Announcing the Launch of the 2022 DTPR City Cohort

Helpful Places
4 min readJun 24, 2022

We’re thrilled to announce the launch of the inaugural cohort of cities to pilot Digital Trust for Places and Routines (DTPR), an open-source communication standard for digital technologies in shared spaces.

Last year, we launched a call for organizations to participate in our first organized cohort to implement DTPR through an open learning program. After months of planning and preparation, we’re excited to say we’ll be working with four communities across three countries:

  • Angers-Loire metropolitan region, France
  • Town of Innisfil, Canada
  • City of Boston, USA
  • District of Columbia, USA

As part of the 2022 DTPR City Cohort, these communities are testing the DTPR standard to help residents understand and interact with smart technologies installed in their cities. This will help to build and maintain public trust, while at the same time harnessing digital technologies’ potential to address civic challenges.

“The Town of Innisfil is committed to using technology to enhance services for its community. DTPR is a powerful tool for creating transparency, building trust and encouraging technology to be embraced by residents. It is a great honour to participate in this cohort with other like-minded municipalities around the globe.”
– Mike Melinyshyn, CFO and Director of Corporate Services for the Town of Innisfil

Over the next several months, these four cities will install signage to inform and engage residents on technologies being tested in public spaces, such as sensors to monitor air quality, measure waste bin levels, and conduct traffic safety analysis. The signs let people know what data the technology is collecting, who’s collecting it, and what the data is being used for. By scanning a QR code on a sign, residents can learn more about the technology, ask questions, and share their feedback.

“The City of Boston is excited to be a part of Helpful Places’ inaugural DTPR City Cohort. This program extends Boston’s efforts towards greater digital transparency, accountability, and engagement, while creating a new framework for partnership and sharing across cities. Since 2020, Helpful Places has been an invaluable partner in creatively developing the public conversation around technology and data in Boston.”
– Yo Deshpande, Technologist for the Public Realm, Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, City of Boston

Visual language has been shown to help democratize complex concepts. By making invisible systems visible, the DTPR standard can help give everyone an opportunity to participate in decision-making regarding the use of technologies in public spaces.

“Angers Loire Métropole has launched a major smart city project that will use a wide range of digital tools to improve the efficiency of its public services in order to address the major issues facing our region: energy savings, water management, waste management, transportation, etc. We want this deployment to be accompanied by a high level of transparency for citizens. By participating in this international experiment, Angers will contribute to the development of a democratic tool that will be essential in many cities tomorrow.”
– Christophe Béchu, French Minister for Local Government, President of Angers Loire Métropole

As we work with these cities to get feedback from their residents and improve the DTPR standard, we’ll be sharing out updates and learnings. Stay tuned!

Want to learn more and stay connected?

What is DTPR?

Digital Trust for Places and Routines (DTPR) is an open-source communication standard to increase transparency and accountability for digital technology in public places. The DTPR standard was created through a collaborative effort that involved dozens of experts across privacy, smart cities, tech, and public realm, along with testing and research with diverse groups of residents. At its heart are a taxonomy of digital technologies, a set of visual icons providing visibility and awareness of the technologies installed, and a mechanism for public feedback.

DTPR is currently stewarded by Helpful Places, in collaboration with Normative and a coalition of supporters, including The Privacy Pro, GLIA Foundation, Digital Public Square, and Boston’s Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics. It is a featured initiative of the World Economic Forum’s Future of the Connected World Global Action Plan.

What is Helpful Places?

Helpful Places is a mission-driven startup advancing greater transparency and civic dialogue on the use of digital technology in the built environment. Led by Jackie Lu, a leader in smart cities with more than two decades of public service and technology implementation experience, Helpful Places focuses on implementation pathways and coalition-building for the global adoption of the open-source DTPR standard.



Helpful Places

We’re a mission-driven startup advancing greater transparency and civic dialogue on the use of digital technology in the built environment.