Oxford event – Kellogg Urban Knowledge Exchange: Rapid Urbanisation

A multidisciplinary seminar, as part of the Kellogg Urban Knowledge Exchange series, will be held on Wednesday 13th June at 17:00-19:00 in the Kellogg College Hub, Oxford.

Around 1.5 million people are moving into the world’s cities every week. By 2050 there will be an additional 2 billion urban citizens mostly concentrated in developing countries. It places huge demands on infrastructure, housing, services, job creation, climate and environment. At the same time it presents opportunities for business, society and sustainable growth.

This seminar sets out to explore the impact of rapid urbanisation, the critical lack of capacity amongst some of the most vulnerable countries and how the past may hold the key to unlocking sustainable development.

Kellogg College has asked four leading voices in the field to share their knowledge, research and pitch their views on the subject. This is the next event in their series examining key urban issues, aimed to provoke some lively debate.


  • Peter Oborn, Vice President, Commonwealth Association of Architects & Ben Bolgar, Senior Director, Prince’s Foundation
  • Simon Gathercole, Allies and Morrison

Chair: Fiona Harvey, The Guardian

This event is free and open to all. Booking is required, via Eventbrite.

Oxford to have world’s first pop-up electric vehicle charging points

The city of Oxford has been awarded £474,000 to become the first city in the world to trial ‘pop-up’ on-street electric vehicle charging points.

Residents across Oxford are being encouraged to nominate their street to take part in the project, which will see 20 ‘UEone’ retractable pavement bollards installed on streets with on road, off pavement parking. The scheme will be available to residents who currently have electric vehicles, and those who want to own an electric vehicle.

The UEone was developed specifically to provide charging for the 43% of UK households who have on-street parking.  The charging points will be app-operated and will retract underground when not in use.

The UEone uses the same SmartCable as Ubitricity lamp posts, allowing residents to charge at any UEone retractable bollard or Ubitricity lamp post.

The successful bid was made in partnership with Duku, Urban Electric and Oxford City Council and has been awarded £473,595 of funding. The overall cost of the project will be £600,000, with the remaining funding coming from Urban Electric via private investment.

The ‘pop-up’ charging points will be made by Urban Electric Networks, which led the bid. The City Council’s Sustainable Cities Team will work with Oxford Direct Services and Scottish and Southern Energy Networks (SSEN) to facilitate installation. Oxford Direct Services will be the installation contractor for the project.

The funding was awarded under Innovate UK’s strand 2 Infrastructure Systems competition. Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy.

The project will support the existing Go Ultra Low Oxford on-street residential charging project.

The Go Ultra Low project is a trial by Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council, aiming to reduce air pollution and further lower Oxford’s carbon emissions.  It has been made possible by a £800,000 grant from the Government’s Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV). The scheme has seen 100 electric vehicle charging points installed in residential streets across Oxford. It is thought to be the first on-street charging pilot of its size in the world.

In order to tackle harmful air pollution levels across Oxford, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council announced plans in October 2017 to introduce the world’s first Zero Emission Zone in Oxford city centre.

The zone will restrict vehicles in phases, taking into account the best available technology, starting with some vehicle types and a small number of streets in 2020 and, as vehicle technology develops, moves to all vehicle types across the whole city centre in 2035.

Its full implementation would take air pollution levels in Oxford city centre down to near-background levels. For example in the city centre’s most polluted street, George Street, a 74 per cent reduction in toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels is expected by 2035.

The new money is part of a wide range of Oxford City Council projects – worth £3.25m in total – to help businesses and residents prepare for the Zero Emission Zone, including securing:

Earlier this year (March), following a landmark legal ruling, the Government pledged “a more formal approach” to supporting the City Council in tackling Oxford’s illegal levels of air pollution.

The City Council, along with partners Green TV and Electric Drives will be hosting the Oxford EV Summit on Wednesday 4 July and Thursday 5 July, bringing together leaders and key players from across the electric vehicle and charging infrastructure industry.

