We are partners in the EU Civitas PORTIS project, which concerns urban mobility solutions in port cities. The project is now two years in, and we are beginning to see the benefits which can accrue from cross-discipline working, and tangible examples of digital technology being used to improve quality of life.
During the general assembly meeting, the Mayor of Constanta stressed that the project is about people, and about the importance of team working. It was also interesting to hear about how Constanta has benefitted from working between the Municipal Authority, Universities and the Port. The project has established new teams in each of the constituent cities, and the impact of this approach to collaborative working should be celebrated. Regarding a city as an environment rich with potential for innovation (where the city includes Municipal Authorities, Universities, Business and Communities/users) is key.
[you can read more about collaboration and participation in my new book!]
Across the project activities (this is an innovation action, so focussed on implementation), digital technology including the use of sensors and drones will combine to collect large data sets. It has been interesting to engage in discussion and very positive debate about how the processes and activities involved in using and understanding the implications of that data (for air quality, efficiency gains, and so on) can be developed across the consortium.
Digital collaboration therefore is embodied in the project through (mainly) the rollout of data collection, and to a lesser extent through public engagement.
Integrated governance and the development of smart data platforms are regarded as specific areas of innovation within the project, and signal moves to better align plans, policy and action (as discussed here and here).
To return to the notion of collaboration between parties, the benefits of this are often demonstrated through projects such as PORTIS, and this should be recognised in itself as being both innovative and impactful. Intensive collaboration can extend across sectors, disciplines and parties, and requires strategy and commitment. PORTIS is an example of a project which demonstrates the benefits of collaborative working, and securing the resultant benefits in the longer term will pay dividends.