PlaceCal started as part of a research project at Manchester Metropolitan University.
The aim of the project was to look into making cities more friendly for the over 50s, and reduce social isolation.
The research looked at communities, places, facilities and people in four areas of Greater Manchester:
One of the first things we found was that people thought there was nothing to do in their areas. This meant they were stuck at home, alone.
We wondered if that was really the case, however. Perhaps there was a lack of information?
We went out to see if the assumption that there was nothing to do was true. After talking to dozens of organisations and community members, we discovered there was a huge variety of activities to take part in.
The focus therefore became not the lack of events, but a lack of high quality, up-to-date, accessible and complete community data.
It became clear to us that the problem is one of communication.
Mainstream social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are aimed at a specific type of event: large, well promoted, one-off events, generally for younger people.
We realised we needed a way for small organisations to promote the more day-to-day events for less socially mobile and older people -- it was here that the idea for PlaceCal was born.
PlaceCal is a technological and social solution.
PlaceCal was aimed at organisations of all sizes with social goals. The platform enables them to promote their events with the minimum possible fuss, using their existing technology.
We also started it to improve community technology infrastructure overall. We created a solution where the social, technical, and training aspects are all intertwined.
PlaceCal uses a model that can be scaled and adopted by others. We hope PlaceCal becomes one of many apps that use this approach.