Totem pole connecting communities to the Digital Cloud

The UK's first digital totem pole, launched by the Lord Provost of Edinburgh, is a collaborative project including Dr Peter Matthews, of the Institute for Building and Urban Design, School of the Built Environment, who led on the project for Heriot-Watt University.

The pole embedded with QR (quick response) codes, was erected in Wester Hailes, one mile from the University €™s Edinburgh Campus, and allows local residents to share memories and photos on a social history Facebook page and write stories for a new digital newspaper.

The project, part of the Institute for Building and Urban Design €™s commitment to delivering cutting-edge research in engaging people and communities in their built environment, was led by Edinburgh College of Art at the University of Edinburgh and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council Connected Communities fund. The other academic partner was the Royal Commission for the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, while community partners included WHALE Arts, Prospect Community Housing Association, Wester Hailes Health Agency and the City of Edinburgh Council South West Neighbourhood Office.

Dr Matthews said, "This was truly a grass roots initiative from the vibrant community in Wester Hailes. On behalf of Heriot-Watt it has been an honour to support the project to get this far.

"To date very little research has been done on community interaction with the built environment through social media, especially in communities like Wester Hailes with particular concentrations of socio-economic problems. This project will allow us to understand much more what drives people to get involved with their built environment."