Why I wanted to join the Participatory City Foundation Board
For personal reasons, and professional! I've been working in and with cities for many years, working in the gaps between the street and city policy and governance. My work is about using design to both bind together new forms of communities, spaces and technologies at that street level, and unlock greater possibility of systemic change at the policy and governance level. Participatory City is one of the best and brightest examples of working at the super-local level that I'm aware of, and I wanted, personally, to find out more about how it works by rolling my sleeves up and getting involved, and professionally, to help positively shape it by drawing in ideas and examples from other projects, and then help convey what we're doing and what we've learned elsewhere. It's a wonderfully inspiring project, and I want to understand what makes it tick, and how we can best spread its ideas, practices and outcomes.
A little bit about my background
I'm a designer and urbanist, based in London but working all over the place for the global multidisciplinary design and engineering firm, Arup. I've spent most of my careering hovering around design, cities and technology, often all at the same time, and in particularly binding what we call strategic design—the design of the context of things, in terms of policy, culture, systems and approaches—to that of the details of 'user experience design', or the actual touch points or interactions by which we live our lives. I've done this outside of cities too, at places like the BBC, Monocle, SITRA and even the music industry in the late 1990s! But I've spent a lot of my time working with city governments or similar agencies, and on urban development projects at the district level, and on the creation and ongoing life of buildings and places. I've lived and worked in UK, Australia, Finland and Italy, and learned a lot from each of those places, cultures and projects. I'm a husband and dad, too, and that's probably where I learn the most, of course. I write frequently, about all these things and more, and you can find some examples of that at https://medium.com/@cityofsound