data could potentially provide valuable insights to inform city decision-making.

The first phase — in early-mid 2020 — resulted in a resource and report aiming to support data-informed and community-centred decision-making for the public realm. …


Film by Megan Miller — a film-maker documenting the project and process through short film vignettes accompanying our monthly project blog.

The second in our blog series about project ‘Future of the High Street’ — openly sharing the evolving project and process, our learnings and findings. This month — meet the project team and advisory board, as they reveal their insights and aspirations for the ‘Future of the High Street’ as both a key contemporary topic and live project.

The last month has seen the kick-off of ‘The Future of the High Street’ — a 6-month project using digital engagement…


Dalry Road high street, Edinburgh (illustration: Jenny Elliott)

The first in our blog series about project ‘Future of the High Street’ — openly sharing the project and process, our learnings and findings.

The high street is the heart of many communities. Not just a local centre of economic activity and hustle and bustle, it is also a social connector, a local landmark and often vibrant destination, both a movement route and place we spend time, meet friends, pop to the shop, or bump into neighbours. …


The Smart Places illustrated blog article series features thought pieces from thinkers, practitioners, experts and leaders in the built environment, sustainability, future cities, design, data and communities and more. The final of four live Tweet-ups will take place on Thursday 23 June from 3–4pm on Twitter at #smartplaces, and the series will culminate in a one hour online Panel Discussion with the seven authors on Friday 26 June from 3–4pm. Join us on Thursday for the last Tweet-up with Sally Kerr and get your free ticket for the panel on Eventbrite. See the full programme of events for more information.


Illustrator Jack Daly‘s interpretation of Sally’s future vision for how a Smart Places approach could improve future places. Scroll down to read about the thinking behind Jack’s visual response to the article.

Article 7 of 7 in the Smart Places illustrated blog article series featuring thought pieces from a diverse line up of thinkers, practitioners, experts and leaders in this field. View the other articles here, or find out about the full programme of events.

The COVID emergency has brought many challenges that were unimaginable a few months ago. The first priorities were safety and health, but when lockdown started one of the early issues was accessing and sharing local data to help everyone deal with and live through the emergency. Communities grappled with the scarcity of local data, finding it difficult…


Illustrator Katie Chappell‘s interpretation of Kate’s future vision for how a Smart Places approach could improve the built environment for 2040. Scroll down to read about the thinking behind Katie’s visual response to the article.

Article 6 of 7 in the Smart Places illustrated blog article series featuring thought pieces from a diverse line up of thinkers, practitioners, experts and leaders in this field. View the other articles here, or find out about the full programme of events.

Present Voices Future Lives’ — It’s an exhibition, workshop, and a series of films all about ‘Housing to 2040’. We (ESALA, Collective Architecture and Peak 15) designed the exhibition to capture voices of people around Scotland talking about the future of housing and communities, which will feed into the Scottish Government ‘Housing to 2040’ vision. The exhibition…


Illustrator Laura Sayers’ interpretation of Jo’s future vision for how digital engagement can feed into a Smart Places approach. Scroll down to read about the thinking behind her visual response to the article.

Article 5 of 7 in the Smart Places illustrated blog series featuring thought pieces from a diverse line up of thinkers, practitioners and leaders in this field. View the other articles, or find out about the full programme of events including Jo’s live Twitter Q&A on Friday 19 June 3–4pm.

At the time of writing the UK is in lockdown, an NHS Covid-19 contact-tracing app is being tested on the Isle of Wight, Sidewalk Labs (Google affiliate) has announced that it is pulling out of its Toronto ‘smart city’ project and Naomi Klein has published an article highlighting the potential…


Illustrator James Albon‘s interpretation of Niamh’s future vision for how digital engagement can feed into a Smart Places approach. Scroll down to read about the thinking behind his visual response to the article.

Article 4 of 7 in the Smart Places illustrated blog article series featuring thought pieces from a diverse line up of thinkers, practitioners, experts and leaders in this field. View the other articles here, or find out about the full programme of events.

Digital engagement could help us out of lockdown and into the new future; and where a Smart Places approach and a collaborative effort could make this possible.

Coronavirus and lockdown has left us in a very different world. Overnight, workplaces and friendships moved online. But did our democracy get left behind? Hearing citizens’ voice in times of…

Edinburgh Living Lab

We bring people together to solve problems using data and design.

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