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Data tales from the Tavern – Greenwich Peninsula an exemplar for future living?

The Fantastic Tavern (TFT) is a meeting of minds online and at welcoming hostelries; a community of brand and agency digital planners & creatives who share insights, expertise, experience and beer.
 
On 14th April 2011 50+ Taverners, some old some new, convened at The Horniman on the Southbank to discuss the hot topic of Digital Government; more specifically we were there to put forward ideas for how Greenwich Council’s Digital Advisory board could engender a digital society for Greenwich Peninsula and beyond. The question posed: “how can an area with the world’s most popular visitor destination, innovative public transport, Ravensbourne College and a forthcoming cruise liner terminal become an exemplar for future living?” This was no hypothetical exercise either given that the aforementioned advisory board already includes two leading Taverners and that we had the pleasure of being joined on the night by two prominent figures from the wider Greenwich Council, Bob Harris and John Comber.
 
Bob and John began proceedings by informing us of some of the geography and history of the peninsula. The area consists of 400 acres of prime untapped land that was once the home and workplace for 50000 people; the largest gas works in Western Europe used to be housed there and the first transatlantic cables were manufactured there too. Over time however those industries and the people moved out to leave behind an area ripe for innovation and investment and moreover an opportunity to give something back to the Greenwich community that they have missed for some 30 to 50 years. The point is, the area is overflowing with infrastructure, the challenge now is to work out how best to harness it.
 
Beer and fried-finger-buffet-fodder then flowed as we organised ourselves to discuss these topics:

Education
Governance
Business & Commerce
Community

in an Open Spaces format. Ideas ranging from sustainable high-urban allotments to societal gamification poured forth and, under the auspices of digital governance, the opening up of governmental and legislative data was considered to be a priority – London Datastore take note! There were too many ideas put forward to talk about them all here but be in no doubt that the Greenwich council representatives in our midst were delighted with the evenings proceedings. John Comber wrapped up the event by saying: “What is clear to me is that we have come at this the wrong way – we’ve got it wrong – and you can help us make changes right now to get it right.”
 
 
“We’ve got it wrong” – quite an admission from a local government policy maker.
 
TFT’s involvement with Greenwich Council does not end there however. At future events Taverners will prioritise the ideas discussed here and expand upon them to hopefully present a digital vision for Greenwich peninsula and the wider Greenwich community. Do you want to get involved? We would love you to so please do engage with us at http://thefantastictavern.co.uk/, subscribe to our RSS feed, or simply follow us on Twitter at @tftlondonnyc. We look forward to meeting you at our next event – keep an eye on the website for details
 
Jamie Thomson
Fantastic Taverner
@jamiet