If the decisions and policies that shaped our societies were cakes, data would be the eggs, flour, sugar and butter. Without data, we’d do everything on a whim. Whilst we can apply that logic to our lottery number choices and when we add that unnecessary side dish to our food order, without data and information, we can’t organise and implement change for the better. In the context of cities, BIMs and DMOs, it is no different, and the ways in which we gather and use data are crucial to how we can further improve our spaces and businesses.

The importance of information

It is no surprise that data-driven cities such as Singapore have had a world-leading, effective and coordinated response to COVID-19 with effective tracing initiatives such as SafeEntry. City planners and authorities all share the same goal of improving their infrastructure and amenities for communities. BIMs need to have a marketable space that retains regular users and encourages new customers. Both of these missions are made possible through a strong connection between the people and the organisation.

By gathering data and insights from communities, cities are being shaped by citizens. Decisions need to be made with users in mind, as their expertise and experiences can offer a unique insight into what people want and need – after all, the general public are the ones living, working and playing in the area, so shouldn’t they have a say? Making the process of policy creation a more collaborative and transparent process enhances the overall experience of city planning and creates stronger relationships between cities and their citizens.

Data’s many faces

The scope of information available is what makes data such a versatile asset for decision makers. Pure numerical data can show helpful statistics such as car park usage, tenant occupancy rates and shopping footfall. The data handled at Hello Lamp Post is collected through innovative, inclusive and instant methods of communication with talking street furniture. Whether you want to chat with a bus stop about bus times, a parking meter for parking information, a statue to find out its history or a bench just for a chat, Hello Lamp Post has added a helpful element to points of interest, through friendly and curious interactions. By repurposing street objects in their built environment, Hello Lamp Post is able to share local information, give opportunities for community feedback and put smiles on people’s faces.

Hello Lamp Post’s platform is completely flexible, which means conversations can be adapted around individual councils or BID’s objectives. For example, Hello Southwark was able to gauge the thoughts and feelings of the community on local environmental issues, whilst Hello Lerwick discovered what residents would like to change about the high street and public spaces around the town. Both of these case studies have enabled local leaders to access a vast array of data on issues that need to be addressed, in order to shape a better future for their areas in which people live, work and play.

Data made less complicated

Handling data can be an intimidating process. Ideas of massive quantities of numbers and statistics are alienating, and can put people off from wanting to use information as a tool… making it easy to forget the abundance of benefits data gathering brings.

At Hello Lamp Post, our mission is simple: we want to humanise places around the world, so that people can access local information easily and decision makers can be better informed about the needs of their community. Hello Lamp Post’s user engagement dashboard doesn’t look like something from a scene in The Matrix, and it shows real time data, insights and results that allows easy access for the city councils, DMOs, BIDs, universities and hospitals that need it.

The simplicity of our model looks to tackle issues commonly found in data gathering exercises. Our friendly street objects offer a fun and interactive feature to public spaces, encouraging residents, visitors and customers to say what’s on their mind, where they might not have had the opportunity to before. At a time when community support has never been more important, Hello Lamp Post is encouraging people to voice their opinions and feedback about their local area, so that we can better inform decision makers and create human-centric cities of the future.

Change in action

Hello Lamp Post sets out to give underrepresented and unheard voices a new platform to connect with decision makers. An example of this is Hello Summerside in Prince Edward Island, Canada, where conversational data was used to shape the city’s tax budget. With a record uptake in engagement from the 18-30 year old demographic, a new audience had their say on an issue that they had historically never been involved in.

City planners and local governments benefit from accessing new voices, as they are then able to create improvements more catered to the community. Hello Maritime Mile in Belfast, UK, engaged with visitors of all ages from all six continents. This diverse pool of data has allowed Belfast City Council to gather insights from a diverse group of demographics, and has since been able to enhance visitor experiences in an area which typically didn’t see high footfall numbers and dwell times.

With 68% of people expected to live in cities by 2050, it is crucial that urban spaces are prepared for these growing populations. As we gather more data and insights from communities across the world, Hello Lamp Post is ultimately putting people at the heart of policies and decisions that affect them – by humanising urban environments and making places interactive, we’re able to create people-centred cities of the future.

For more information on how we’re using data to shape cities of the future, get in touch via email contact@hlp.city.Back