Use cases for our Skyline prototype
During our session at the CivTech Demo day Q&A we were asked about what other use cases might be relevant beyond town centre revitalisation. We have been exploring this idea within our team with regards to the commercialisation of our MVP, which will form the basis of an exciting new web-application which we have called Skyline.
Understanding the starting point
To us it’s clear that any project that requires an understanding of the local baseline in order to inform future investment in a place, be it financial or policy-based, would benefit from our tool. By baseline, we refer to the existing situation and status of a place, from its population and environmental make-up, to the movement and flux of these.
The tool we have developed allows non-technical users to easily, and rapidly interrogate the data shown on our interactive map. Our prototype focused on understanding accessibility to a number of key services and facilities, from all properties and vacant/brownfield sites in Galashiels, based on distance and mode of transport adopted. From this analysis, users can determine what parts of Galashiels are less well served, who does not have particularly good access to local services, and therefore where investment may be beneficial. Equally, the tool starts to highlight what uses may be most beneficial on a brownfield site or at the very least what uses should be included as part of a holistic masterplan.
There are many reasons why this process is key to inform town centre revitalisation more generally, beyond the specific example we used when developing our tool for Galashiels, including:
- Any policy decision should be underpinned by transparent, reliable data sources
- The starting point for place-based interventions has to be the current state of affairs, ie the baseline
- In order to identify what uses may bring vibrancy and vitality back to a town centre, it is important to understand the current mix of uses in the town centre, how the centre is currently accessed and who it serves best
Considerations for rural applications
However the same exercise could be applied to a rural hamlet or look at a number of small villages as a cluster to understand how rural communities are served. This is not only a helpful exercise to stimulate conversations around need and demand where they may be stalling. It could also provide a useful tool to make a case for investment in facilities to serve more than one community, and to identify where to locate these facilities to maximise accessibility.
We are very aware that the matter of accessibility is critical in rural locations and that the approach has to be different to that taken in a more urban context. We are also aware that rural Local Authorities are under pressure to use the ‘15-minute city’ concept as the basis upon which to inform policy and investment decisions. However, there are clear tensions between some of the principles of a ‘15-minute city’/‘20-minute neighbourhood’, and rural settings.
How our tool could help in a rural context
We believe our tool could assist with teasing out what a ‘rural 15-minute city’ model might look like by:
- Allowing an understanding of the local baseline across as broad an area as required (beyond the hamlet/village)
- Enabling open conversations with rural communities about their needs, accessibility challenges and travel patterns
- Extend the concept of ‘15min city’ by incorporating other sustainable modes of transport, appreciating that one of the trade-offs of living in a rural location means potentially reduced walkability to certain services and facilities
- Support business cases for investment in better sustainable transport infrastructure, as well as e-bikes and e-scooters
- Identify opportunity areas, such as the development of hubs that serve more than one community
Work with us or join our pilot programme
We are excited to test some of these assumptions with partners over the coming months as part of a programme of pilots that will commence shortly. If you would like to join the discussion, or get involved please sign up here for updates or get in touch with us at email@example.com.