Last month, we sent out a call for budding writers, videographers and broadcasters to help us report on the changing face of Manchester as the CityVerve project develops.
We were pretty overwhelmed by the number and quality of applications we received, and have spent the past few weeks selecting seven of the very best to form our cohort.
Today, we’re unveiling the team – a really strong mix of voices from across Manchester, who we’re excited to be hearing lots more from over the next year.
Name: David Crookes
Occupation: Technology Journalist
David lives in north Manchester, and says his favourite bit of tech is his smartphone – “the Swiss Army knives of technology, that allows him to work and play on the go.”
His bright idea for a smart solution to transform Manchester? “Smart streetlights which combine Li-Fi wireless public internet and smart deep learning sensors that can detect anything from a road that needs gritting to a potential crime taking place.”
He says his favourite thing about Manchester is “the long-held belief that we are always capable of achieving great things.”
Name: Jasmine Forrest
Age: 25, turning 26 next month!
Occupation: Multimedia Journalism Student
Like many previous generations of her family, Jasmine has lived in Manchester for her whole life and says her favourite thing about the city is the people who live and work there and make Manchester the vibrant and diverse place that it is.
“Without their no-nonsense attitude to life and business, the city would not be progressing as much as it is technologically or socially,” she says. “The people of Manchester drive it – a friendly and upfront community.”
Her favourite bit of tech is a tie between her iPhone and her MacBook, and her smart idea for cities of the future is an app that gives high-street shoppers more information on stock levels, upcoming promotions and staff contact info – bringing together the worlds of online and offline retail.
Name: Stuart Goulden
Occupation: Creative Consultant
Stuart has recently relocated his business to Manchester from across the county border in York, and is now calling Castlefield home.
His current favourite bit of tech is the “swarm of Bluetooth beacons” he’s using to power his latest project – called OtherWorld – which is piloting “a next generation news ecosystem for cities.”
He says that “building and empowering communities” is a huge part of his work, so any smart city solution that “brings people together and gives a voice to those who need one” is right up his street.
And his favourite thing about Manchester? “Its embarrassment of creative and culinary riches” – he says he doesn’t think he’ll ever run out of restaurants to try.
Name: Joe Taylor
Joe lives in Levenshulme, in south Manchester, and has been in the city for the best part of five years.
He’d like to see “city-wide pollution sensors which could relay information to citizens instantaneously and alert them to areas which should be avoided.” It’s an important issue, he says, and linking up the sensors with a map app and website could give citizens access to the latest information updated in real time.
Favourite bit of tech? Joe’s GoPro rarely leaves his side – it has the added bonus of being waterproof, he says, which is particularly helpful given Manchester’s rainy reputation.
He’s also a fan of a couple of other things that have made the city famous over the years: music and football.
Name: Reina Yaidoo
Occupation: Social Enterprise Founder
Reina’s a long-time Manchester resident, currently residing in the north of the city. She says her favourite thing about the place is “the attitude of the people: rebellious, strictly northern, well ‘ard football lovers.”
Her favourite bit of tech is her glasses: she says she’d be close to blind without them, and new developments in smart glasses tech have brought them slap bang up to date.
Given a blank canvas, she’d employ the transporter tech from Star Trek to cities of the future. “Never having to drive again would be nirvana!”
Name: Sam Morrey
Occupation: Student Progression Assistant
Sam’s a relative newcomer to Manchester, having lived in the city since last November.
He’s a passionate photographer and counts his Olympus OMD EM5 as his favourite bit of tech – it goes everywhere with him.
His favourite thing about Manchester is “its proud social history,” and he believes that smart cities present an opportunity for “the benefits of technology to be felt by all sections of society” and for technology to be put in place to “to drastically reduce the impact of cities on the environment.”
Name: Steve Millington
Occupation: University Lecturer in Human Geography
Steve has lived in Salford for most of his life and, like fellow citizen journalist Joe, loves the city for its football and music – Manchester City and The Fall, to be specific.
The city, he says, “has a vibrancy you can’t find in many places.”
His idea to make cities of the future better places to be is “compact, dense, liveable and walkable urban neighbourhoods.” Jane Jacobs, he says, “was probably right.”
The BBC’s iPlayer Radio app is his indispensable bit of tech. It’s “a bit old school,” he says, but is still the main way he keeps on top of world affairs.