Cognitive Cities, Amsterdam

Sometimes, in a quiet moment, when nobody is watching, I do ask myself: why are we so successful with Cognitive Cities?

It has been months since we organized the conference and still, wherever we go, this at-one-time little project that became an international conference, seems to open all kinds of doors for us. It became a brand in itself. It can be a bigger brand than Third Wave, potentially.

Which is fine. We are encouraging it, too. That is one of the reasons why we decided to diversify and, instead of sticking to a once-a-year conference format, do a few smaller events that are scattered around the world. We at Third Wave are perfectly comfortable with the idea of creating things that will be more recognizable than our company brand.

Alas, the first Salon. The decision to go to Amsterdam for the first iteration was an easy one. It is a city full of dedicated people in this field, many, many bright minds. On top of that, we loved the idea of working more closely with Juha from VURB (he is involved in many other projects as well). He was one of the speakers at the main conference and he has an almost intimidating infrastructure in place. So, in essence our investment – time wise – was very limited. Everything was just … there, waiting for an event to take place.

Touw

Every new event format is an experiment. The main conference was one and the Salon as well. We knew from others that Salons usually work very well, but we never organized one ourselves. But as always, the main receipe is: curate the best possible speakers and you will do just fine.

While we didn’t record the talks of Kars Alfrink (Hubbub), Katalin Gallyas (City of Amsterdam), James Burke (VURB) and Edwin Gardner (Volume Magazine) on video this time, we’re happy to point towards some reviews of the event. And if you ever get the chance to see them speak live – Kars for example will be at dconstruct -, do use it.

In that sense, we continue our journey with Cognitive Cities, it has been a smooth run so far. For now, thank you Amsterdam for being so kind to us.

Cognitive Cities is a wrap!

As we wind down from the Cognitive Cities weekend, we’re rubbing our tired eyes and asking each other “Did this really happen? Did it really exceed all our expectations?” The answer is – Yes, indeed, it did. Thank you.

As we wind down from the Cognitive Cities weekend, we’re rubbing our tired eyes and asking each other “Did this really happen? Did it really exceed all our expectations?” The answer is – Yes, indeed, it did. We had an absolute blast having you all as our guests. We’re super grateful for your participation, your enthusiasm and your feedback.

How we got here

When we started the Cognitive Cities blog, it was just a place of a few friends to share their findings about this emerging topic around cities and technology with each other. We are all geeks and were thrilled about the new possibilities of using our smartphones and other gadgets to interact with our urban surroundings.

The more we dived into the field, the more excited we became by the opportunities of all kinds of disciplines involved like architecture, design, mobile, city planning, politics, gardening and technology in general. Finally, being interested in everything made sense. Unfortunately, almost nobody else in Germany seemed to know about this field. So we decided that the best way for us to push it forward was to organize a conference.

Photos, videos, slides

We’re now trying to connect all the conference documentation and artifacts to make sure that the content and conversations continue and expand. While we’re compiling a comprehensive list of the coverage as well as our own videos (soon on the CoCities website and Twitter), here’s a first glimpse of what has been popping up on the interwebs.

There’s a Flickr group where you can add your photos from this weekend here:

Some of the presentations are on Slideshare already (more soon):

KS12 also did an interview with our lovely moderator Ben Hammersley:

Future Perspectives TN2020: Ben Hammersley from KS12 on Vimeo.

Connect

The conversations started at CoCities shouldn’t fade anytime soon. Make sure to connect to the other attendees. A good place to start are the Facebook event page and Lanyrd.

Thanks!

There are so many people we want to thank for making this possible, we can only highlight some of you. First of all, our speakers: thank you so, so much for agreeing to pitch in on this one. We really appreciate it. Second, a big thumbs up to all of you who attended and participated, either live at one of the conference days or by contributing online. Third, a big thank you to our sponsor smart, without whom CoCities wouldn’t have been possible and our media partners. And last but not least the whole team, all of whom put in tremendous efforts without any financial rewards – CoCities was truly a work of passion: Yourneighbours, Martin Spindler, Fabian MürmannMarkus Reuter, Axel Quack, Wiebke Herger and our lovely volunteers.

