Plato has been funded!

Introducing Plato to Blivande

I have the pleasure of announcing a major project today. We are being funded by Vinnova to create digital tools for participatory placemaking. Blivande is heavily involved in this project and it will bring a lot of fresh energy and opportunities, especially to Frihamnstorget. You can read the proposal here to better understand the project. SenseStack, the coordinator of this project, is a company set up to be an extension of Edgeryders in Stockholm, partially owned by Blivande. This post acts both as an announcement of the project to the community, and as an introduction of the Plato team to the platform.

Summary of the project

Plato combines technologies that we have built for the Borderland and Edgeryders over the years into a “suite” of tools for placemaking. These tools include Dreams, Realities, Graphryder, Open Ethnographer, and Discourse (this forum). We will integrate all of these tools with each other, allow them to share data, and enable a single login to all of them through the account a user has on the forum.

We will use this suite of tools to activate Frihamnstorget, to map out the different projects and their budgets, map out the different responsibilities and their dependencies, document contacts with authorities and build a great community. Frihamnstorget will get its own Dreams platform, Realities platform and the conversations on the forum will be visualized in a graph showing the connections between people, ideas and projects. We use this forum as the starting point and all platforms will integrate with the forum through a single login.

We will also use Frihamnstorget as a place for experimentation for students at Stockholm University, studying placemaking and participatory urban planning. During their education, these students will use Plato and participate in developing the methodology and feedback on the UX/UI.

Finally, these tools and methods will be documented, and a proposal written for how it can be used by municipalities, schools, real estate developers and other organizations. Our goal is to turn this technology and methodology into a product that we can sell, providing an income for Blivande and for people in the community.

Work packages

WP1: Software development

This is approximately 50% of the budget, including programming, UX/UI work, project management and overhead costs like seats at Blivande for the developers.

WP2: Study into implementation potential

This part of the project is carried out by Ylva and Diana and will take place during the second half of the project.

WP3: Workshops

These are workshops we will do with Stockholm University and Frihamnstorget creators to plan new developments. These workshops will also have a production budget tied to them that we can use to make Dreams into Realities.

WP4: Implementation of Plato on Frihamnstorget

We use the tools we develop for Frihamnstorget. This work package includes budgets for project management of Frihamnstorget (@hampus), online/offline community management and ethnography.

Plato team (so far)

I will be leading the project together with @jakobskote. Roughly, I will focus on delivering the technology and Jakob will focus on delivering the methodology. Our split of hours is to be determined, but I will most likely be working on the project a bit more than Jakob.

@hampus will be leading practical work at Frihamnstorget, and of making sure that everyone who is working at Frihamnstorget gets onboarded to the Plato platform.

@gustav is our first hire as a developer and he will be working around half time on Plato throughout the project. He has recently been working on the new Dreams and has worked on Realities before that.

Ragnar Lund is our collaborator at Stockholm University, where he teaches placemaking in two courses.

Ylva Björnberg and Diana Uppman (yet to join the platform) will be in charge of writing the report on how to scale Plato and turn it into an offer for municipalities and other organizations.

Amelia Hassoun will be our expert advisor on ethnography, both on how it is done on the platform and also on how to do it specifically for participatory urbanism.

People we want to involve soon

@MariaEuler, I would love to involve you in both forum community management of the Blivande/Frihamnstorget forum, and in other aspects too. It would be fantastic to have you on this project with us. Let me know if there is anything you are particularly interested in. We have budget earmarked for community management.

@SofiaAnner and I have already talked about her being involved, as she is already working closely with @hampus, @Sero and me on outreach and engagement for Blivande.

@matthias and @daniel, there is plenty of Discourse work here. I would love to work with you on this if you have the time. We will want to use Edgeryders as the SSO server, develop plugins to display information from Dreams and Realities on the Discourse front-end.

@Frida_Simon, it would be great to involve you as someone who is both building art at Frihamnstorget and as someone who has a lot of experience in the field.

All members are very welcome to think about if and how they would like to contribute to the project. I would also love to involve the creative powers of
and the Node (@kimgajraj).

If you want to be involved somehow, this is the time to let us know. To manage expectations, most of the budget is earmarked for software development and major project management roles, so you will probably not be paid in this project unless you are highly engaged and take responsibility for delivery. Importantly, many of us who have been working on Blivande for free can now get paid salaries temporarily through this project, which is a huge relief. However, there are plenty of ways that this project can work for you and what you want to do, even if its is not in a paid role.