Ian Meikle, Innovate UK Director Clean Growth and Infrastructure, said:  “Improving air quality in cities right across the world is a huge challenge but also a huge opportunity for UK businesses, which is why Innovate UK and the Government’s Industrial Strategy are supporting projects like this one in Oxford. Making sure we have the right infrastructure to encourage more people to switch to electric vehicles is a key part of meeting the air quality challenge and if successful, this exciting project has the potential to be rolled out across the whole country, so we’re very interested to see how it progresses.”

Olivier Freeling-Wilkinson, Cofounder at Urban Electric said: “The cheapest, most convenient and grid-friendly way to charge an EV is at home at night, yet up to 85% of households in some urban residential areas cannot do so because they park on-street, acting as a barrier to EV adoption.

By giving certainty of access to a home-based charge point for on-street residential parking zones, the UEone makes it possible for local authorities to enable the 11.3m UK households currently excluded from driving an EV with the ability to do so without spoiling street aesthetics.

By installing an over-supply of charging bollards in a street from day one we are creating an abundance of charging spaces that will give consumers without off-street parking the confidence to switch to an EV”

Councillor Tom Hayes, Executive Board Member for Safer and Greener Environment, said: “Everything Oxford does to tackle emissions has to be practical if it’s going to be effective. We have set ourselves the big goal of introducing the world’s first zero-emissions zone to clean up our toxic and illegal air. But, we will only achieve that goal if we support and encourage local drivers to replace their older polluting vehicles with cleaner versions. I’m thrilled that the Council has secured funding to support the world’s first pop-up electric vehicle charging points trial, and that this sits within our practical approach to cleaning up our dirty air.


Residents who want to become involved in the trial should email Go Ultra Low on b>goultralow@oxford.gov.uk with the subject line ‘Oxpops’. 

Oxehealth: developing a better way to care for dementia patients

The Oxehealth activity monitoring solution

Every 3 seconds, someone in the world is diagnosed with dementia. Furthermore, dementia has now overtaken heart disease as the leading cause of death in the UK.

Caring for patients with the condition can be challenging, with monitoring often limited to time-consuming physical checks by staff. Now, Oxford-based company, Oxehealth, has developed a way of improving the care of patients by combining computer algorithms with optical sensors. This enables staff to monitor activity like getting out of bed or leaving a room, as well as the patient’s vital signs, heart rate and breathing rate in real time and to medical-grade accuracy.

Oxehealth offers software as a service (SaaS) solutions to professional carers who have a duty of care to a vulnerable person in a room. This enables carers to receive alerts when the system detects care-relevant events. They can then access a live video feed and choose to intervene if they decide it’s needed.

A world-first for patient monitoring

Hugh Lloyd-Jukes, chief executive, commented:

Oxehealth has achieved a world first. We have never before had the capability to constantly monitor a patient’s heart rate, breathing rate, activity and other routine data in this way.

We will, in time, fuse this data together using artificial intelligence so there’s no reason why we can’t use the same technology in the future to detect worsening dementia, or even its onset. This could give us a world where we can detect conditions such as dementia much earlier.

Patients could stay in their own homes or wherever they’re most comfortable without the need to come to hospital. That will save everyone a huge amount of time, money and stress.

Oxehealth is testing the software to remotely monitor patients on the dementia ward at the Manor Hospital in Coventry. This pioneering work has been highlighted in a recent BBC documentary.

Technology to benefit hospitals and prisons

The same technology can also be used to improve the monitoring of people detained in secure mental health hospitals, prisons and police custody suites. These people are often at risk from self-harm, intoxication from drugs or alcohol, or underlying conditions, injuries and complications from medication.

It isn’t always possible to use contact devices with these high-risk subjects as they could use wired devices for self-harm or attacks on staff.

The Oxehealth solution, which was funded with help from an Innovate UK grant saw the company work with Broadmoor Hospital to refine the optical sensor system for use in secure mental health settings. It’s also being used in nursing homes and for remote care in patients’ own homes.

