Lift09 — Envisioning the Future City — Anne Galloway [en]

Expectations, promises and hopes are things that we do.

Anne looks at what people do, make, say. Tries to figure out why we don’t do, make, say other things.

To make certain futures happen: broken relationships between certain groups of people.

*steph-note: missing a lot here, having trouble seeing where we’re going*

So, city of the future. Hybrid cities, real-time, sensor, read-write, mobile, adaptive… cities.

Attention: not to ignore what’s happening now.

“What if we imagine the future city as a gift we want to give people.” Through all these projects, everybody had the best of intentions. Want to give people good things. Make lives better. In five years, Anne has never talked to anyone who has anything but good intentions. The people who do make things want to give people good things.

Gifts are powerful. Show that we love, care, or have obligations to each other. Different gifts for different people. Usually put energy in choosing gifts for some people — but not all of them.

Even the good intentions end up being a little off sometimes. Superhero superpowers. Example of Superuseless Superpower: Lati-dude and Longi-dude. Transport yourself to the same point on the other side of the earth. (haha!)

Gifting is a tricky business. there is always some tension at some point. Some people are better at it than others (giving and receiving gifts well).

So, what does it mean to give people new cities or technologies? What is the gift doing?

What is the relationship between the gifter and the “user”? What can we expect of the other? Eg. gifts between colleages at X-mas, we have different expectations than from family, lovers, grandparents.

When we give someone a gift, how do we even know they want it? Could a gift be damaging? cause stress, upset, anger? How do you know if they appreciate it? (“thank you very much, that’s a lovely gift”) What do you do if they dislike it? How do you act if they misuse it? (the project has failed…)

Did you ever get a gift that you didn’t use? Or “what in god’s name do you think of me to give me this?” (Head-massaging helmet… “everyone likes a good head massage!” => you become an anomaly.)

“Oh, it’s not so difficult, let me show you how it works!! It wasn’t meant to make you feel stupid!”

Until you get into the process, you have no idea how to interact.

Back to the gifted city. Gifted in the superhero sense: look, it can do all that!!!

Examples of future cities we’ve seen: many people in the room probably went “oh cool!”, but certainly some also went “cool, but what am i going to do with it?”

We gift opportunities with these cities. Citizen engagement projects. Data to take political action. New technologies => act in new ways.

Projects which allow people to map environmental issues.

But not everyone wants to be a data collector, or cares about the data. Many kinds of publics. Not everyone will be interested in doing certain parts of the “job”. Public science: challenge = getting people to do science work, sometimes people don’t want to be scientists, not interested in the labour, or lack the capacity to do it.

=> fragmented public. The gift needs us to want to act as data collectors and it needs us to have the ability to make sense of the data we collect.

Gifted risks. With these expectations etc, we can start thinking of the risks associated to those gifts. If citizenship requires technology, non-techies start feeling like non-citizens. Not everyone has a cellphone! Lots of people share cellphones! Or own multiple mobile phones… Locking out people…

Giving access to information that people didn’t use to have. They still don’t usually have the possibility to generate certain sets of data. Someone has decided what will be sensed (what the sensors capture). Assumption, also, that scientific data is more important/true than other emotional, affective, subjective… data.

When you’re building the future city:

– What kind of future city do you hope to give?
– What kind of future city do you expect to receive?

Without asking those questions, risks much higher than possible opportunities.

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Picking a City for an Event: Lausanne [en]

[fr] La journée de conférences Going Solo que je mets sur pied pour mai avec deux autres Lausannoises aura lieu à... Lausanne. Si Lausanne était mon premier choix (j'aime ma ville) je craignais que cela soit un choix plus émotionnel que raisonné. S'adressant à un public européen, nous avons donc pensé à Paris, Berlin, Londres... Mais finalement, ce sera Lausanne. L'argumentaire, en bref:

