Tagcocities

Cognitive Cities Conference: An Update

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Cognitive Cities Conference LogoWith Cognitive Cities Conference (#CoCities) being less than three weeks out (yikes!) it’s a good moment to take a step back and see where we stand now.

And let me start with a bit of a spoiler: I’m very, very happy how all the pieces have been falling into place.

We love our speakers. At the core of any good conference are, of course, the speakers. And boy, have we been blessed with great speakers who kindly agreed to join us at CoCities despite our obviously limited resources. (CoCities is organized on a non-profit basis.) With Adam Greenfield, Dannie Jost, Georgina Voss, Juha Van’t Zelfde, Matt Biddulph, Sami Niemalä, Ton Zijlstra and Warren Ellis, plus our moderator for the day Ben Hammersley, it’s a dream line-up as far as I’m concerned.

For the second day, which is open for free to the public, we’ve also been getting a plethora of great talks, workshop ideas and some exhibitions – give us some more days to sort it all out, we’ll announce details soon.

This week, we’ll also announce a sponsor, which is a big relief as it gives us a bit of wriggle room that allows us to treat our speakers and participants with the respect they deserve.

Media: It’s all about social. What I find remarkable is the role that media outreach has played for us: virtually none. Almost all of our outreach, publicity, ticket sales, even speaker recruitment has been done via our blogs, on Twitter and Facebook, or by good old email. The other day I considered putting together a press kit in the last minute, but the response was unambiguous: “Never mind the press kit, it’s all about the schwag bags!” So, no press kits. (Alas, also no schwag bags.) We have some banners (like the one in this post), but that’s about it. I’m not sure if the lack of importance of traditional media coverage is just an aspect of the topics we touch on at CoCities, or the core audience there, or simply our personal networks, but it seems to be working. (See what Twitter has to say about Cognitive Cities Conference.)

CoCities is international. Another aspect that makes me very happy is that – according to our ticketing service Amiando – less than 60% of participants are from Germany. This means that we’ve certainly succeeded in bringing the discussion about the future of cities to Berlin, on a global level. (Last time I checked tickets had been bought from 15 or 16 countries.)

Now all we have to do (ahem!) is to keep polishing until the event weekend.

If you haven’t yet, register now for Cognitive Cities Conference.

I’m looking forward to seeing you in Berlin!

Cognitive Cities Conference is go!

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Cognitive Cities Conference logoExciting news: We just launched the website for Cognitive Cities Conference, the conference about the future of cities and technology that we’re putting together next February. (Details: 26/27 Feb 2011, Berlin.)

And hey, the site features cool speaker images, creepy map visualizations and soon some other eye candy. The only thing it’s missing, really, is unicorns ;)

Big props to the great folks (who are also our co-organizers) over at Your Neighbours as well as Fabian Mürmann for putting together the site – you guys rock!

The other thing: We put up the Early Bird tickets. You can get them now, as long as they last, for the reduced rate of €79 (including Amiando fees). (You can grab yours here.)

So what is Cognitive Cities about? Here’s the official super-short blurb:

We are at a point in time where the paths are set for the future of cities. The Cognitive Cities Conference (#CoCities) aims to bring the vibrant global conversation about the future of cities to Germany. We see CoCities as a platform for exchange and mutual inspiration. We invite urban planners, designers, technology geeks, environmental experts, public officials, urban gardening enthusiasts and cultural influencers to be part of the conversation. We can only make our cities more livable if we work together to improve them. CoCities is a two-day event: Day 1 is a full-on conference (ticket required), Day 2 is dedicated to exploring the city through workshops, guided tours and exhibitions (free entry).

With Heimathafen Neukölln we have a fantastic location, a grand old theater in the super lively (and decidedly pre-gentrified) neighborhood of Berlin Neukölln. This is where the first day of the conference (the actual “conference day”) will take place. On Day 2 (“activity day”) we’ll head out to a number of location for distributed activities ranging from tours to exhibitions to some other, totally awesome stuff that’s too hard to convey in two lines.

I’m getting really excited about this whole thing. Hope to see you there.

For more details and to get an Early Bird ticket check out http://conference.cognitivecities.com/

Cognitive Cities at Convention Camp, Radio Trackback

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As the preparation for Cognitive Cities Conference are picking up steam, we’ve been invited to talk about smart/cognitive cities on several occasions.

A few days ago, my co-conspirator Igor Schwarzmann gave a presentation at Convention Camp about how our perception and perspectives change when a city gets “smart”. Mainly, we highlighted some interesting projects in the field and discussed them with the audience. You’ll find the slides (mostly links to videos) at the bottom of this post.

Following up on our talk, Radio Trackback interviewed me about smart and cognitive cities. (Links to some of the projects I mentioned: Urban Defender Game, MIT Trash Tracking, Walkshop in Barcelona, Homesense, Lost London, Chromaroma, Cognitive Cities). The interview is in German, starting at around 6:26.

(Some Rights Reserved: Radio Trackback is released under a Creative Commons nc-by-nd license)

Shout out! Edial Dekker was also featured talking about YourneighboursCity Crawlers Berlin project (around 14:35).

And these are the slides of our presentation:

Cognitive Cities Conference: New Date!

