21c yesterday welcomed a capacity crowd to Westminster for our latest in our series of Open Data workshops. The event, organized together with the UK’s Smart City organization Future Cities Catapult, gave leaders from local authorities, government departments and the private sector hands-on access to the tools produced by the Citadel project and delivered a simple message: ‘Without Open Data, there can be no Smart Cities’
“With 140 Billion Euros in untapped value, Smart Cities need to realise that that the new gold is hidden in their databases” said Olavi Luotonen, Head of Net Futures at the European Commission, “2 out of every 3 people on earth will be living in cities by the year 2050, so there has never been a more important time to unlock the value of Open Data in our drive toward Smarter Cities”.
Adrian Slatcher, of Manchester City Council, noted “We are under unprecedented pressure at our council to do more with less in our city. The only way we can deliver smarter services in a time of austerity is to get the community using our Open Data to create the things they need. Citadel has helped us show ordinary people that Open Data isn’t just dry spreadsheets for tech-savvy developers but a window onto a new world of smart, personalised services”. Speaking about the city’s plans for the future, Slatcher added “Using Citadel, we are shaping a future for Manchester’s services that puts the creative power back in the hands of the people; a living Smart City vision”.
Citadel on the Move, provides a free, easy-to-use set of tools that allow a city official to quickly publish in an open, reusable format and create simple, easy-to-use apps which visualise the results. The whole process – from opening the dataset to creating the app -can be completed in less than 1 hour, and is so easy to do that last year two eight year olds won an international award for their new Citadel Apps.
“Citadel is here to show local government that Open Data isn’t just for authorities with big budgets” said Citadel project spokesman and 21c Head of Research Benjamin Cave. “Citadel is already helping more than 100 local authorities around the world, to open and use their data without it costing them the earth. For Open Data to reach it’s true potential as the fuel for Smart City services, we need to carry this message forward to all local authorities; Open Data can be easy, cost-effective and a unique opportunity to build smarter cities and towns”.
Citadel is already planning several more workshops with local authorities around Europe. “We are always looking to help authorities get started” added Cave. “Thanks to the freely available tools that Citadel on the Move provides, all you need is a willingness to start the Open Data journey.