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.

‘Digital placemaking for more inclusive and accessible cities’ by Dr Jo Morrison, Calvium

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.

Illustration by Laura Sayers

Illustrator’s response to Jo’s article and future vision, by Laura Sayers

On first reading Jo’s brilliant article, regrettably, my ignorant impression was somewhat lacking in inspiration for the concept of a “Smart City Farm”. I struggled to imagine how tech could engage with a place so steeped in history, labour and earthiness. But, after re-reading the article several times over, there was one bit that stood out to me: Cake. Call it what you want, lockdown brain, lockdown stomach, but reading the line “they (farms) are trusted places to experience nature, socialise and eat cake” made me pine for the community we’ve all been missing and reminded me of a fond memory from a month prior to the lockdown. Yes, it involved eating cake on a farm… This past Valentine’s Day in the practically deserted National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride. Remembering that day out at the fairly modern museum and looking further into the aforementioned Windmill Hill Farm in Bristol, I realised that when I think of the word ‘farm’ the image in my head is incredibly dated. More on the Old McDonald side of things than the spirited place of sanctuary that Jo describes. Joining the dots; if my city dweller view is a common one, possibly proven by the lack of visitors at the museum that day, then there is a definite need for these spaces to be updated. I came round to the idea that technology is at hand to creatively enhance the resources and experiences the humble farm is built upon.

Dr Jo Morrison, Calvium

Dr Jo Morrison — bio

I operate at the intersection of research, design and enterprise. Improving the social, cultural, economic and environmental prosperity of towns and cities through digital innovation is a core area of my work. In particular, discovering the opportunities and value that bespoke digital placemaking affords clients involved in place management, urban developments and regeneration — with the aim of creating more pleasurable, sustainable and citizen-centred future urban spaces.

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