Our second Innovations in Climate Tech grantee was im23 (previously known as Better Futures), working in collaboration with Sandwell Council. They put forward a proposal for researching and scoping a database to share climate projects from councils across the UK.
We were excited by the possibilities of this project, which is all about councils learning from one another so that the best ideas can be copied and implemented elsewhere — a theory of change which has some parallels with our work in collaboration with Climate Emergency UK on CAPE and the Council Climate Scorecards.
In principle it sounds reasonably simple — find the case studies; publish them! But how have they been getting on? Rob Hale gave us this update:
“We set out to build a website that could bring together real examples of climate adaptation work to act as a knowledge hub for local government and communities.
“Our idea was that by showing what others had done, it could act as both a catalyst for the adoption of climate adaptation solutions, in the form of a searchable project database, but also bring people together to share ideas and challenges.”
So, have there been any surprises along the way?
“We knew from the outset that building a way for people to access key information quickly and easily would be really important, so we focused a lot of effort on making the site really clear and easy to use.
“What we found interesting is that the need for a way for council officers to share info openly and candidly seems to be as important as the projects database. To respond to this we’re adding a form and chat tools to the site from the outset so that we have a mix of projects and a place for the community to talk to each other!”
Part of the project was to scope the landscape. Has it become clear that there is a need for the site?
“Over the course of the project we’ve received nothing but positive reactions and support,” says Rob. “This has been from the local government teams – infrastructure, transport and climate – and also from trade bodies such as the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG). Along with mySociety, LCRIG have added resource to the project and enabled us to get further and much closer to a sustainable project going forward.”
And have there been any stumbling blocks?
“So far the biggest challenge — or rather surprise — has been the difficultly in sourcing examples of varied climate adaptation projects.
“From the outset we knew that there was a need for a site like this to showcase projects to act as a guide for others, but we genuinely thought there would have been a far bigger resource to draw on and pull together.
“It may be that we’ve been looking in the wrong places — and we’re certainly asking everyone we can — but the response has been far more of “This is a great idea and just what we’ve been looking for!” rather than “Great, we’d love to share what we’ve done!”.
“Still, either way it’s good to know that what we’re building will be useful, and even if it starts with fewer projects then at least these are shared and we can play a small part in helping accelerate the takeup of workable climate adaptation solutions.”
Rob tells us the website will be live soon, so keep an eye on our social media and we’ll be sure to share it when it is. And one more thing — if you’re a council with a great climate adaptation project you could share, do let im23 know.
“We’re still very much looking for projects,” says Rob, “and will always be going forward, so please let us know if you’d like to share your knowledge with the community!”.
Thanks to im23 for the update — we can’t wait to see this project in all its glory.