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The Bristol Approach to Citizen Sensing

A new framework for running inclusive, community-driven digital projects that involve sensor technologies.

Bristol has an innovative and expanding digital industry and was recently ranked as one of the top two cities in the UK Smart Cities Index (2016), which described the city as a ‘leader in open data access, energy innovation, and imaginative forms of community engagement.’

Working with Ideas for Change and Bristol City Council, we have developed The Bristol Approach: a way of working that ensures that new ‘smart city’ technologies address the needs and priorities of the people who will use them, particularly in communities that are in danger of ‘being left behind” or excluded.

Using the methods of The Bristol Approach enables technologists, businesses, artists and local people to work together to address relevant community issues using digital tools, creating a ‘smart city’ with ‘smart citizens’ at its heart.

Join in the conversation online with the hashtag #bristolapproach and find out how we’ve used the framework to tackle the issue of damp homes by reading ‘The Bristol Approach in action‘.

See The Bristol Approach in action

 The Framework

The Bristol Approach framework contains six phases.  It has been structured to ensure that community technology programmes are driven by issues that are relevant to local needs and take place at community level, with local people actively involved in design, testing and evaluation.

Bristol Approach new framework branding

The Story So Far…

In 2016 we worked with artists Paul Hurley and Caleb Parkin and communities across Bristol to identify issues that people were passionate about tackling:

  • Private tenants and advocacy groups reported damp problems in homes
  • Independent traders said they found it difficult to predict customer flow and numbers
  • Wildlife groups were keen to measure the biodiversity of parks and green spaces, to demonstrate the health of the local ecosystem and protect it in the future

Diverse groups of residents, artists, technologists, makers and activists formed around these issues. The ‘Dampbusters’ group followed the six phases of The Bristol Approach (shown above) to investigate if sensors or other sensing technologies could be used to gather relevant data and tackle the issues.

Find out how they put The Bristol Approach into action in the new Bristol Approach booklet.

If your community has an issue or challenge that you think sensor technology could help to tackle, please contact Makala on 0117 903 0444.  If you are interested in working with us to develop technical solutions or manufacture casings for new sensor technologies please contact Carolyn.

Contact Us

Knowle West Media Centre
Leinster Avenue
Knowle West
Bristol
BS4 1NL
+44 (0) 117 903 0444
enquiries@kwmc.org.uk

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