Located in the heart of New Westminster BC, Canada, River Market offers more than 70,000 square feet of shopping, eating and playing, all right next to the mighty Fraser River. Since 1892, New Westminster has had a bustling market along the riverfront. First opened in 1985 as Westminster Quay Public Market, this marketplace pioneered a food-led revitalization to become a hub for community life. Today, it showcases 25 of BC’s best independent restaurants, shops and schools all under one roof.
The CitizenOS team is developing an experiment to define a community metric for River Market. Part of this deployment is a sound sensor network that will help River Market better understand the ambient analytics within their public spaces. The ambient analytics of a space is a key metric for quantifying community.
“Our team is excited to work with CitizenOS” says Mark Shieh, Director of Tomo, “These new tools will enable us to see in-depth how people use River Market as a community hub. This new way of understanding social interactions will help us cultivate more vibrant places.”
As part of our partnership with Tomo Spaces and River Market, we will be installing a network of sound sensors to monitor the soundscape in River Market. The sound sensors will be monitoring loudness (in dB) and are not recording conversations. Understanding sound levels and how they change over time, with events and visitor numbers is one dimension for understanding the impact on human behaviour. One of the important insights we are looking to gain is the connection between sound and community in River Market. Currently not much is known about the relationship between sound and community. Having better data will give us insight into how community is formed and develops over time.
Community breeds trust and trust is essential to commerce. Our efforts to understand community in River Market are related to the longer-term goals of connecting community and commerce, something that is valuable both for the shoppers—they feel happier—but also the stores in River Market.
“Understanding the impacts of sound—both positive and negative—is essential to understanding our cities. Like weather and pollution levels, sound is a key data stream for cities for the future. Folding this into the CitizenOS platform will provide cities with another dimension on which to make better decisions and to integrate into everything from urban planning to emergency services.” says Dixon Dick, Archethought, a sound-focused, smart city startup participating in the project.
The CitizenOS platform is founded on the belief that city officials have an obligation to their citizens to protect and manage the data created within their cities. A significant challenge to managing city data currently is segregated and siloed data. The inability to access data across systems makes cities unable to either determine the state of their city or make data based decisions about services to provide.
“As we develop the technical solutions that will deploy the CitizenOS Project at large scale, it is important to demonstrate value and operating principles in a more managed smaller environment first,” said Chal Davidson, Venture Manager for Xinova. “Partnering with Tomo in respect to its River Market is a wonderful opportunity for us. River Market is a microcosm of a city and provides a controlled environment for our technology as we learn to help cities understand how communities develop and make better decisions with their citizens.”
CitizenOS will give cities the platform and tools to remove these data silos while keeping control of the data and protecting the privacy of their citizens. Additionally, the CitizenOS platform gives application developers the ability to use city data, if granted permission by the city, to provide valuable services to citizens. This means that cities are able to benefit from private-public partnerships to build a more connected city without having to do all of the development themselves.
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