Oxehealth has been working to refine the optical sensor system for use in secure mental health settings.

Oxehealth has been working to refine the optical sensor system for use in secure mental health settings.

A growth in sales and staff

The Oxehealth solutions that don’t need medical device certification became available to customers in 2017 and the company will launch a partner programme for resellers later this year. The vital sign functionality is subject to medical device certification and is not yet available to buy.

The response from investors has been impressive – in 2017, Oxehealth succeeded in raising £3.6 million. And, since starting work on this project, Oxehealth has more than doubled its staff to 25.

In August 2017, Oxehealth’s team won the Royal Academy of Engineering’s Colin Campbell Mitchell Award for the ‘greatest contribution to the advancement of any field of engineering’.

This article first appeared on the GOV.UK website news pages on 20th April 2018.

New driverless cars milestone achieved with vehicles interacting

Yesterday (Wednesday 18th April 2018) the DRIVEN consortium demonstrated publicly for the first time the capabilities of its fleet of autonomous vehicles to interact and ‘talk’ to each other. From its headquarters at the RACE Building at the Culham Science Centre in Abingdon, DRIVEN set two of its vehicles, a white and blue 2014 Ford Fusion Titanium hybrid and a 2017 Ford Mondeo hybrid on the roads to show assembled media the latest milestone in the project.

driverless car

Using their array of lidar sensors, on board computers, and cameras, as well as Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomy and Caesium fleet tracking software, the cars were able to navigate the site autonomously, encountering pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic. Other consortium members Telefonica and Nominet, were on-hand to explain how the DRIVEN consortium is managing the security of this data to protect drivers and other vehicles from cyber security threats.

Speaking on the significance of the occasion, DRIVEN project director and Oxbotica CEO Dr Graeme Smith said: “This is a significant landmark in the development of vehicle autonomy, which has always been about more than simply self-driving. This public trial demonstrates that our technology is able to share data and information that vehicles are then able to use to plot more effective routes, avoid potential hazards, and anticipate conditions more effectively. This will have huge implications on the way autonomous vehicles will operate and how the future of road travel in the UK looks, improving safety, efficiency and productivity.”

Also commenting, Prof. Paul Newman, co-founder of Oxbotica and Director of the Oxford Robotics Institute said: “This demonstration shows once again that the UK is at the forefront of the next generation of travel, and that our expertise is second-to-none at a time when the country is looking to develop global trading links We hope and expect that the technology that DRIVEN is developing will be adopted by vehicle manufacturers all over the world as the first wave of autonomous vehicles, as the public imagines them, comes to market. Our work on display here today could revolutionise people’s lives, and the UK will get to share in an industry that could be worth billions in the years ahead.”

DRIVEN, which is in receipt of an £8.6 million government grant designed to stimulate the development of new technologies, is an ambitious project that will see a fleet of Level 4 autonomous vehicles being deployed in urban areas and on motorways, culminating in multiple end-to-end journeys between London and Oxford in 2019. By operating at Level 4 autonomy a vehicle has the capability of driving itself most of the time without any human input.

DRIVEN’s fleet of vehicles can currently be seen conducting urban trials around the streets of Oxford. By Q3 2018 the fleet will be six-strong. The wide-area road testing of the fleet is due to start in late-summer 2018 across a range of environments including low-speed urban and higher speed long distance motorway driving.

A key opportunity for the consortium and one of its members, global re/insurer XL Catlin, is to create a risk assessment tool to enable the user of the autonomous vehicle to make decisions about what level of autonomy and speed is appropriate for a wide set of driving conditions, and a new insurance proposition for autonomous vehicles. By 2019, the consortium plans to have developed a risk assessment tool that automatically processes a range of data from both the vehicle and external sources that surround it, for example traffic control systems.

This article first appeared on the website of Oxbotica on 19th April 2018.

Oxford leads the way with Electric Vehicle Summit

In fewer than 100 days time, Oxford will host a two-day Electric Vehicle Summit – bringing together key leaders and players from across the electric vehicle and charging infrastructure industry.

