Alternative Camden launch (Alt.Cmd)



Introducing Alt.Cmd [Alternative.Camden]

This week Alt.Cmd launched in the Camden area — a technology project aimed at building a new type of economy supporting the local area. It was co-founded by Camden Town Unlimited, Euston Town, Dark Matter Labs, and Future Cities Catapult. The goal is to develop a new type of local, democratic institution for public good and change within the city.

We want to let our residents in the local area around Camden know about this exciting new project.


Read what Alt.Cmd has to say: 

The future space can feel threatening: companies with huge digital empires, creeping surveillance, the sale of private information, and computer programmes influencing what we see and how we see it. It’s hard to keep up, and all too easy to worry.

This is why it’s time to create an alternative future on our terms. To do this, we need to stop seeing technology as a threat but as a tool to bring us together, to build the future we want.


Using tech for good

Over the past decade, we have seen how cities and neighbourhoods around the world have changed for the better when people with vision and passion come together to create change. We have seen digital platforms used to organise everything from park runs to social-care; from community-led renewable energy networks to food waste reduction programmes and open source workshops. Technology has created a space for civic engagement and collaboration like never before, helping to make our cities healthier, more enjoyable and more inclusive.

This is the kind of innovation Alt.Cmd is seeking to build. We are not just another Silicon Valley-esque, tech-startup, unicorn-chasing innovation hub. Alt.Cmd will place its community at its core – residents, businesses, technologists and the public sector – and use technology to build civic innovation on our terms.


What are we going to do?

  • Start new, all-inclusive conversations about technology through co-designed and co-hosted public events, workshops and publications
  • Experiment and build prototypes of civic technology across a range of issues. Some might be highly visible whi;e others might be less obvious, thornier issues like the ethical questions around deploying augmented reality in public space, or new ways to fund shared infrastructures like the Camden Highline based on voluntary data tracking of health and wellbeing.
  • We will set up a testing ground (or ‘sandbox’) to explore how shared rules and regulations – from the planning system to licensing – could change in response to new innovative technologies that require civic and regulatory oversight.


Why Camden (Euston, and King’s Cross)?

Alt.Cmd’s test site includes Camden Town, Euston and King’s Cross. The area is a snapshot of London - it's home to leading arts, culture and educational institutions, to brilliant technology and scientific research as well as to innovative local government. It’s a place where thousands live, visit and work everyday, but it also shares some of London’s biggest challenges like rising inequality, the high cost of housing as well as air and noise pollution.

It’s the perfect place to test our assumption that technology can help everyone. It means we’ll be able to share our learnings with cities across the UK and even worldwide. But for it to work, we need your involvement.


Get Involved

If you’re actively engaged in your community, passionate about a challenge or injustice, are working within the Camden/Euston/King’s Cross area, or if you have an idea about how technology can help shape an alternative future for Camden – we want to hear from you.

Find out more on our website, read the blogs by Camden Unlimited and Dark Matter Labs and join the conversation at #AlternativeCamden.