Business & Entrepreneurs

Smart Oxford Playable City competition launched

By Sarah Edwards

A global competition to create a more connected and collaborative Smart Oxford launched today.

The Smart Oxford Playable City Commission is a new competition, challenging creatives from around the world to produce an idea that puts people and play at the heart of Oxford. Smart Oxford will work with Playable City to choose a project that will capture the imagination of those who live, visit and work in and around Oxford.

Applicants from across the globe are invited to respond to the theme the ‘shared city’ by 20 June with the winner being awarded £30,000 to develop their idea.

Artists, designers, architects, technologists and creative practitioners who can demonstrate a history of delivering high-quality, innovative practice are invited to propose distinctive ideas on the theme, using smart city technologies, that will make the city of Oxford more connected and collaborative.

Judging the entries will be former deputy prime minister and chair of the Haymarket Group The Rt Hon. the Lord Heseltine CH, who will lead the panel. He will be joined by renowned designer and founding partner of Umbrellium Usman Haque. The complete judging panel will be announced with the shortlist in July.

Sebastian Johnson, Vice-Chair of Smart Oxford and Principal Economic Development Officer at Oxford City Council, said: “We are partnering with Playable City during 2017 to deliver this flagship project to help people understand the opportunities and benefits that can be achieved through the combination of technology, data and communities. This is an innovation-led project that is open, inclusive, accessible and engaging. Our hope is that it will catch the imagination of all who live, visit and work in and around Oxford.”

The commission in Oxford follows on from success in Bristol where Playable City launched in 2012.

Hilary O’Shaughnessy, producer of Playable City, said: “We are delighted to share this brilliant new opportunity to partner with our first UK city outside of Bristol. Working across the globe from Texas to Tokyo, we have seen the power of creative technology and play to showcase the diversity of experience in cities in new ways. We are excited to see what will be commissioned for Oxford.”

Llewellyn Morgan, Smart Oxford board member and Service Manager Infrastructure, Innovation and Development for Communities at Oxfordshire County Council, said: “This is an exciting time for Oxford and Oxfordshire with many major developments happening now and planned for the future.

“Smart cities are the future and this competition highlights Oxford as being at the heart of a truly exciting time for technology, innovation and collaboration.

“The city has rightly gained a reputation for culture, technology and achievement and this competition challenges entrants to come up with concepts that combine all three in ways that will enhance local areas and engage people in new and interactive ways with where they live and work.”