Bradford Citypark & Celebration 2.0

So, you live and learn.


Celebration 2.0 is a project about experimentation. On Saturday I took it to the Grand Launch of Citypark Bradford. It was a glorious day, both weatherwise, and because of the wonderful spirit engendered by the thousands upon thousands of people who turned out to witness this new chapter in the city centre of Bradford.

And that was part of the problem for me. I had planned to live video stream the whole event, with contributions from local people talking about how positive they felt about living in Bradford, and how optimistic they were for its future. But, I had reckoned with the huge numbers of people, most of them with mobile phones. And, as I was attempting to stream via the mobile phone network, this was a big issue.

I did manage to get some live video out, you can see it at and I did capture a few of the voices of local people, including Rashid and Damon, participants in the “Make Bradford British” TV programme, who are now doing important work in promoting cross-community relations in the city. This was evident from the crowds of people, particularly young people, who were clamouring to meet them and get their photos taken (see video below).

It was a spectacular event, topped off by a brilliant finale (see videos below). But, for me, the most important thing was the spirit of community, with thousands of people from all backgrounds joining together in joyous celebration.

Super-Connected Cities; Including Leeds and Bradford

There was a lot to chew over in the Budget today.

I’m not here going to go into the whys and wherefores of tax cuts and benefits clampdowns.


One of the things that may have escaped your attention is the announcement of the 10 successful cities who bid to the Urban Broadband Fund to become Super-Connected Cities. Two of the successful cities are close to my West Yorkshire base. Leeds and Bradford submitted a joint bid. The other successful cities were; Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, London, Manchester and Newcastle.

Last December, both Leeds and Bradford were invited by Government to bid to become one of ten Super Connected Cities in the UK, which would bring access to a proportion of a £100m national funding pot. The stated intention of the initiative is to accelerate delivery of innovative digital infrastructure and take-up by businesses and residents within key city economies – to support economic growth and competitiveness and be catalysts for wider digital roll-out.

Leeds and Bradford decided on a joint bid, focusing on their common issues and inter-linked geography.

The proposals are for a £50 million programme of investment, focused around a core economic area incorporating Leeds and Bradford City Centres (including Bradford CC Growth Zone) and the corridor between; and both the Bradford-Shipley Canal Road Corridor and the Aire Valley Urban Eco Settlements; the latter which includes the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone.

In this area there are:

· 88,600 households
· 16,000 businesses (over 12% of all businesses in the City Region) including over:
· 214,000 people employed (18% of total Leeds City Region employees)

The bid proposals aim to set the standard for connectivity to be rolled out to the rest of the City Region in due course. The key components of the bid are:

· 100Mbps+ broadband speeds (ie. ultra-fast broadband)
· Wireless Network(s)
· City Centre Information Portals
· Public service delivery pilots
· Telehealth pilots
· Schools as Community Hubs
· Business Demand Stimulation
· Fast-track planning procedures

Leeds/Bradford has been awarded between £10m and £14.6m depending on the exact nature of the final plan which is due to be approved in July.

I am grateful to the Leeds City Region Secretariat for some of the information above.

Celebration 2.0 and the Grand Opening of City Park, Bradford

Saturday 24th March marks the Grand Opening of City Park, Bradford, as the centre of the city completes its transformation with the official opening of its amazing new water feature.

Photo by Bradford Council

Photo by Bradford Council

I’m taking Celebration 2.0 to the event for a number of reasons. A lot of those reasons are to do with the project objectives of Celebration 2.0. This promises to be a fun event, I want to bring it to a wider audience, and there should be opportunities to showcase the tech I am using and involve some of those present in working out how they might use it themselves.

But, I have another ambition for this venture. Following on from the recent Channel 4 TV programmes “Make Bradford British” which stirred up a lot of controversy, seeming to set out to stoke the fires of tension in the city, I want to take an opportunity to showcase the positive side of Bradford to the world. So, as well as live video streaming what looks like a fabulously joyous, colourful and vibrant event to the world, I want to invite people of Bradford to join me to provide their own commentary on proceedings. I’d like as many of people as possible from different perspectives, communities and viewpoints to come and talk to the world about what their city means to them.

I’ve already sounded a couple of people I know out, so I know I won’t be alone on the day. But, if you want to join in, please add your details in the comments below, or contact me by any of the means you can find at

I look forward to seeing you, in person or online, in Bradford on 24th March.