Perhaps you want to plan a big event at Frihamnstorget and we can set up a Dreams instance for you? Perhaps you are planning to do something very complicated that requires a lot of people to stay in the loop, and you could benefit from project management through realities? Or perhaps you want to use the PR-value of having Edgeryders and a Vinnova-funded project and plan a participatory art event that you sell tickets to and apply to grants for? Let’s try to make this project sprout a thousand beautiful tentacles for the community.

Timeline

We will be ramping up in April and should be up and running in May. This project will be ongoing until June 2021. In the first phase, from April to June, we will be mostly focused on project planning and software development. Ideally, we can use these tools to launch a participatory build festival week for Frihamnstorget this summer.

Next steps

We need to gather our core teams, set up some timelines and get to work. @jakobskote and I will reach out soon with some more information.

Finally, announcing the project like this is a part of how we work at Blivande and at Edgeryders. You can read more about our principles of collaboration here:

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Wow! Amazing! Congratulations!

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Super amazing :)!

I am happy to join the project.

I can of course take care of the forum community menagment and could also help with development and facilitation for workshops as well as some art projects.

Looking forward to it!

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So cool! Congratulations! :raised_hands:

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Hugi, this amazing. Congratulations! Feeling really inspired by this. I’m going to think about how to articulate with this, in different ways. Bring on the thousand beautiful tentacles!! :facepunch::heart:

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Bravo team Plato!

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Hello! I’m interested to join as a programmer on this project. I have previously worked with @hugi and @gustav during last years hack week on the dreams platform. I enjoyed very much working with both of them!

My background is that I’ve been programming for ever, then spent 7 years in games until i got burnt out. I also had my own company for a while, but it was too much for me with stress and pressure at the time. Now I feel I’ve mostly come out the other end, much change has come in my life and space for other things to enter has been created. If I’m going to be programming for a living in the future, working with people like you seems to be where my deeper values have the most resonance in what I know in the software world right now. So I’m interested to explore how and if I can collaborate.

Cheers!

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Hello, I can help with this project and would like to.

My day to day is a tools programmer & pipeline engineer for EA DICE, so this is literally up my alley. Generally speaking I handle all aspects of any given tools development and lifecycle, UI & UX design, UI programming, backend functionality & general workflow optimisations.

However due to my workload for both my day to day job, my brand & events management and the additional DJ software projects I would only be able to jump on as a sort of overview consultant that could help you roadmap the project, highlight improvements, identify inefficiencies, help with workflow user habits etc. if you were open to the help :slight_smile:

// Ben

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Great job getting this off the ground! Very happy to join the project and be able to continue working on these tools.

I enjoyed working with @jims a lot too! Would be great to get more hands on the code from my perspective :).

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Great Job! Good Luck with this project!

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Excellent @jims! Let’s have a call soon to discuss this. It could be great to have you on the project.

Thanks for offering! I would certainly be interested in talking about it and involving you in some design workshops. I’m also thinking that we can use this to benefit the work you are doing with INPUT. I will make sure to tag you when things come up, and you can follow the conversation in this category and chime in. At some point, a more structured work session may be needed too.

Sounds good to me, keep me posted with the tags and I can jump in when needed.

// Ben

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Yes :slight_smile: I think you’re the one with the busier schedule, so just give me an alternative or two that works for you.

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@MariaEuler and Amelia are now both confirmed to join the project!

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Hi everyone! Looking forward to working with you all. Diana Uppman and I will create workshop formats, scaling and the Plato offer for municipalities and other organisations, such as architects. :smiley:

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Hi there, thanks to @MariaEuler I’m following the thread from Parma Italy, where as sociologist and e-Learning designer at the university i’m collaborating with the municipality mainly on social inclusion, but i’m looking for open solutions as digital social networking (especially now during the lockdown) in order to create layers of conversations and resources online to augment the district where i live. All you are doing sounds very inspiring and fitting. @Ylva, or who else like to have a talk, ping me. Thanks

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Great to have you here @federico_monaco, I think there is plenty of opportunity for overlap. What we have isn’t built yet, but now that you’re in the forum I will ping you whenever things come up that you might be interested in.

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Hi there Federico! Very nice to see you here.

Hope things will ease for you in Italy soon…

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