Interesting things in Peterborough

Peterborough Cathedral

1. IBM, Opportunity Peterborough and Peterborough City Council are working together on a project which aims to transform Peterborough into the leading sustainable city in the UK.

From the IBM website:

The collaboration has outlined plans to launch a Sustainable City Visualisation project, which will initially focus on building a new online platform to monitor and analyze data on Peterborough’s energy, water, transport and waste systems. This data will be used to produce a real-time, integrated view of the city’s environmental performance. Residents and city officials will be able to log on to the web portal and easily access the necessary information to make more informed decisions about resource usage. For example, the city will be able to make suggestions to improve home water and energy usage, while being able to work more effectively with the utilities to plan the long term energy and water infrastructure that is needed for a sustainable future.

Interesting stuff, and something I’ll keep an eye on. GreenMonk is a great source of analysis on sustainability and IT, and here is a link to all their posts which feature IBM, who seem to be doing quite  bit in this space at the moment. It’s vital for local government to be seen to be leading on this agenda too, so it’s an interesting collaboration.

Hat tip to James Governor for mentioning this story on Twitter, where I picked it up.

2. The RSA are working with the Council in Peterborough to run the Citizen Power project. From the project’s Ning-based site:

Working in collaboration with Peterborough City Council and the Arts Council East, the Citizen Power project will span two years and be made up of a number of programmes based around the arts and social change, an area-based learning curriculum, a sustainable citizenship campaign, user-centred drug services and the use of online social media. Together, these different programmes of work will aim to address Peterborough’s challenges as well as work towards achieving the city’s potential.

I see David Wilcox is being his usual challenging self on the site, which is good, and I have joined to see where I might help (I’m a fellow of the RSA myself). Must say, the fact that the launch event for this local community based project in Peterborough took place in John Adam Street isn’t particularly inspiring. It will be interesting to see how this one pans out.

Good to see interesting things happening in Peterbough – it’s just down the road, and was the nearest big place to where I grew up.

Flickr credit: basegreen

Great comment on ReadWriteGov


Great comment left by Maureen Charles of Cambridgeshire County Council on the ReadWriteGov blog, acting as a real reminder of why I started arranging these events and the value they can have:

I was really impressed by the event in Peterborough. What resonated for me was all the ideas it gave for engaging young people. I couldn’t see straight away how to use them but the seeds were planted! After some creative thinking, I’m just now at the point where one idea is taking shape. Our participation worker who works with young people in care, has filmed them talking about their group “Just Us”. I’ve posted the video on “You Tube” and linked to it from the website. A start! Thank you.

No, Maureen, thank you.


There are plenty of events you can go to to find out about the social web, and how it can help public sector organisations, but they can be rather expensive, and pretty formal too. Another issue is that they are invariably in London, or one of the other major cities. What about those people who are a bit unsure about this stuff, and who don’t feel they can justify a £450 for a conference, or who don’t want to spend two days out of the office just to attend a one day event?

ReadWriteGov is an attempt to get around this issue by organising informal, half-day long events around the country at a very affordable price. The first event is being held at Peterborough City Council, where I have been helped out by Fran Paterson in organising things. I met Fran through the Social Media Community of Practice, which shows the value of this kind of networking. It’s happening on the 29th October between 1.30 and 4.30pm and is open to anyone who is interested, though I would seriously encourage people from local government to attend, along with folk from other parts of government and the public sector. You can sign up for the event at the Eventbrite page – it’s £25 for public sector folk and £50 for others.

It’s going to be a fun afternoon – I’ve lined up pals such as Dom Campbell and Steph Gray to come and talk about the exciting stuff they are doing with Barnet Council and DIUS, respectively. In addition to these luminaries, I’ll be running a social media game style workshop, which will hopefully help attendees identify how they can use social media in their organisations.

Of course, this is just the first of what will hopefully be many such events, which could be held all over the country. So if anyone is reading who fancies hosting a ReadWriteGov event, please do drop me a line.

One last note about the Peterborough event. Because Fran is heavily involved with the British Computer Society, especially the women‘s wing of the organisation, we are holding another event in the evening, again at the City Council, for BCS members and other interested people, such as the local college, to raise awareness of the tools that are out there and how they might be used. Booking for this event, which will run between 6 and 9pm, will, I believe, be through the BCS website in due course.