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What ways can underutilised CYC assets i.e. equipment, property, buildings and land, be exploited to benefit businesses, the community and the Council?

Many thanks to all those who contributed to our first GeniUS! challenge. We weren’t really sure what to expect but over the three weeks the challenge was open we saw some great discussion and lots of interesting ideas from all those involved. This challenge very much focussed on two distinct areas relating to City of York Council assets. The first topic was centred on finding a use for a specific Council building which is currently unused, Clementhorpe Maltings. The second topic of discussion and ideas was around how as a Council we could best manage our current assets and allow the City to get the best value out of these.

We received lots of creative ideas as to how best to use the space at Clementhorpe Maltings. 

  • Gallery space for the city’s art exhibitions whilst York Art Gallery is renovated
  • Temporary/Pop-up shop and/or stall space for entrepreneurs
  • A work experience space for architects/town planning students
  • Enterprise club space
  • Skills share space
  • Brewery
  • Time Bank/skills exchange space
  • Exercise space or space for personal trainers to do one to one classes
  • City Centre Meeting space (for eco business centre or other outlying businesses to use)
  • Studio space for artists
  • Vocational work experience for tradesmen/women under supervision.
  • Hack Space- to train in hardware and software, to re-skill the unemployed or others, provide technical help and kit to community groups/charities, and as computer club.


During the course of the challenge it emerged that there were building regulation constraints which would severely impact the progress of turning this space into a community asset. As a result further work will be undertaken by the challenge team to identify an alternative space for one or more of these ideas. Our commitment to this element of Challenge #1 remains and we will keep all those who contributed ideas informed on progress.

Relating to the asset management facet of our challenge, the idea we chose to develop was as Asset System that would allow open access to information about assets to allow free and open proposals on the use of those assets.

A workshop was conducted on Monday 27th February to which those who contributed to this idea on the platform were invited. This was used to discuss the possibilities within this idea and to begin defining the aims and construction of a pilot system.

In order to focus for the pilot we have selected a theme of film locations around the city and the intention is to populate a database, in the first instance, with a variety of information and media on potential filming locations in the city with supporting information, such as available parking. This will then be made available as a resource.

In terms of implementation, discussions have taken place with technology partners and we have a proposal on the table that will provide a system for the pilot. An evening workshop was held on Monday 19th March with York’s filming community including students from York’s Universities and members of the York filmmaker’s coalition. This was used to capture the requirements the local industry would require from such a solution.

A business case is in the process of being constructed and will be presented to the Open Innovation team at the end of March. We had originally aimed for the 21st, but require the workshop and discussions with internal services before this can realistically happen. Work will also begin in producing a specification for the requirements of the system, in conjunction with our technology partners.

In terms of the system there will be an 8 week turnaround on deployment once this initial work has been completed, so if we started at the beginning of April, we’d have a system live by the end of May.

The team aims to keep you all updated on the progress of this pilot via this discussion thread.

Dave Atkinson, Vicki Hoggarth-Hall, Ben Wilson (Challenge #1 Team)


The original thread and all discussions and ideas can be found here.

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This website is for anyone and everyone to share ideas on how we can tackle the challenges that York and its inhabitants face. We want to encourage and develop new and imaginative ways for the city to meet some of its key challenges.

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