Street Party?

At last months meeting, we also spent a bit of time discussing the possibility of a Tenison Road street party. Hoping to rekindle the road’s tradition of have a communal party (usually in the autumn), we discussed the feasibility of using the green to celebrate the 125th year of Tenison Road’s official opening.

It was agreed the aim should be to keep things fairly informal, in keeping with tradition. Alongside giving everyone a better sense of what we’ve been doing with data, the hope is people might bring along food, drink, etc.

General agreement was a party on Sunday the 27th of July would best. We’ll be making a more formal announcement as soon as we know more and we’re confident we can have the party.

Meeting #4 – Wildlife and Plant Survey

On 31st March, we met to talk about a Garden Wildlife and Plant Survey for Tenison Road. The general idea is that we compile a list of the wildlife and plant life in people’s gardens (and on the road itself) and that this might serve (i) as a record on what’s happening where on the street and (ii) as a source of ideas for what people might cultivate themselves. Continue reading

Data Log

Short post to say we’ve started a data log to keep a record of the data we’re using for this project. We’re especially keen to log the data we have that is in any way tied to people (e.g., residents, proprietors, anonymous participants, etc.). The list is short now, but will grow. Please make a comment on the data log page if you think we might be missing something or you have any concerns.

Meeting #3 – The Archive


Aerial photo of Tenison Road, circa Aug 1945. Courtesy of Chris Going, resident and MD of GeoInformation Historic.

Just catching up on our meeting summaries. Way back in February, we met to talk about the Tenison Road archive that Margaret Cranmer has been putting together.* Margaret walked through all the work she’s put into compiling a paper-based record of the street. Drawing on the archive’s content, she recounted some lovely stories about aspects of the street and some of the people who have lived and worked on it. Did you know, for example, that the road is named after Thomas Tenison (once Archbishop of Canterbury and not a misspelt reference to the poet), or that residents have included members of the long established mercantile families of Cambridge?

Margaret’s overview generated a lively discussion and a lot of enthusiasm for developing the archive. Naturally, we discussed extending what’s been compiled to include an online record of the street’s past and indeed its present history (if that isn’t an anachronism). Residents spoke about content they would want to add (including more photos like the one above) and different ways of recording the character of the street now, for future posterity.

With this in mind, we’re beginning to work on a way for the Tenison Road community to build a ‘data-bank’ of their own that points to some of the paper-based archive’s content and also allows for different and new forms content to be added. Watch this space for news on this!

*We really can’t thank Margaret enough for the incredible job she’s done in compiling the archive.

Dialogues on data, policy and civic life

Closely linked to the Tenison Road project, we’re hosting an event at Microsoft Research on Tuesday 11th March in which we’ll be discussing the intersections of data, policy and civic/social life. Attending the day-long ‘dialogue’ will be a small mix of social theorists, commentators and policy makers, and the broad aim will be to have some deeper discussions about the relevance of data in ordinary life and kind of implications there are for doing policy making differently. To learn more download a draft of our pre-amble for the event here.

Next meeting

We’re running our next community meeting at 6:30 on 29th January. This time we’ll be discussing traffic and movement along Tenison Road and thinking about the relevance of data. We’ll talk about the data that’s available now and the kinds of data we can collect. We’ll also be questioning the role data can play in making a difference to the way Tenison Road is used. Please do get in touch if you’d like to join us. Email or twitter @tenisonroad.

Traffic and movement

When we started thinking about this project we very quickly came to understand that traffic on Tenison Road is a concern. We learnt that a number of residents (as well as GTARA, the local residents association) had already begun to push Cambridge City Council to do some kind of audit and implement traffic calming measures. Being on a primary thoroughfare between the Mill Road area and the train station, Tenison Road gets plenty of traffic passing along it, and not just cars but pedestrians and cyclists.

Continue reading