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…


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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. …


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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.


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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…


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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…


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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…


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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…


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Illustrator Miranda Smith’s interpretation of Sarah’s future vision for using a ‘Smart Places’ approach combining digital and face to face. Scroll down to read about Miranda’s visual response to the article.

Article 3 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, including Sarah’s live Twitter Q&A on Friday 12 June 3–4pm.

In a world where digital tools are becoming the norm, from interacting with each other to paying bills and insuring your car, the ease of undertaking an action is more and more at your fingertips. …


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Illustrator Katie Quinn’s interpretation of Daisy’s future vision for using a ‘Smart Places’ approach combining citizen engagement and data/technology. Scroll down to read about Katie’s visual response to the article.

Article 2 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, including Daisy’s live Twitter Q&A on Friday 5 June 3–4pm.

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.”

Helen Keller

Over the past few weeks, I have found myself reflecting on resilience. Resilience that you find within yourself, within communities and within our neighbourhoods, towns and cities. …


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Illustrator Victoria Rose Ball‘s’ interpretation of Euan’s future vision for using a Smart Places ‘design with data’ approach. Scroll down to read about the thinking behind her visual response to the article.

Article 1 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.

Most design professions today rely heavily on data to inform their work. From product designers to service designers, data is collected through numerous rounds of user research, focus groups and user testing. Technology is employed to track eye movements, attention, and undertake thousands of ‘A/B tests’, all before committing to any single design solution. …

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

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