How can cities develop their own data infrastructure and systems, going beyond just data stores? Cities are not islands separate from each other, they are connected by common language, law and economy. Similarly open data policy and infrastructure cannot be developed by different cities in isolation. To be sustainable it needs to scale and be connected. There needs to be cooperation between cities, sharing of knowledge and international cities need to be advocates for each other. Can we can map out some principles and a roadmap on how this can be achieved with a civic ethos?
The FutureEverything conference included the theme of Future Cities along with the themes of Creative Code and The Data Society. As part of this Future Cities theme, the UrbanIxD project supported our Advisory Board member Martijn De Waal to contribute to a panel titled Open City Infrastructure alongside Usman Haque (Cosm) and Scott Cain (Technology Strategy Board, UK).
Martijn presented his insights from a recent trip to the new city of Songdo, and the Hongdae region in Seoul, both in South Korea. He compared the smart technology and infrastructure driven approach of Songdo, where the city is viewed as a service to consumer citizens, to the more vibrant, adaptive approach of the Hongdae district. Usman Haque's talk praised the idea of "messy cities", referring to Rittel and Webber's description of "wicked" problems. He went on to discuss the example of London's Grub Street, a notorious district of taverns and coffee shops frequented by satirists, writers and publishers, the "hackers" of the 18th century. Both Martijn and Usman presented the notion that the city is a place constantly in the process of making itself through the activities of its citizens, rather than as a big problem in need of a big solution. Scott Cain rounded off the session with a presentation on the work of the Technology Strategy Board, an innovation agency working with UK cities to address the emerging digital economy.
The FutureEverything Conference
The 2013 conference was held in Manchester, UK, on 21 – 22 March 2013. The FutureEverything conference and associated workshops bring together hundreds of delegates from around the world from across the creative industries, new technologies, innovation, arts, public sector and academia.
The 2013 conference focussed on three core themes: Creative Code, Future Cities and The Data Society. Other talks in the Future Cities theme included:
Anthony's talk provided more historical context to the development of modern city infrastructures, including references to the "active citizenship" ideas of Scottish urbanist, biologist and sociologist Patrick Geddes. Dr. Anthony Townsend is an urban planner, forecaster and Research Director at the Institute for the Future, an independent research organization based in California’s Silicon Valley. His book "SMART CITIES: Big Data, Civic Hackers, and the Quest for a New Utopia" is out later this year.
Dan, CEO of Fabrica, a communications research centre and transdisciplinary studio based in Treviso, Italy, and part of the Benetton group, discussed the importance of active, engaged citizens. His talk touched on the relationships between dark matter (hidden civic regulations), hipster urbanism and pop-up activism.
Anthony Townsend (Institute for the Future), Léan Doody (Arup Smart Cities Lead), Duncan Wilson (Intel), Catherine Mulligan (Urban Prototyping), Sascha Haselmayer (CEO, CityMart.com) and Dave Carter (Head of MDDA – Manchester City Council) Nick Johnson (Chair, Marketing Manchester)
Anthony Townsend invited this select group of smart city designers, engineers and thinkers to collaboratively shape a solution to a defining challenge facing smart city developers around the world. Anthony, with FutureEverything’s Drew Hemment, designed this special session in the FutureEverything Summit.