Urban Living Pilot – Newcastle and Gateshead City Region

Duration: 07/16 - 01/18

Urban Living Project – Newcastle and Gateshead City Region aims to strengthen understanding of the complex and interdependent challenges confronting the region. Through the creation of a multi-stakeholder Newcastle City Futures Unit, bringing together government, industry, academia and civil society, it will explore a range of emerging issues including ageing, sustainability and social renewal.

Building on previous futures-oriented research in Newcastle, the project will use a range of methodologies and systems analysis to visualise scenarios, combined with expertise in computing, mapping, spatial analysis and urban planning. Working with partners, it will also develop a series of demonstrator projects to inform service design and delivery during the project cycle. The findings will provide practical solutions and recommendations for a broad range of stakeholders to promote effective, forward looking urban policies for citizens in the region.

Project webpage

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Mark Tewdwr-Jones (Principal Investigator, Director)
Richard Clay (Professor of Digital Humanities)
Lynne Corner (Director of Engagement)
Ruth Dalton (Professor of Building Usability and Visualisation)
Richard Dawson (Professor of Earth Systems Engineering)
Lynn Frewer (Professor of Food and Society)
Rose Gilroy (Professor of Ageing, Policy and Planning)
Shaun Lawson (Professor of Social Computing)
Daniel Nettle (Professor of Behavioural Science)
Patrick Olivier (Professor of Human-Computer Interaction)
Ranald Richardson (Principal Research Associate)

Creation of an interdisciplinary Newcastle City Futures Unit, bringing together a range of partners from the academic, public and private sectors.

Application of surveying, visualisation, systems analysis and other methodologies to develop projections and future scenarios for the city region.

Series of demonstrator projects with partner to directly inform service delivery during the project cycle.

Stories from the academy: Newcastle City Futures (29 May 2017)

  • The project team held 196 meetings with 141 different non-academic organisations across the four sectors of the quadruple helix, where over 50 project ideas for the Newcastle Gateshead City Region have been co-created. This has included one-to-one meetings with 36 Public sector, 90 Private sector, 15 Community and voluntary sector organisations, and 37 Higher education engagements (beyond Newcastle University). Methods employed to develop partnership working have been drawn from a range of disciplines including creative sources, digital ‘mash ups’ and even Lego.
  • NCF cemented its social media presence, creating 11 new videos that have been viewed over 3500 times on a bespoke YouTube channel and over 1600 times via Twitter, and downloadable infographics and brochures;
  • NCF has moved from having 20 non academic city and regional partners to over 180 in 24 months; this has generated over 50 project ideas being shaped for physical and/or virtual delivery back into the city and the region through a unique facilitation platform.
  • The NCF team has presented the project at 80 conferences, workshops and events, and at five international symposia, to a combined audience of over 1,500 people.
  • The collaborative platform of Newcastle City Futures and the co-created project ideas have already led to £9.978m being levered into Newcastle and Gateshead for partners in since August 2016.
  • Eighteen local workshops have been held involving over 400 participants, and two specific digital engagement exercises attracted 500 children at The Big Draw event, and 3,000 participants and 24,000 website visitors for Metro Futures; specific engagement events for the Pitchside and Future Homes project, plus all the Great Exhibition of the North events this summer.
  • NCF formed a partnership with Trinity Mirror Newspaper Group’s Chronicle newspaper to feature stories of how Newcastle and Gateshead has changed with 14 ‘Newcastle urban change’ articles published since March 2016 and each achieving the top 10 daily most-downloads with hits of between 5,000 and 10,000.
  • NCF formed a partnership with Three Motion Video to film a series of videos about city leadership entitled North East Leaders.
  • NCF developed three new digital outputs, a ChangeExplorer planning app, a Brutalist Mapper app, and JigsAudio, all as open source platforms for public downloads and use.
  • NCF has also formed MoU for Newcastle University with two multinationals – Engie and IBM – on smart cities; the Engie relationship has generated a £500k investment on incubation space for the city council, and the IBM relationship has led to a £400k equivalent investment for the free use of their Bluemix platform for staff, students and startups in the city.
  • NCF has made a concerted effort to embed the quadruple helix ethos into the city’s governance and created a commitment among partners for Newcastle and Gateshead to be seen as a “test bed city of innovation”, thinking how to marrying up digital possibilities with the city’s needs, as a “smart and socially inclusive city”, through “proof of concept projects” that can be scaled up. This has been legitimised through the agreements of the special purpose governance vehicles, the city council’s City Futures Development Group, and the Newcastle Science City (NSC) Science City Partnership Board.
  • The digital element of Newcastle City Futures has been reflected in citations in reports in the Digital Agenda blog (September 2016, weblink), The Daily Telegraph (October 2016, media citation, weblink video), the Government’s Future Cities Catapult report on digital and planning (December 2016, weblink), a Huffington Post feature on tech-savvy cities (July 2017, weblink), and in the Huawei Smart Cities Index 2017 that specifically awards commendation for Newcastle City Futures and Newcastle University (October 2017, weblink, media coverage; and The Daily Telegraph interview with MTJ, October 2017).
  • Among the 50 projects shaped by NCF’s partnership approach, are: Future Homes (awarded £1.2m from Homes and Community Agency; £3.2m from Karbon Homes and £150k from Legal and General); the Future of Northumberland Street (NCF sat on the NS Advisory Group 2016-17; NCC awarded this Phase I £3.255m funding in November 2017); Metro Futures engagement (Nexus awarded £337m from HM Treasury for new trains in November 2017); Digital Health Hub (awarded £600k from NHS England and £400k from Newcastle University; Gateshead Council digital and planning MHCLG PDF award £208k).
  • NCF is a consortium member of the Northern Arc Virgin Hyperloop Challenge bid for development of a hyperloop across the North of England and Scotland; the bid was shortlisted to the final 10 from 2,600 submissions (September 2017).