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A few weeks ago, we announced to run a conference on the future of cities & technology, Cognitive Cities Conference. (I blogged it here, too.)

We just moved Cognitive Cities to a new date: 26/27 February 2011.

My co-organizers and I explained our reasons for pushing CoCities on the Cognitive Cities blog, but let me sum it up very quickly here, too.

Most importantly, the move is a good thing. As only a very few of you know by know, there are some changes coming up in my professional life – of the best sorts, but I can’t really talk about them just now. These changes – and some other things – happen to coincide with the original dates of the conference. All of this takes up quite a few cycles and quite a bit of energy: Just the kind of cycles and energy you need to run a great event on the side while still doing your day job.

The team talked this over, and we came to the conclusion that we’d rather postpone the event than just winging it. We really want to get Cognitive Cities right, and we have high hopes and aspirations for this. And since we’re planning to have some really kick-ass people present there, we owe them the best possible event, too.

Moving CoCities to spring will give us just the time we need to get it right. The date seems right – just around the beginning of the conference season, well before SXSW and – most importantly – with a few months between now and then. (If you are aware of any other relevant event going on at the same time, please let me know!)

Also, if you are working on any kick-ass relevant project that you think might fit the profile, send us a brief note about it. Should you prefer email over online forms, feel free to email us at info@cognitivecities.com.

We will continue with the planning just like we did before, i.e. talk to speakers and sponsors, scout for the best projects and tweak the conference format further. To make it the best conference we’ve organized yet. Really looking forward to seeing Cognitive Cities take shape over the next few months.

Announcing the Cognitive Cities Conference

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Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II.

Update: New date for Cognitive Cities Conference is 26/27 February 2011 (details).

A few friends and I are planning a conference this fall. Please allow me to cross-post from the Cognitive Cities blog:

Our future will be played out in cities. The projections tell us that our planet will resemble some very familiar fictional fantasies: 75% of the global population will be living by 2050 in cities or mega cities. Between slums and mass poverty on one hand and eco-sustainable living on the other hand, there will be both tough problems to solve and exciting visions to realize. We are at a point in time where the paths are set for the future of cities. The Cognitive Cities Conference wants to pick up the vibrant global conversation about the future of cities and bring it to Germany. By bringing bright minds with different perspectives together, it is our ambition to enable not only an in-depth exchange about the current state of affairs, but also to foster new projects. We believe that collaboration and diversity lead to the best results. We see the Cognitive Cities Conference as a platform for exchange and mutual inspiration and invite urban planners, designers, technology geeks, environmental experts, public officials, urban gardening enthusiasts and cultural influencers to be part of the conversation. We can only make our cities more liveable if we work together to improve them. The format of the conference will be a combination of lightning talks and workshop style sessions. Participants will share ideas, thoughts and challenges based on their diverse backgrounds, thus presenting different perspectives and approaches to the challenges we share. We are planning a one track only event, with the option for break-out sessions at any time. Where and when? Cognitive Cities Conference 02./03. October 2010 Coworking Cologne Who is Cognitive Cities for? We believe that diversity is essential for mutual inspiration. Cognitive Cities is aimed at designers, architects, futurists, urban planners, web geeks, activists, urban dwellers, you name it. If you are interested in the future of your city, you are most welcome. Who is behind Cognitive Cities Conference? Axel Quack, Igor Schwarzmann, Johannes Kleske, Markus Reuter, Martin Spindler, Peter Bihr, Welf Kirschner. Powered by CognitiveCities.com. Cognitive Cities is organized on a non-profit basis. We will provide more details and a dedicated link soon.

Until we have a site up, please refer to the original post.

For us, the idea behind Cognitive Cities isn’t just focused on urban planning.

That’s very important, as I’d like to stress that we hope to touch on other fields that are just as relevant to living in a city: think smart homes, smart grids, smart meters. Think augmented reality, Spime, sensors, cell phones, geo-tagging. Think open data. Think transportation, car sharing, intelligent trip planning. (Jetpacks, anyone?) Think reclaiming your city bottom-up. Think street art and locative art. Think green living and rooftop gardens and urban gardening. All of these, and many more, will influence our lives in the city. And all of them should be represented at our conference.

Also, I’d like to briefly put this in context: I know this all is, so far, pretty vague. We’ll get more concrete soon. Until then, we’ll be getting in touch with a first batch of potential speakers and sponsors to cover basic costs and, hopefully, some travel grants for speakers or guests who couldn’t come otherwise. We got to this event via atoms&bits, so there’s a connection here too. Props and thanks to Martin Spindler for getting the ball rolling and getting me on board! Also, thanks to Axel for enabling us to use Coworking Cologne as our conference location. As always, having a location for an event always is a huge load off of our shoulders.

So while we’re setting up the basic infrastructure to organize an event, please feel free to get in touch. For the time being, the best way is to either leave a comment on the original post or here, or to drop any of us organizers a line directly. We’re all pretty easy to reach. (In my case, the contact form or Twitter.) Update: Email us at info@cognitivecities.com.

Thanks for the patience, and for spreading the word. We’re all really looking forward to this.

Update: Official hashtag is #cocities.

Image: Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark II., a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from yakobusan’s photostream