OPEN Glasgow
Building smart communities for OPEN Glasgow Engagement Programme

November 25, 2016


UrbanTide are working with Glasgow City Council to develop and deliver the OPEN Glasgow programme, which aims to put 'people at the heart of Glasgow's future'.

The multi-million pound OPEN Glasgow programme comprised three workstreams focusing on data, innovation and engagement:

  • City data: enterprise software development, open data, licensing, stakeholder management, data provider lifecycle, data developer lifecycle, data user lifecycle, linked data, data analytics, smart cities data management (including data integration) and benefits realisation
  • City innovation: open data portal prototyping, visualisations including infographics, maps and dashboards, user-orientated service design, agile app development, hackathon competitions
  • City engagement: creative design and branding, website development, social media, procurement and delivery of a literacy programme, engagement hubs, content design and graduate placements


Deliverables of the City Engagement Programme

UrbanTide has a strong track record of engaging with local communities to understand needs and deliver benefits to citizens.

The following projects were progressed within the city engagement workstream of OPEN Glasgow:

  • Programme of community mapping events to increase digital skills and empower communities
  • Service design workshops to engage citizens in shaping future city services
  • Four challenge-led hackathons (health, transport, energy and public safety)
  • Design, build and delivery of a series of pop-up physical engagement hubs with interactive content
  • Graduate placement programme (Future Makers) with Change Agents UK
  • A series of videos including a futuristic view of Glasgow: ‘Day in the Life of a Future City
  • A series of infographics to promote the benefits and explain the values of data
  • Coding for Kids - a programme for children and young adults to get started in software development in partnership with CoderDojo Scotland and Glasgow Science Centre
  • Creative design and branding of both the OPEN Glasgow and the Future City brand
  • Website development and story development ( and
  • Social media community engagement (@openglasgow)

Results of the OPEN program

Improved levels of citizen engagement

Glasgow is on a journey towards continuously improving citizen engagement at a local level through the work of dedicated programmes like OPEN Glasgow and with the ongoing development of the Democratic Services work within Glasgow City Council.

There is also a strong emerging national initiative in terms of Open Government that Scottish Government and a range of public sector organisations enthusiastically support. Citizen and Business Engagement is one of the five key dimensions of smart city readiness that UrbanTide identified in a project with the Scottish Government and Scottish Cities Alliance that led to the development of our Smart Cities Maturity Model; all positive steps in this area directly contribute to the advancement of Glasgow as a smart city.

Better access to community data

Community engagement was 'enriched by providing communities with better access to information; for example providing Community Area Partnerships with access to additional information such as assets and services provided' (OPEN Glasgow End of Stage Report, July 2015).

The activity undertaken as part of OPEN Glasgow encouraged improved transparency, communication and collaboration by opening up data, ensuring that all parties had access to the same information to support the conversation.

Capacity building

The work of the OPEN Glasgow programme made significant progress in improving the levels of awareness and knowledge around the potential benefits of open data, despite there being initial resistance to "open up" data including 'concerns raised relating to how the data would be used, privacy implications, and data quality and maintenance' (OPEN Glasgow End Stage Report).

Glasgow City Council published an OPEN Manifesto, declaring itself an 'open by default' organisation and are making external commitments to open data, information management and community engagement. This was a critical enabler of capacity-building in this area.

Pippa Gardner, Programme Manager for OPEN Glasgow has said:

“Improved transparency, communication and collaboration by opening up data are significant factors in the smart city journey; one that Glasgow has undertaken and one that cities around the globe are pursuing.”


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