The event, which will take place from Wednesday 4 July to Thursday 5 July at the Saїd Business School is organised by Oxford City Council, with partners Green TV and Electric Drives.

It is hoped that the summit will encourage practical actions to implement international, national and local policy, gain finance, change attitudes and accelerate technology improvement to encourage electric vehicle take up.

The industry event will be an opportunity for those involved in developing and commissioning electric transport to come together to discuss relevant issues and topics – both current and future.

Day one of the summit will have an international focus and address the wider stories and developments around Electric Vehicles. This will include how to finance development, identify technical solutions, drive positive attitudinal change, and build the necessary infrastructure.

Day two will focus on how countries and cities can take practical actions to drive the uptake of electric vehicles. This will include how policy framework can help cities to embrace change and grasp the benefits of electric vehicles.

Speakers will include leaders from across the industry and private sector, as well as representatives from global companies BMW, Nissan and the Oxfordshire based TECHEETAH Formula E team. Other organisations attending will include Bank of America, Triodos Bank, Go Ultra Low and Good Energy.

Oxford City Council is committed to encouraging electric vehicle take up.

In order to tackle harmful air pollution levels across Oxford, Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council announced plans in October 2017 to introduce the world’s first Zero Emission Zone in Oxford city centre.

The zone will ban all emitting vehicles in phrases, starting with some vehicle types and a small number of streets in 2020 and, as vehicle technology develops, moves to all vehicle types across the whole city centre in 2035.

Its full implementation would take air pollution levels in Oxford city centre down to near-background levels. For example in the city centre’s most polluted street, George Street, a 74 per cent reduction in toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels is expected by 2035.

Oxford City Council, supported by Oxfordshire County Council, also recently secured funding from government to:

The Government announced plans in July 2017 to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040.

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council said: “Oxford has been leading the way with electric vehicle technology and adopting measures to support the introduction of the world’s first Zero Emission Zone in 2020. We have been working with local businesses and suppliers, as well as global leaders in Electric Vehicle technology.

“This summit will provide an opportunity for key players in electric vehicle technology to come together and discuss its future in Oxford, the UK, and around the world. I am delighted that Oxford will be hosting a very significant event relating to this technology.”

Ade Thomas, Executive Director at Green.TV, said: “We’re very excited to be working with Oxford City Council on, what is shaping up to be, the most significant event of its kind, here in the UK. The summit is focused on ‘actionable insights’ and is designed around business development, to commercially deliver on the rapid transition to electro mobility. The summit is very much about action, not words.”

To find out more about summit, please visit the Oxford Electric Vehicle Summit website.

This article first appeared on the website of Oxford City Council on 26th March 2018.

Oxford Conference – The Good City: Urban Transformation, Comparison and Value


Oxford 18-20 April 2018: The ESRC Urban Transformations Global conference will offer a space to gather researchers focusing on global, European and UK comparative urbanism.

It will aim to first summarise UT’s past work, and then benefit from this richness of experience to outline new methodologies and a new discourse for comparative and future-oriented urban research.

For more information click here.

This is how Oxfordshire is shaping the future of UK travel

By: Oxfordshire County Council

The first use of fully connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) on public roads is set to take place in Oxfordshire, following the announcement of government funding into a trial project.

Innovate UK has today (25 February) announced the award of £2.5 million to trial self-driving vehicles in and around Milton Park, the large, high-tech business and science hub near Didcot. The vehicles will travel between private roads at Milton Park and the public roads that link the site with nearby transport services.

The 30-month MultiCAV project will be undertaken by a consortium of organisations with different sector backgrounds who are investing in the development of autonomous vehicles, and led by UK transport operator FirstGroup.

Despite being relatively close to Didcot Parkway station, most travel to and from Milton Park is currently done in private vehicles. With the site set to expand in the coming years, the MultiCAV consortium is building on the work already underway to provide the park with long-term, safe sustainable transport.

