The council in Leeds is going to set up a “digital space” where everyone can collaborate to help solve the city’s problems.
Here’s what the council’s chief ICT officer Dylan Roberts says:
“The world’s most successful cities have digital programmes where public and private sectors co-operate. Here in Leeds we’re creating the Smart City Team to do just that. Within the next 12 months we aim to create a space where people from all sectors can collaborate to develop smart solutions to city problems that affect us all.”
Can’t give you any further details unfortunately, either about the Team or what the “space” might look like, or whether they really mean US that’s going to be invited to collaborate in the problem-solving.*
That’s because the brief quote above doesn’t come from a press release or council document, but from a comment written this morning by Mr Roberts on a Guardian website.
And I can’t find anything about it anywhere else.
“We’ll put Leeds on the map as a centre for data analytics securing new opportunities and establish an Open Data Institute that will encourage the open data culture boosting the city economically, environmentally and socially,” he says.
You may not have noticed, but simply everyone is talking “open data” in Leeds these days. If, like me, you’re not sure what open data is but want to get with the programme, there’s some info here, but it’s sketchy.
Anyway, it’s not clear whether this new council institute is going to be different from the other Open Data Institute, the one founded by Tim Berners Lee, that “Leeds” apparently joined as a “node” in Autumn.
Not clear either where the future council-backed institute fits in with the latest private sector (or non-public sector, at least) plans to launch a new open data platform for Leeds. That platform – known as the Leeds Data Shed – is going to be a community resource that holds open data about Leeds.
My guess – from the tweet below from the Chief Economic Development Officer at the council – is that they’re all one and the same: that we’re talking a Leeds public-private-opendata-partnership-hydra, the reach of whose tentacles is being negotiated in civic meeting rooms as we speak.
(*I did try and search for “Smart City Team” and “Open Data Institute” on the council’s website so I could find out more about both plans, but it came up with nothing. That either means that councillors haven’t yet talked about either project officially, or the site’s new search function still doesn’t … oh, never mind)