Episode Archive

SCP E280 Connecting Councils, Sectors and Communities, with Chelsea Collier

Hi #smartcommunity friends! In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast I have a wonderful conversation with Chelsea Collier, the founder of Digi.City, a forum for supporting the co-creation of smart(er) cities and more connected communities. Now you may remember Chelsea from her last episode way back in 2018 in episode 23, and we are so excited to have her back on the podcast. Chelsea starts off by telling us about her background and her current work running her online forum Digi.City, her passion for tech and bringing government, public sectors, industry and academia together, and Chelsea tells us how she got into the Smart Communities space. Chelsea then tells us how she started her consultancy Digi.City before telling us what a Smart Community means to her. We then discuss the Smart Community definition and how the definition is quite simple yet the Smart Community applications are far more complex to implement, before Chelsea tells us what she has been up to since we last recorded in 2018. Chelsea then tells us a bit about some of the key projects she has been working on and we discuss the importance of bringing councils together and co-creation and collaboration with the community. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of data visualisation and using data to make better decisions for our communities. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it! 

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Chelsea’s broad reaching background and current work running her online forum Digi.City
  • Her passion for tech and bringing government, public sectors, industry and academia together 
  • How Chelsea got into the Smart Communities space 
  • How Chelsea’s consultancy Digi.City began 
  • What a Smart Community is to Chelsea 
  • How simple the Smart Community concept is but how complex implementing Smart Community applications is 
  • What Chelsea has been up to since last recording in 2018 and what some of the key changes in Smart Communities has been since then 
  • A bit about some of the key projects Chelsea has been working on 
  • The importance of bringing councils together and co creation and collaboration with the community 
  • The emerging trends of data visualisation and using data to make better decisions for our communities


“I really care about bringing people across sectors. And I define those as four different sectors; of course government, public sector, industry, and that can be everything from young startups to global corporates, academia, and then, of course, the social and nonprofit sector. And I think it’s somewhat rare for those four communities to be together in the Smart City conversation. But I think it’s a real rich area, and we’re just starting to explore it. So lots of work to do.”

“I have a lot of respect for people like yourself, who host the conversation and bring and convene all the different players together. I think that storytelling piece is a really important part of our history, as we’re defining what’s next.”

“I think with some of the city makers that I’ve been fortunate to work with, they want to know, they just don’t always have the mechanisms to ask, and they don’t exactly know the questions to ask. So then we all come from a level playing field because we’re all coming from a place of not knowing but really wanting to try. And that’s a beautiful thing.”

“I think we’re hardwired to want to make things easier than they actually are. And we can get there if we do some of the more challenging work up front. And I’ve always been really inspired by colleagues in Sweden, because that’s just part of the culture of how they look at problem solving. They spend a lot of time on the front end, understanding different people’s perspective.”

“I think a lot of the work that we have to do in Smart Cities is not on the technical side. It’s on the human side, on understanding who our community stakeholders are, formalising that, and then giving space for people to voice their opinion.”

“It gave me a chance to pause and say, Okay, what’s been happening? What is missing? Where can I be of service? Because I have this interesting view of being at the 30,000 foot level. How can I help to influence this in a positive way? And that’s what I’ve really been focused on.”

“I saw cities like Manchester and Dublin, where they started, you know, some pretty deep divides, some pretty economically challenging times. And they use the strength of community to change the temperature, and they figured out how to co create and collaborate and it created just this strength. And it’s not just around Smart Cities. It’s around using technology fairly and justly to address challenges that many people in the community were facing.”

“Collecting data on our static, urban built environment, and using that data to make smarter decisions about how we can increase access, transparency, equity, all of the things that make every community more resilient, doesn’t just benefit one group of people, it benefits the entire community.”


Digi.City Website 

Episode 23 with Chelsea Collier 

Episode 278 with Emily Yates 

Smart(er) Cities Toolkit

State of Place

City Science Lab in Hamburg


Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Chelsea via Digi.City, email: chelsea@digi.city or LinkedIn 

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community  

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital


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