Parking Hotspots Revealed By Citizen Journalism Project

Help Me Investigate

The Birmingham Post's recent headline proclaiming that Birmingham's social media reputation continues to grow has been backed up the success of citizen journalism project Help Me Investigate.

The new tool, aimed at helping citizens get answers, was set up by, amongst others, Birmingham social media celebrities (!) Nick Booth and Stef Lewandowski. It's supported by Screen West Midlands and 4iP.

One resident wanted to know where the most ticketed streets were in the city. Using the knowledge pooled on the website, she was able to obtain the figures which were then collated and processed by another user.

The ten most ticketed streets in Birmingham for the year were:
(Ladywood ward highlighted in bold)

  • Alum Rock Road, Washwood Heath (3,995)
  • Stratford Road, Sparkhill (2,418)
  • Corporation Street, city centre (1,748)
  • Alcester Road, Moseley (1,545)
  • Waterloo Street, city centre (1,455)
  • High Street, Harborne (1,391)
  • Gas Street, city centre (1,083)
  • Whittall Street, city centre (1,022)
  • St Paul’s square, Jewellery Quarter (1,008)
  • Dean Street, city centre (978)

Last week I had a beer with a city centre resident responsible for collating and processing the data. His passion on the subject shone through, so much so that it gave me the impression there must be someone just like him, passionate about every topic imaginable, no matter how small. Help Me Investigate might just be the tool they need to get their answers.

Good job, everyone!


Sounds Great, But What Is A Digital District?

At today's regional launch of the Digital Britain report, Lib Dem group leader (and Deputy Leader of the City Council!) Cllr Paul Tilsley revealed Birmingham will create a "Digital District" spanning the Digbeth / Eastside part of the city centre.

He said, "Birmingham will create a ‘Digital District’ that brings together the innovative, learning and creative sectors enabled through a next generation hi-speed broadband infrastructure. Spanning several hundred acres from the creative industries in Digbeth, our science and technology sectors at Birmingham Science Park and our world class developments at Eastside, it will provide an exciting environment for our creative industries and young entrepreneurs."

Now I would say Digbeth, specifically the growing Custard Factory complex, together with Aston University and the Millennium Point campus of BCU already meet that description. So what else will be on offer above and beyond high-speed broadband?

While I'm not quite as sceptical as B:INS, I do hope this isn't just a rebrand of what is already there, and there will be some form of investment programme unveiled to provide the meat on the bones.

Let's wait and see...
Update: You can hear the Cllr Paul Tilsley speech here courtesy of Rhubarb Radio.


Digital Britain for Birmingham

I've done my best to wade through the Digital Britain report this evening, but I hold my hands up and say I've got nowhere near it! It's a beefier document than I expected. My initial thoughts are cautiously positive, although there are plenty of points I'd like to have seen included or expanded on. I'm also not convinced about the 50p landline tax.

Rather than spew out my thoughts sporadically I'm going to take my time giving the document a thorough review to gauge its impact on Birmingham. In the meantime, keep an eye on Rhubarb Radio's fantastic Digital Britain mini-site which will carry live coverage of tomorrow's big debate at the ICC.

More soon.