Attendees at CTC15

Code The City 17 – Make Aberdeen Better


We’ve been thinking a lot about what our purpose is at Code The City.

While we have a vision, aims and strategies, it boils down to “we work to make Aberdeen better.” And we do that through the better use of data and tech; through education; and through running events, user groups, classes, and meet-ups.

We have been speaking to loads of people in many charities, organisations, community groups and companies. And, do you know what?  That’s their aim too: to make Aberdeen better.

It might be that their focus is on transport (as shown below), health, poverty, food waste, homelessness, or air quality, but ultimately their aims are the same: make Aberdeen a better place.


So, our last event, CTC17 Make Aberdeen Better (*) did just that – a bringing together of anyone and any agency who wanted to improve this city, in any way.


The CTC17 event happened on the weekend of  9th and 10th November 2019 at ONE Codebase Tech Hub on Schoolhill next to the re-opened art gallery. We had 20 participants on Saturday, and 12 on Sunday. This was the first time that we ran one of our co-design and hack events here, and we found it worked rather well.


We’ve moved our ticketing to TiTo as they take a much smaller fee from ticket sales leaving us more of your admission price to cover catering and stationery. We found this worked well, and will continue to use them for ticketing at our events.

Lack of money should not be a barrier to attending. If you have difficulty with the cost please let us know and we’ll sort it out so that you can attend.

What happened at the event?

We followed our usual format.

  • We began with identification of opportunities for, or challenges to making Aberdeen a better place to live, work and play. You can contribute your own suggestions, your organisation’s or listen to others’ suggestions.
  • Next we generated ideas to address these.
  • Attendees formed project teams to address ideas that they wished to work on.
  • The teams went off to start to work through their approach
  • They then reported back regularly to the whole room on progress.
  • At the end of the second day teams had developed a prototype ‘solution’ to a challenge, or to put an idea into place.
  • We ended with a show and tell of what has been developed

We had four teams working across a range of topics, which you can find at the GitHub page for CTC17.

The teams looked at

  • public transport,
  • improved methods of monitoring air quality,
  • how we might match IT volunteers to charities needing IT help, and
  • the open data around recycling.

The last one was found to be in a poor state, as written up here. This rubbed us all up the wrong way, as it shows a disregard for what could be done if this was open data. It goes against our values.

Open Data / Open Source

One of our Code Values at CTC is that data, information, knowledge and even software is better if it is open. We champion the creation and use of open data.  This is data which is made freely available, openly licensed for re-use by anyone, in neutral, machine-readable format. Once it is available then anyone (even you) can build anything you like with it – or reuse it in any way you fancy, even to start a new business!

If the recycling data was open data, then others could use it, and build on it as shown below. People could also update the data more easily, and given that its publicly funded, then this should be rectified.