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Oxford - the Shared City

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 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.

The competition has now closed, and with a total of 82 entries, we're now drawing up a shortlist, to be published in July, with the winner being selected by the Judging Panel thereafter.

You can read more below.

Supported by

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

The winner will be awarded:

  • Commission of £30,000
    to cover fees, development, delivery, testing and production costs of their idea

  • Additional support
    for travel for international winners and local expertise

  • Access to advisors
    to help develop and test your idea, including advice on location scouting, technical infrastructure, interaction design, testing, and public space implementation

  • PR campaign
    including tailored media support to maximise impact

  • Access to facilities and connection to a vibrant community
    of artists and creative technologists in Oxford and through the Playable City Network.

The theme - Shared City

Oxford is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK - a small city with a global reputation and a long history.

We invited applicants to propose ideas on the theme Shared City, combining creativity and technology to surprise and inspire, to help start new conversations, imagine new futures and make new connections - person-to-person and person to city.

The thinking behind proposals was as important as the mechanics of what people hoped to create, so different interpretations of the theme are welcome.

For example:

  • seeing all of the city
    - both the historic centre and the city outskirts – positively connecting unconnected people

  • imagining the city as a system
    – the information, networks or mobility patterns which are the “data” of the shared city

  • visualising the emotional contours of the city
    – how people feel, interact or exchange ideas in the city

  • the diversity of experiences
    - from residents to students to visitors, within a shared city environment

  • the fabric of the city
    - how all elements of the city share space

Pushing boundaries and encouraging experimentation, the competition sits at the intersection of technology, society, and art.

Ideas were invited to address (but not necessarily solve) a specific Oxford challenge or experience and to spark a purposeful conversation.

What will we expect from the winner?

  • The delivery of a public project in Oxford – target date, Autumn - Winter 2017

  • Delivery of technical specs, budget, project plan and communication assets to inform and support development of the project

  • A generous and open attitude

  • Participation in events and discussions with public, peers and partners

  • Participation in media and communication around the award

How we will assess the ideas

  • Fit of project to the theme of Shared City

  • Use of smart city technologies

  • Quality and originality of concept

  • Audience and accessibility - how engaging is the work?

  • Track record - a demonstrated history of high quality, innovative creative practice to professional standards

  • Skills, ability and experience of the proposed team or creative and their ability to deliver the idea

  • Feasibility of project delivery within agreed budget and timeline

  • Impact on a city challenge or experience and potential legacy

Competition Timetable

  • Open for applications: 9 May 2017

  • Close of applications: 17:00 (BST) 20 June 2017

  • Shortlist published: July 2017

  • Judging and successful commission announced: August 2017

  • Production of award and testing: Autumn - Winter 2017


All submissions will be carefully considered and a shortlist will be announced thereafter.

If shortlisted, the image and text provided in your cover sheet will be made publicly available online to encourage public response and debate.

The comments will be reviewed in the final judging process but will not constitute a vote.


Judging the entries will be former Deputy Prime Minister and chair of the Haymarket Group The Rt Hon. Lord Heseltine CH, who will lead the panel.

He will be joined by renowned designer and founding partner of Umbrellium, Usman Haque.

The complete judging panel will be announced with the shortlist in July.

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