Virginia Hess – dedomena – Humans of Impact Hub Basel
23 June 2021 - Impact Hub Basel
Place-making is a trending word in the property industry, not just with Architects and Planners, who wish to create high-quality, desirable urban spaces. Property Developers, Governments and Investors are realising that place-making makes dollar sense too and are chasing spaces that have a unique appeal, leading to increased social activity and higher yields. 

Despite its recent popularity, the concept of place-making came into existence in the 1960s when community activist Jane Jacobs was fighting to preserve Manhattan’s distinctive villages and urbanist William H. Whyte was observing and recording elements of social life in urban settings. Each became known for their revolutionary ideas centred on designing cities for people, instead of just for cars and shopping centres. The term place-making was later coined in the 1970s when Architects and Planners began to adopt their ideas to describe a new approach to designing urban environments that prioritised humans and communities through creating appealing and interesting places for people to visit.

Fast-forward to today and despite all this history, place-making is often de-prioritized, or places simply fail to live up to expectations. For every desirable and successful place – think  [email protected]: Innovation District or The Highline, New York – there are plenty of others that fail! They need to be revitalised to improve their dull, lifeless character. 

Why do some urban places fail to attract people?

There is a plethora of reasons why some places fail – inadequate data or time spent understanding a community, failure to involve locals in the design process, cost-cutting and inhuman scale are just some of the reasons why certain neighbourhoods or places miss their mark.

And this is where DEDOMENA can help. DEDOMENA, a Start-up in the 2021 Impact Hub Basel’s incubator program, understand that uncovering what makes a neighbourhood tick is difficult and time-consuming. So, they have created the solution – Smart Urban Analytics – to capture a neighbourhood’s social data for better decision-making. 

What exactly is social data? 

Social data is derived from unconventional digital sources that are reflective of people’s behaviour and lifestyle choices. Think, every time you check in on Facebook, google directions, review a restaurant or tag a location on Instagram, this is all valuable social data that can be collected and used for good! In fact, 6.3 million Swiss are active Facebook and Instagram users – 1 million more than there are Swiss voters! 

What can DEDOMENA offer?

DEDOMENA provides unique insights into neighbourhoods by measuring the social life of places on three levels – 1. Places, from local business to co-working spaces to playgrounds and parks – mapping where people live, work and play, 2. Daily activities, events, and popular places – to see which activities generate the most action and 3. Digital chatter about the neighbourhood – to see what locals’ value most. This provides their subscribed customers (property developers, institutional investors, governments and businesses) with powerful insights and quantifiable data about the performance of a neighbourhood or place. In turn, this can help their informed customers build more liveable cities using the social data to better plan, design, manage and promote local activities. 

And with 70% of the world’s population projected to live in cities by 2050, the importance of creating desirable and successful urban neighbourhoods is only increasing. 

So, if you are in the property development or real estate industry, please reach out to DEDOMENA to find out more about how they can help you gain an edge with your place-making.

DEDOMENA is also looking for a talented and organised Data Analyst who brings a  background in math, physics, or computer science, has a passion for cities, and is keen to deliver urban excellence. If you think you could be what they are looking for, get in touch with [email protected]

DEDOMENA contributes to the following Sustainable Development Goals: 9. Industry, Innovation & Infrastructure and 11. Sustainable Cities & Communities.

– Lucy Shannon (text), Tim Thompson (video production), Ina Wecken (drone footage)