Commuters to the site will be able to connect with the self-driving pods from local transport services, while booking and paying for their trip in one easy process.

It is hoped that by the end of the trial up to 50% of private vehicle journeys within the business park will switch to using the shared, electric-powered pods.

BEIS Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Minister for Business and Energy, Richard Harrington, said: “Through these competitions, we are offering innovative businesses support to take their projects to the next level and help them achieve commercial success. The projects that we are nurturing mean that we are a step closer to securing our place as a world leader in self-driving vehicles. This significant investment is a mark of the innovation that is at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. The development of new technologies is a cornerstone of the UK’s world-class science and research and will ensure that we deliver a Britain fit for the future by creating jobs and the skills needed to succeed.”

Innovate UK Chief Executive Ruth McKernan said: “The quality and commercial potential of these successful projects demonstrate how UK businesses are developing pioneering connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. The impact will benefit our thriving automotive industry and the economy as a whole.”

Yvonne Constance, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Economy, said: “Oxfordshire was the first council to consider autonomous vehicles within its transport policy and has been a supporter of the technology since it’s infancy in the UK.

“We have an incredible concentration of AV related companies, and in Culham, RACE the UK’s real world test bed facility.

“The county council has been keen on including innovation in the delivery of Didcot Garden Town from the very start and this project will be one of the first to demonstrate the approach and further enhance Oxfordshire’s place as a world leader in applied learning and development of AVs.”

John Birtwistle, project lead for FirstGroup, said: “We’re excited to be leading the first mainstream use of autonomous vehicles in the UK. By connecting the Milton Park development with the existing regional transport infrastructure, including Great Western Railway trains at Didcot Parkway station, commuters will see a tangible reason to leave their cars at home. It’s a huge step towards tackling the problem of congestion on our roads and enabling the sustainable future development of the business park and, potentially, other similar sites in the future.”

Vectos, a London-based transport consultancy, has been helping MEPC identify sustainable travel initiatives at Milton Park.

Veronica Reynolds, Behavioural Change Advisor at Vectos, said: “A key aim of the Milton Park Travel Forum is to work closely with the Park’s business leaders to future-proof the park’s transport offer. This innovative new project builds on the work of that Forum and its vision to provide more and greener travel options. We would like to thank everyone at Milton Park for the support we have received to date which has undoubtedly contributed to the success in securing this project funding.”

Philip Campbell, Commercial Director for MEPC at Milton Park said: “Milton Park is at the heart of UK’s most fertile innovation economy and this project is about using technology developed by some of the best brains in the world to improve sustainable transport choice. The fruition of this project will give Milton Park occupiers better choice in their daily travel decisions and the chance to be amongst the first in the world to travel on autonomous shuttle vehicles for their everyday journeys.”

John Cotton, Leader of South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “The funding will deliver an exciting regular commercial service, using innovative transport, to connect residents, visitors and workers to the surrounding business community based on Milton Park – one of the main principles in the Didcot Garden Town plan.”

Matthew Barber, Leader of the Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “Science Vale UK is already renowned for creating state-of-the-art technology and, along with our business partners, we are delighted to receive the Innovate UK grant that confirms our ambitions to establish the Science Vale at the forefront of bringing zero emission autonomous public transport to our region.”

About the delivery partners

The MultiCAV consortium comprises:

FirstGroup (overall coordination and project lead)
Arrival (manufacturer of electric vehicles)
Zipabout (MaaS system developers)
Milton Park (providers of infrastructure in business park
South Oxfordshire District Council (local planning authority)
Vale of White Horse District Council (local planning authority)
Oxfordshire County Council (local transport authority)
The University of the West of England (user evaluation)
Nova Modus (autonomous transport consultants)

This article first appeared on the website of Oxfordshire County Council on 26th February 2018.

City Council wins £1.7m to introduce Oxford’s first fully-electric double-decker buses

By: Oxford City Council


Oxford City Council has won £1.7m to introduce the first fully-electric double-decker buses to Oxford later this year.

