It was a great opportunity to meet people from fields as diverse as architecture, economics, data security, programming, planning, social work all with a shared, positive interest to make our cities better.
The conference covered topics as diverse as urban mobility, the internet of things, sensors, urban interaction design, synthetic biology and 3D printing.
While there were many highlights there were some topics in particular that stood out.
1) Getting there & shared mobility
Part of the conference included a voucher to use Uber. Uber, at first glance seems like a regular taxi service where one rings up, ask for a taxi, the taxi comes and takes you from A to B. However, experiencing it first hand makes you realise the difference. The whole process was seamless.
One simply opens the app, location is automatically detected, fare is calculated if you enter destination and all nearby drivers are mapped. Once ‘Go’ was pressed, I only had to wait a few minutes until an SMS arrived informing me of the sleek, black car waiting outside. The journey was minimal fuss – just a confirmation of destinations and automatically charged upon arrival.
This experience set the tone for the rest of the day. From this well-integrated process it was clear that some of the topics mentioned, such as driverless cars incorporated with car-sharing schemes, are not impossible future scernaios and are quite achievable with only minor modifications to this user-friendly, yet clearly comprehensive dispatch system offered by this application.
2) Heal-able materials
Erik Schlangen‘s self-healing asphalt and concrete ; not only reducing maintenance cost and time, but implemented on a much larger scale reducing transport disruptions and reduce cost in repairing buildings (such as affordable housing).
Source : BBC
Earlier this year I was exposed to drone delivery through this news article.
While this use of drones was a bit tongue-in-cheek, drones were brought up a few times in the conference.
For example for the creation of parametric structures and for assisted navigation.
4) Changing nature of work / Future Londoners
The globalisation and Internet are changing the traditional notions of work and work hours. Work-life patterns changing and no longer fitting in the same paradigms. The Future Londoners project, for example, imagines some of these future citizens and how they live and work.
5) New approaches to sustainability
Collecting the carbon pollution and using it as a resource for cities – creating structures from thin air.
There were many more new ideas and projects that I would like to write about in future – hopefully a broadcast of the event comes out to be shared.