SHIFT – London’s Living Testbed and Building the World’s First ‘Inclusive Innovation District’ at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park: PUBLIC REALM & URBAN SPACES Smart Class 2022 Retrospective


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Global climate, economic and social crises present an imminent and unprecedented threat to our towns and cities. But with every challenge comes the opportunity to innovate. SHIFT’s mission is to bring people together to find solutions to these challenges and build better, healthier and more sustainable cities for future generations – and it’s aiming to do so using the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a living testbed.

10 years on from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, the creation of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park has seen world class sporting and entertainment venues built, new neighbourhoods and business districts erected and inhabited, and unrivalled award winning parklands planted. The setting at the Park includes 560 acres of the perfect blend of public realm, roads and cycle paths, rivers and canals – largely under public ownership and management which presents the opportunity to trial new technology and products that can improve our collective experience of the city.

Shift is the Park’s innovation programme and collective of world-leading organisations, thinkers and creatives who are united by a shared vision to tackle global crises and improve the future of urban living for all. Founding partners include University College London (UCL), University of the Arts London (UAL), London College of Fashion, Loughborough University in London, Lendlease, Here East, Plexal and the London Legacy Development Corporation.

By combining resources, expertise and networks, Shift aims to attract global investment to Stratford, turbocharge innovation and find solutions to local problems that can be scaled up and applied globally. At the heart of SHIFT’s approach is the public/communities and sustainable outcomes are at the heart of innovation. The key focus areas are response to the climate emergency in cities, health and wellbeing and transport of people and goods. Francesca Colloca, Head of Innovation – SHIFT for the London Legacy Development Corporation, joined us at PUBLIC REALM & URBAN SPACES Smart Class 2022 last month to deliver an insightful keynote detailing the approach to inclusive innovation and highlighting some of the key innovation trials happening on the Park.

Francesca’s presentation enlightened us about:

  • An inclusive innovation model, UK innovation districts and delivering a regional approach to inclusive economy;
  • ‘Movement in Cities’ current innovation trials at QEOP – AI-powered spatial analytics for traffic management and urban planning/using AI to monitor mobility modes across the Park (Flyma), last mile delivery: E-Walker (UPS/Frieghtlab), construction last mile logistics (Murphy’s/TfL), local deliveries last mile business suppliers (Signorelli), local last mile consumer deliveries (CDT/Poplar Harca), bike locks with Mosa, mass movement e-transit, robotic deliveries;
  • ‘Health in Cities’ current innovation trials – Testing hearing wellness in venues: Mumbli, air quality trials with Aeternum, active travel optimisation for all feasibility study and micro mobility hub, Bikeworks e-scooter accessibility improvements;
  • ‘Climate Emergency in Cities’ current innovation trials – Water temperature monitoring sensors/impact of urban heat index on rivers (UCL), urban roof farming and bio-solar research (UCL), green infrastructure, decarbonising district heat network;
  • Circular high streets, borough integration (incl. citizen scientists, digitisation of planning, retrofit housing, local innovation corridors, creative enterprise zone, citizen assembly, community wealth building etc) and SHIFT 2025 objectives (5 year strategy complete, international recognition as a leading urban innovation testbed, digital twin developed, research programme established, innovation trials pipeline developed etc)

If you meet our regular delegate qualification criteria but were unable to join us at Greencoat Place Conference Centre, London, for the live in-person event on July 7th, CLICK HERE and complete the short “Download form” (located at the bottom of the post) to receive a unique link enabling free access to the presentation video recordings and slides (including the film footage and slides from Francesca’s keynote).

Those qualifying to receive the rich presentation content from this event include commissioning, procurement, trialling and partnering leads, senior influencers, strategic decision makers, planners, place makers, architects, green space managers, urban designers, highways & street scene, transport & mobility and high streets & regeneration professionals from councils and local authorities (city, borough, metropolitan, district, county and combined); people and place partnerships; developers, landowners and creators of privately owned public spaces; prime contractors and city centre management companies; DfT, DEFRA, MHCLG, EA and supporting governmental bodies; transport authorities, highways agencies and public transport operators; civic organisations and community groups; and other key players from the public realm ecosystem with responsibility for managing, maintaining and operating our streets, squares, forecourts, parks, pathways, retail centres, car parks, airports, ports, travel hubs, hospitals, housing estates, campuses, communal gardens and the assets contained within these public or semi-public spaces.

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A brand new addition to our events portfolio, PUBLIC REALM & URBAN SPACES Smart Classes show key buyer side stakeholders how to harness innovation, technology and data science to create the next generation of smarter spaces and places in our cities and regions. PUBLIC REALM & URBAN SPACES Smart Class 2022 will be hosted in London on 7th July 2022.


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