The funding will retrofit five of the city’s open-top sightseeing buses to become fully electric, and retrofit 78 local buses to become significantly less polluting.

The electric buses are expected to be available later this year.

Oxford city centre currently has illegally-high levels of toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2), which contributes to diseases including cancer, asthma, stroke and heart disease.

2016 report found that outdoor air pollution causes around 40,000 deaths in the UK every year.

Across Oxford city centre, there has been a 36.9 per cent drop in NOlevels at roadside over the last decade.

A significant contributor to this reduction was the Low Emission Zone, which was introduced in Oxford city centre by Oxford City Council and Oxfordshire County Council in 2014.

The zone, which was the first outside London, requires all Oxford buses to be low emission and meet the Euro V emission standard.

The £1.7m will retrofit 78 of Oxford’s buses to the Euro VI standard. This, alongside the fully-electric buses, is expected to significantly reduce NO2 levels across the city centre.

Oxford City Council won the £1.7m funding from the Department of Transport’s Clean Bus Technology Fund, which has given £40m to 20 local authorities to reduce bus emissions.

The City Council worked with the main local bus operators – Oxford Bus Company, which also owns City Sightseeing Oxford, and Stagecoach in Oxfordshire – on the funding bid. The operators will carry out the retrofitting.

The funding will be allocated over the next 15 months, with £938,910 given in 2017/18 and £724,020 in 2018/19. The retrofitting will be carried out on a rolling basis until April 2019.

In the 1990s, four electric Optare MetroRider minibuses were trialled in Oxford.

Despite the reduction in air pollution, latest monitoring data has found that NOlevels appear to have plateaued above the legal limits in some parts of the city. Between 2011 and 2013, average NO2 levels across the city centre fell by 18.9 per cent; but between 2014 and 2016 they fell by just 3.9 per cent.

To tackle this, last year the City and County Councils announced plans to introduce the world’s first Zero Emission Zone in Oxford city centre.

The zone will ban all emitting vehicles in phrases, starting with some vehicle types and a small number of streets in 2020 and, as vehicle technology develops, moves to all vehicle types across the whole city centre in 2035.

The new funding will support the implementation of the Zero Emission Zone, and will help reduce pollution in the city centre before 2020.

The City Council, supported by the County Council, also recently won £500,000 of Government funding to install charging points for electric taxis and £800,000 of Government funding to install 100 electric vehicle charging points for Oxford residents to support zone’s implementation.

The Government announced plans in July 2017 to ban all new petrol and diesel cars and vans from 2040.

Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City Council, said: “I am delighted that this grant will enable us to introduce fully-electric buses to Oxford. Currently Oxford has air pollution levels in the city centre which are above legal levels and therefore can damage the health of Oxford’s residents and visitors.

“We are looking at all measures possible to reduce pollution in our city centre. In recent years, nitrogen dioxide levels have remained fairly constant, so we need to take more radical measures to tackle this issue. The Zero Emission Zone is one such step change, but this will help us to achieve our goal of cleaner air.”

Oxford Bus Company Managing Director, Phil Southall, said: “This is excellent news for the city of Oxford and is the result of key stakeholders working together to unlock crucial Government funding for the wider benefit of the community we all serve. This is the first step in a long progress towards introducing ultra-low or zero emission buses more widely within Oxford.

“We are particularly pleased that we have been successful in our bid to upgrade five of our City Sightseeing Oxford Buses to full electric operation. These will allow us to gain experience of this developing technology.

 “As a bus operator we have always prided ourselves as being at the forefront of leading the UK on environmental technology innovation and over half of our buses are powered by hybrid technology. The new funding will enable us to take this even further.”

Martin Sutton, Managing Director of Stagecoach in Oxfordshire, said: “I am delighted that Oxford City Council’s bid has been successful.  

“Most of our buses on Oxford city routes are fairly new and are either electric hybrid powered or already comply with the latest emissions standards.

