Connectivity means different things to different people.
In July 2019, Placemarque director Sophie Campbell delivered a presentation about connectivity to a room of proptech professionals in Manchester. Whilst other presenters talked about bandwidth, BIM, subscription models and financing, we look at connectivity in terms of people and place. And only sometimes do we use tech.
Disconnected communities cost the UK economy money because people spend money in their community. They don’t feel safe. They don’t engage with neighbours and they don’t know what’s out there. Recent research put this loss to the economy at a staggering £32 billion every year.
That’s why our corporate refrain – that we encourage to walk a little further or stay a little longer’ is so important. It’s important to people. To help them to connect.
In past blogs we have discussed how we do this for a range of people – designing for diversity. We also talk about how we seek out the individual story of a place to create smart wayfinding, whether for large estates such as universities, or a town, city or rural space.
We haven’t talked about wayfinding as a sound financial investment before: encouraging visitors to stay a little longer and utilise a place – or enabling visitors to move more efficiently through a space. A recent study on wayfinding in hospitals by Professor Roger Ulrich found that hospital staff lost 4,500 hours per year giving directions to disoriented patients and hospital visitors, resulting in $220,000 in lost revenue. A good wayfinding strategy costs just a fraction of this: smart thinking.
Sophie did talk about digital wayfinding of course, just about being smart about when to use it, as we did in Oxford.
A smart city shouldn’t just be about bandwidth connectivity, it should really be about connecting people, communities and creating places.
Smart people know that.