Belfast’s parks and public space make a significant contribution to the quality of life of our citizens and are an immensely attractive feature of the city. We are launching an SBRI challenge for companies to work with us, to explore how new thinking and new technologies can complement the existing work of Belfast City Council and its partners in this area.

The Council and its partners have invested significantly in such spaces both in terms of capital developments and on-going projects and activities.

However, there are challenges in managing such urban open spaces and making sure they are safe, clean and available to all.

Working with the NI Department for Justice, the Community Safety Partnership and other agencies, and with generous funding from the Northern Ireland SBRI challenge programme, we are planning a £40,000 Small Business Research Initiative competition to develop proofs of concepts for managing public space in the city.

Addressing such challenges is complex, multi-faceted, long term and expensive; and requires the co-ordinated activity and interventions of many organisations.

Co-ordinated efforts are often impeded by a lack of relevant, dynamic, fine-grain data available to support the analytics, predictions and insights that are required by decision-makers and planners. The lack of information includes usage and behaviours, trends, demographics and perceptions.

The challenge will be to find solutions that can support the generation, collection, integration and analysis of such data in ways that support the wider programme of work and the better real-time management of public space to ensure our open spaces can be fully enjoyed by everyone.

We will announce a launch date for this SBRI in Autumn 2018.

If you are an EU-based company interested in finding out more about our plans for this challenge please contact us with your details.