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Before New Orleans, Detroit, or Bradford PA, the symbol of Urban-American blight was Majora's hometown, the South Bronx in NY City. After spennding her early years trying to get away from the Bronx, she found herself back at her parents' house as a result of financial needs while attending graduate school at NYU. What seemed like a defeat at first, led to her rediscovery & healing of her community and herself. No matter what condition your hometown is in, the possibility for more happiness, equality, efficiency, and prosperity can be realized when "problems" are looked at in the context of Home(town) Security and what that means to communities everywhere.
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.
by Julie Blitzer, Michael Uffer and Jerry Jariyasunant
The centerpiece of the urban lifestyle is an extensive, reliable public transportation system. Transit riders are embracing smartphones, 3G, 4G and even tablets. These tools can help us get better information, faster. Learn what changes are giving information in real-time and for trip planning. The New York City Office of Emergency Management (OEM) created NotifyNYC in 2009 "to enhance NYC's emergency public communications to the public." NotifyNYC allows NYC residents to sign up for transit notifications in a format of their choice, SMS, email, voice recording, Twitter or RSS for any or all boroughs. Numerous third-party applications exist in New York, including Exit Strategy NYC, which tells the user where to wait for the train so as to minimize station exit time upon arrival. San Francisco's Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) website offers developers a huge amount of resources including a comprehensive API with schedules, station information and real-time service updates. The BART site features third-party applications developed using the API for iPhone, Android, Windows, Mac and more. This panel will examine creative new projects that enhance our lives as city residents on the go, including how these websites and applications could reduce costs, bureaucracy and response time in public transit.
The public infrastructure of our cities are obscure structures whose workings are not accessible to most citizens. What if every sensor in our cities would have a Web API anyone could access in real-time and mashup? Open and easy to use Web platforms that enable efficient integration, processing, storage, and access to the enormous amount of data digital cities generate are increasingly needed, and we'll explore the various technologies that are making such solutions possible. Furthermore, we'll go much more beyond the technical aspects of such a platform to address the more controversial implications of such an Orwellian scenario. Hopefully, this session will provide a forum for the different disciplines involved in the design of future cities to establish a common ground for better interdisciplinary cooperation and understanding in this area.
Detroit is what the rest of the world has to look forward to. This panel will explain why there's hope in that statement, when you consider the growing community of citizen journalists, culture producers, technologists and small-business owners who are building a media-based economy at the city's grassroots. Neighborhoods are building mesh wireless networks to expand Internet access through community-owned infrastructure. Hackers teach residents how to build computers from salvaged parts and run them with open source software. Musicians use online distribution to reach global audiences, and party promoters give young people a reason to stay in Detroit. Detroit's emerging media economy is nurtured by its legacy of independent music and culture; by the culture of engineering, building and fixing instilled by our experience with the auto industry; and by the creativity and cooperation that comes out of necessity. For the past four years, the annual Allied Media Conference has helped foster Detroit's media economy, convening thousands of media-makers, activists, artists and technologists in Detroit every summer for a weekend of skill-sharing and strategizing. This panel will offer insights from AMC organizers, and other leading innovators in Detroit's creative culture of art and technology. We invite discussion about what the rest of the world can learn from Detroit and vice versa.
Urban computing isn't just fun, games and mapping. There's a dark side to urban technology, with surveillance and subversion in operation and in opposition. It shouldn’t be a surprise: most technologies we use were originally developed in the military before making their way to the civilian side. But mostly, when we talk about urban computing, we tend to focus on its optimistic and entertaining uses.
This panel confronts the relationship of cities to technology. Some things it will discuss: how soldiers literally cut holes in walls to through houses in urban wars; how the government creates geographically dark spaces on the map and launches secret satellites; and the role of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in giving rise to urban technologies we use today – to name a few. In balance, we’ll look at the ways that artists, activists, designers, architects and hackers reveal and challenge these shadowy-seeming technologies in their work.
11th–15th March 2011