Quercus Group has collaborated with Tea & Water, a global creative communications agency, on how to put people front and centre of urban development. The result is a unique framework to help decision-makers worldwide implement strategies for 'citizen engagement'
(Photo by Noah Sheldon, represented by Tea & Water Pictures)
City governments worldwide are increasingly beginning to realise the imperative of working strategically and proactively with citizen engagement, as urban populations continue to grow globally. By 2050, more than two thirds of humanity will live in urban areas. The notion of not just including citizens, but to plan around people and local community values is, at last, gaining traction as a new paradigm for urban development.
The collaboration with Tea & Water began with a discussion about the human factor in urban development, which quickly evolved into a more focused effort on developing an actionable approach.
“With this collaboration, we aim to support governments and organisations worldwide by providing a framework for working strategically with citizen engagement,” says Neelabh Singh, a Partner at Quercus Group who heads the firm’s operations in India.
“We believe that co-creation between governments and their citizens is a key component in ensuring sustainable urban development, and we saw Tea & Water as the natural partner because of its creative approaches and global reach."
Tea & Water works through offices in Beijing, London and New York, often closely with photographers in other parts of the world, including India, Kenya and Taiwan. It has advised a number of large, private sector clients on community engagement and has a proven track record of documenting and working closely with communities worldwide.
“Nothing is more important than the human factor in urban development,” says Witold Riedel, co-founder of Tea & Water. “For cities to thrive and be truly sustainable they need to properly engage with their citizens and communities - and plan around what’s important to them. Those who fail to do that will be punished by competition and ultimately history.”
“We are thrilled by this collaboration with Quercus Group, an organisation we feel aligns very closely with our own values, and one that really understands about sustainable urban development and the need for collaboration.”
Sustainable urban communities, that are intelligently designed (also known as the ‘Smart City’), potentially offer better opportunities for more stakeholders than is commonly understood these days. The benefits of Smart City technology can be amplified through strategic and creative long-term citizen engagement. Stakeholders can become more than just users of Smart City related offerings; they can become their advocates. Communities can be strengthened internally and become more relevant and competitive globally. The substantial Smart City investment can be enhanced when more participants are involved in a relevant way. Ultimately, the very governments investing in innovative urban solutions can be the true long-term benefactors of working strategically with citizen engagement.
Download the paper ‘Citizen Engagement – a Framework for Co-Creating Smart Cities’