“This funding will enable us to upgrade the rest of our Oxford city fleet to the highest Euro 6 standard. As well as further reducing our NOx and other emissions, we hope to be able to persuade even more people to make cleaner, greener journeys by bus”

Transport Minister Nusrat Ghani said: “Buses and coaches are hugely important to those who rely on them and to the communities in which these people live and work.

“Road transport is going to change dramatically over the next couple of decades – and we have to make sure that the bus industry is ready to benefit from those changes.

“We have to move away from nose-to-tail car traffic at peak times, endless engine idling, stop-start travel and rising pollution and carbon emissions. Rather than contributing to the problem – buses and coaches very much form part of the solution.”

Environment Minister Therese Coffey said: “Poor air quality affects public health, the economy and the environment, which is why we are determined to do more.

“I am delighted to see so many high quality applications to the Clean Bus Technology Fund and, as a result, the government has decided to bring forward funding meaning that we will award nearly £40 million to retrofit more than 2,700 buses.

“This is another way which the government is delivering on its commitment to improving the environment within a generation and leave it in a better state than we found

This article first appeared on the Oxford City Council website on 9th February 2018

Star Light, Star Bright – Smart Oxford Playable City Commission launches

people playing

Watershed and Smart Oxford are delighted to announce the winner of the first Smart Oxford Playable City Commission will be available for the public to play with from Jan 19.

The creators of Star Light, Star Bright, UK based, Hellion Trace (formerly Guerrilla Dance Project) will invite citizens to activate beams of light to map star constellations from the night sky onto the streets of Oxford.

The open call for ideas received 82 applications from artists, designers, architects, technologists and creative practitioners from 28 countries around the world who proposed new and distinctive ideas to respond to the theme Shared City.

Star Light, Star Bright maps the night sky onto the streets of Oxford via pressure sensitive lights embedded in the ground. Placed in clusters across the city, the lights encourage players to gather together to map constellations from the night sky. Each “star” will shine brighter as more are activated, until the final star cues super bright beams of light – bathing the people beneath in a constellation of stars. This city-wide intervention brings life to dark winter streets, connecting strangers for a shared moment of discovery and wonder.

Laura Kriefman, founder of Hellion Trace, says “We are so excited that Hellion Trace have been awarded the Smart Oxford Playable City Commission. Having been actively involved in the Playable City movement for years, it is great to be able to create a city-wide piece in the UK. Hellion Trace can’t wait to make the stars shine bright, for all the citizens of the beautiful City of Oxford”

The judges were particularly excited by opportunities for connection between the diverse populations who live, visit and work within Oxford and the connection to Oxford’s history of space exploration from Radcliffe Observatory to the European Space Agency at Harwell.

As winners of the Award, Hellion Trace will received £30,000 and support from Playable City to help realise their ideas.

The Smart Oxford Playable City Commission is produced by Watershed and supported by:

Lucy Group
Oxford Bus Company
Oxford Brookes University
University of Oxford
Science Oxford
Oxford City Council
Oxfordshire County Council

Smart Oxford : Playable City Commission

We invited innovators, technologists and creative people from around the world to submit a distinctive idea to help make Oxford more liveable, open and collaborative city.

Making use of the city’s existing infrastructure and smart city technologies,the winning entry Star Light, Star Bright will put people and play at the heart of the city and catch the imagination of those who live, study, visit and work in and around Oxford.

Star Light, Star Bright maps the 7 star constellations that are visible above Oxford in January and February. With each star represented as individual, step activated lights, people work together to turn on a whole constellation. The constellations will be in 7 locations across the city. Star Light, Star Bright will bring life to dark winter streets, connecting strangers for a shared moment of discovery and wonder by creating colourful star maps for Oxford’s night sky. Help us find the starlight, shining bright.

Launched to the public on the 19th January 2018, Star Light Star Bright will run for 6 weeks.

Read more here

Supported by

Lucy Group
Oxford Bus Company
Oxford Brookes University
University of Oxford
Science Oxford
Oxford City Council
Oxfordshire County Council