Future Cities Digest #12 (13.02.2014)

by Lukasz Alwast

#hyper-local #partnerships #Foursquare #Microsoft

Microsoft has agreed last week an important partnership with Foursquare – the ‘deal’ gives the Seattle-company access to Foursquare user data about physical movements and preferences among real-world shops, restaurants, bars and the like. Thanks to using this data Microsoft should be able to personalize search results, and better target ads on its Bing search engine. As some comment “Foursquare will be providing ‘rich data’ straight into Microsoft devices” which indicates current users may realize that their Foursquare data will meaningfully improve the search results they get from Bing. This deal suggests an early indication of how Microsoft might plan to compete with the likes of Google and Facebook in the ‘future of the retail / internet’ battleground – especially, as deep artificial intelligence (at the core of Google’s recent DeepMind acquisition), and consumer products like Google Shopper, might soon learn and begin to anticipate our shopping needs and preferences.

#government #futures #artefacts #UAE

At the beginning of this week Dubai was hosting the 2014 Government Summit led by the UAE government in partnership with the UN, World Economic Forum and the OECD. The main plenary sessions covered the usual conversations on ‘First Hand Discussions from Global Cities’, Futures of Education Services, Healthcare, Transportation and Government Service, ‘Smart Societies for Smart Cities’ and ‘Smart Government Services’ – and invited guests ranged from mayors of Barcelona and Seoul, to the likes of Klaus Schwab, Francis Maude, Richard Florida, Peter Diamandis and other government leaders (full list available here). A particularly appealing addition to the summit was the Museum of Future Government Services – created in collaboration with Superflux, Fabrica and Institute for the Future – which showcased a design futures exhibition with interactive artefacts on international travel, healthcare and education, as well as 8 trends that will impact the future landscape of government services.

#wayfinding #community #project #Lambeth

A very interesting, ‘collaborative wayfinding’ project has recently been completed in Lambeth, South London, run on behalf of a housing estate developer Network Housing Group as part of a long term cultural strategy to refurbish the area. The ‘culture and placemaking’ consultancy called Future City have co-ordinated the overall cultural strategy and appointed the design company Hat-Trick designs to undertake the project. Local artists were commissioned to come up with a ‘palette of patterns’ that represent local culture, history and architecture of the area. ‘The brief we were given was to help the estate feel more accessible and welcoming – the signs needed to be clear and simple, with the aim of helping both the first time visitor and residents of the estate. The estate has a wide variety of buildings and surfaces within it, so the signage needed to be adaptable.’ According to the project leaders, it has brought together a wide range of artists and designers in working together to ‘create a more welcoming and accessible estate’.

#DIY #design #collaboration #LosAngeles

In Los Angeles, the city Department of Transport has launched sometime ago DIY (Do-it-Yourself) Design Kits that allow to ‘create pedestrian plazas, mini parks, and bike parking’s’ to re-appropriate any of the 7,500 miles of street within the city, through a community transformation project called People St. The kits consist of pre tested, pre-approved designs and whenever a community is interested in changing their streets, the only thing they need to do is: apply for the kit and pay for materials and installation – hence, skipping the bureaucratic city planning limitations. The kits have been developed over a number of years through the collaboration of community groups and various other stakeholder all working towards the larger goal of ‘improving the quality of life in Los Angeles’.

 Recent reports and publications out there:

  •  What Do the Best Entrepreneurs Want In A City – Endeavour Insights, Feb. 2014 (highlights: surveys and interviews with founders of 150 fastest growing US companies, key message – pool of talent, liveability, access to suppliers & customers [and personal reasons] more important than taxation or bureaucracy when choosing where to launch a company)
  •  Metro Growth: The UK’s economic opportunity – City Growth Commission, Feb. 2014 (highlights: comparative stats of UK cities [metro area] in a regional and European context, mostly economic, labour and migration indicators + a long-list of the Commissions programme focus)
  •  Chicago Open Data Annual Report 2013 – Chicago City Council, Feb. 2014 (highlights: review of the Chicago Open Data initiative, useful descriptions and commentary of currently used public datasets [in transportation, admin, housing, health etc.] + strategic direction of key new data initiatives)

This weeks’ artefacts from the future:
Border control of the future (Museum of Future Public Services)
“With big data, intelligent sensors and better coordination, metal detectors, immigration queues, passports and visas will become a thing of the past – allowing for a more welcoming and humane experience. Travellers passing through the border control of the future will have their data scanned passively and unobtrusively as they walk through a specially designed corridor of light and sound. Humanoid-robot hosts and hostesses will be welcoming at the entrance and exit, adding a ‘personal touch’ for an improved experience of travel and security.”