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Smart Cities Leader ‘impressed with Plymouth’s appetite for innovation’

By 15th February 2016 No Comments

International Smart Cities leader Dan Byles hosted a Future Debate at Devonport Guildhall last week Thursday 11 February, 2016, speaking to a packed crowd of digital professionals, city leaders, businesses and the wider public.

The Smart Cities movement looks at how digital innovation, open data, engaged civic society and public, private sector collaborations create change around social mobility, improved environments and health and greater prosperity.

Dan Byles, Vice President of Corporate Development at Living PlanIT and Independent Chair of Smarter UK, outlined both the key problems faced by cities, with the world’s urban foot print set to double by 2040, but also the opportunities being creating by rapid digitization and how this can be bought to bear on the collective challenges faced by citizens. Joined by speakers from other local smart cities initiatives such as Co-Cars, Plymouth University’s Institute of Digital Arts and Technology (i-DAT) and Design for Social Change, currently piloting the national Changify App in the city, Mr Byles, who also established the all-party parliamentary group on Smart Cities, complimented Plymouth on its forward thinking approach, citing key city initiatives such as the forthcoming new digital space at the Market Hall in Devonport and the council programme to open up data, creating a new resource for social enterprises, business and young digital leaders.

Mr Byles said: “I spoke to a very engaged audience at Devonport Guildhall and I’m really impressed with the appetite for innovation in Plymouth’.

The Future Debates programme was supported locally by the RSA South West (Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts Commerce and Manufactures) the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) and is part of a national programme funded by the British Science Association (BSA) designed to raise a wider conversation about the impact of robotics and automation on society.

The event also bought the BSA back to the Guildhall for the first time in 175 years, since their tenth annual national conference in 1841 where renown biologist Richard Owen first presented his paper on ‘terrible lizard’ fossils coining the word ‘dinosaur’.

Ed Whitelaw for RIO said “the event provided for a very energised debate and as is part of a growing partnership programme of digital events, activities, courses and school projects which will form just a part of what the new Market Hall development will offer”.

For news on future digital events and all progress on the Market Hall in Devonport please visit www.themarkethall.co.uk

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