Using data to help Prague’s cultural sector thrive
By Sarah Wray
The Citymapper transport app helps people plan their journeys with real-time travel information. Prague wants to use the same principle for culture.
“The pandemic affected all the different sectors but the cultural sector in particular was hit hard,” says Petr Suska, Board Member and Director at Operator ICT, Prague’s municipal IT services company.
“It is a very important sector that is a significant part of the image of the city of Prague,” he comments.
“Also of course, people couldn’t perform and they moved to other jobs or had to find alternatives. We were looking very closely at how to bring the cultural sector back up to speed. We were also pondering how we could use data to better understand what is happening within the cultural sector, and how can we support it so that it flourishes in the way that it should.”
He was speaking during an interview at the recent Cities Today Institute City Leadership Forum in Glasgow.
A key project is in collaboration with the Prague Creative Center, a ‘living lab’ set up by city hall. The Center received EU funding to develop a set of dashboards for business intelligence and insights into visitor trends at cultural venues.
Responding to demand
Operator ICT’s role has been to support the procurement process. The data will be stored on Prague’s open source data platform.
The project aims to shed more light on what culture and cultural venues draw crowds and how people attending cultural events contribute to the local economy.
“The idea is to also look at proprietary data, such as spend data, to understand not just how locals spend their money and time in the city of Prague, but also tourists,” says Suska.
“We’re trying to use [these insights] to have a vibrant, more flourishing and healthier cultural life in the city of Prague.”
He stresses that any use of data would be in compliance with privacy and GDPR regulation.
On the benefits expected, he explains: “The idea would be that you might be able to support particular types of culture or pop-up culture at a particular time in a particular place where you have demand.
“So, suddenly you become more demand-driven, and you understand what people are looking for and you can adjust that cultural offering to those needs.
“In the way that Citymapper works for public transit, it would be nice to have something as a ‘Culture Mapper’ that helps you consume a particular culture that you like at a particular time. Hopefully, this will bring us closer to that goal.”
This article first appeared in Cities Today.
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