Feedback

We don’t want to miss the chance to hear from you about what worked and what we could do better next time. We’ve created a short survey with just four questions. It would be great help if you could take a couple of minutes and let us know what you think.

How does Science Fiction influence our cities?

How do you imagine the future of our cities? Flying cars like in 5th Element or maybe fully automatic car systems like in Minority Report? A lot of green spaces like on the Star Trek version of future Earth or maybe more like the dark, wet streets in Blade Runner? Currently, there is almost no topic discussed as intensely as the future of urban environments.

The headline of this blogpost is also the title of Igor’s talk at SXSW Interactive this year. But Igor isn’t just going to present by themselves – two fantastic co-panelists will be joining him: Adam Greenfield of Urbanscale fame (and one of our speakers at Cognitive Cities Conference) and Jo Guldi, a professor specializing in the history of infrastructure at U Chicago and Harvard.

So what are they going to be talking about exactly? This is the description that won the hearts & minds of the SXSW voting crowd:

How do you imagine the future of our cities? Flying cars like in 5th Element or maybe fully automatic car systems like in Minority Report? A lot of green spaces like on the Star Trek version of future Earth or maybe more like the dark, wet streets in Blade Runner? Will we live on a planet that resembles Star Wars’ Coruscant city-planet idea or will it be something stick to our mix of urban and rural environments? Is something like Cisco’s New Songdo in South Korea more fiction or reality? How would most people perceive IBM’s Smart Cities plans? Currently, there is almost no topic discussed as intensely as the future of urban environments. No wonder, since studies show the projection that by 2050 almost 75 percent of the then 9 billion people on this planet will live in megacities. We want to compare the current developments with the ones we know from fiction, because we’re highly influenced by those science fiction images that swirl in our heads.”

Urban futures haven’t just been on our minds since we decided to host Cognitive Cities Conference. In fact, over the last year or so we’ve given a number of talks and interviews about various aspects of the topic, including at re:publica, Sigint, Ignite Berlin and Convention Camp.

And that’s surely not the last we’ll be hearing and thinking about the future of cities. Now where are our jetpacks?

Cognitive Cities Conference

We like to describe our work as “pattern recognition”. What we mean by that is that we look for emerging trends and changes in user behavior, and how this impacts our lives or your field of business. One of the major emerging trends, and one to change our lives for the next decade or two, is the way cities change through technology.

We like to describe our work as “pattern recognition”. What we mean by that is that we look for emerging trends and changes in user behavior, and how this impacts our lives or your field of business. One of the major emerging trends, and one to change our lives for the next decade or two, is the way cities change through technology – think open data, mobile phones, sensors – and how that impacts our lives.

That’s why he decided to host Cognitive Cities Conference (CoCities).

The Cognitive Cities Conference (#CoCities) aims to bring the vibrant global conversation about the future of cities to Germany. We believe that collaboration and diversity lead to the best results. By inviting bright minds with different perspectives, it is our ambition to enable not only an in-depth exchange about the current state of affairs, but also to foster new projects and contribute to the ongoing global discussion. 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

Day 1 – 26. Feb, 2011 – Heimathafen Neukölln (ticket required)

We’re going to meet in a great space in the middle of Berlin Neukölln for a full day of inspiration and conversation. We are curating a program that mixes keynote-ish, visionary talks about more general topics with practical project presentations to make sure that everybody has some take-aways from this day, no matter how deeply involved or still fresh to the topic you are. We will leave enough room in the program to digest the information and converse over the inspiration.

Day 2 – 27. Feb, 2011 – Distributed across the city (free & open for everyone)

After a whole day of listening and receiving, we will leave our safe haven in Neukölln and go into the city. There will be art exhibitions, walk-/workshops, film screenings, startup crawls and much more throughout Kreuzberg and beyond. We as the organizers also know that most of you have something to add to the conversation about our cities and we want to provide a space for that. We love barcamps so we will provide some venues where you can meet and follow up on topics from day 1 or give a presentation or plan a project etc.