  • Facile d'accès: on sort de l'avion à Genève, on saute dans le train (200m de la douane) et 30-40 minutes plus tard, on est à Lausanne.
  • Organisation plus aisée: nous sommes les trois de Lausanne, donc on évite tous les problèmes liés à l'organisation d'un événement à distance. En plus, on connaît les entreprises locales, ce qui peut ouvrir des opportunités de sponsoring. Je compte aussi approcher la ville pour leur proposer de soutenir ce projet.
  • Lausanne est un cadre magnifique, la région autour aussi. Si on se déplace pour une journée de conférences et qu'on veut en profiter pour se relaxer durant le week-end, c'est le lieu idéal.
  • Plus abordable que Paris, Londres, ou même Genève.
  • Ville à taille humaine, bons transports publics. On ne passe pas 1h à se rendre à un autre endroit de la ville.
  • Changement bienvenu des "villes de conférences 2.0" habituelles!

A bientôt à Lausanne, donc!

When you decide to organise an event, other than having a good idea for the content/audience (ie, “what’s it about? what kind of event?”), two things you need to figure out quite quickly are *when* and *where* it’ll happen. This post is about the “where?” question.

My initial reaction when I took the decision to go ahead with [this wacky “organising events” idea]( was somewhere along the line of “great! I’ll do it in [Lausanne](!”. A bit of a selfish reaction, as it makes things easier for me, and I really love Lausanne.

Next, I started thinking. Who is this event going to be for? Where is the highest number of people likely to come for my event? Maybe Lausanne is my favourite personal choice, but it doesn’t necessarily make business sense. From the start, I’ve thought of my event as **European**, with the idea to attract people from all over the continent. So of course, I expect attendees to travel — but there is always a high local population at events, as the absence of travel lowers the barrier to entry (cost, travel time, stress).

Well, quite possibly, the answer to that question (where is the highest concentration of freelancers in the tech industry in Europe?) would be “London”. On the other hand, London is horrendously expensive (isn’t it?), so, why not something nearby, like… Brighton? Cheaper, but still rather easy to get to.

At that point, I decided we needed a choice of cities, and we should check them out for venue options and hotel pricing, to see if anything stood out. Obviously, we’d need to pick cities which are easy to get to from other places in Europe. So, for starters… let’s look at London/Brighton, Paris, and Berlin. Paris is very close to London with the Eurostar, and Berlin (Germany) is cheaper than both London and Paris, but it’s still an Easyjet city. Because, if you’re in Europe, chances are you’re going to be flying Easyjet or some other low-cost airline. (I should think about asking them to sponsor the event, actually…)

So, armed with those three options (London, Paris, Berlin), I set off to [Le Web 3]( to start talking with possible sponsors, and also to bounce ideas off my friends and peers. To my surprise, quite a few people said “but why don’t you do it in Lausanne?” when I mentioned the location wasn’t set yet. So, I started thinking. Because even if Lausanne is a personal, almost emotional choice for me, it doesn’t mean it cannot also be a good business decision.

Let’s look at Lausanne as a possible city to host my event, with a cool business mind:

– First and foremost, it’s actually **really easy to access**: get off your plane in Geneva airport, walk 200m from customs, hop on the train (yes, the train station is *inside* the airport), and 30-40 minutes later you’re in central Lausanne. (You’re in for at least the same kind of ride to get to central London from LGW or LHR, or central Paris from CDG.) Geneva airport is an international airport which is easily reached from all over Europe, [with Easyjet for example]( However, it’s way less busy than CDG, LHR, LGW, which makes the arrival/departure experience much more pleasant.
– **I live in Lausanne**, and so do my two main partners-in-crime: holding the event in Lausanne will make organisation much smoother for us, and allow us to ensure we don’t bump into any issues with the venue due to managing things remotely. Not to mention opportunities for sponsorships by local businesses — being locals, we know who they are and have existing connections we can use. There are also many important companies settled in the Lausanne area, like Nestle, Philip Morris, or Orange Switzerland. *And* it’s the Olympic Capital. (OK, drifting off-topic here…)
– [Lausanne]( is **a beautiful city**, in the midst of a beautiful region: it’s on Lake Geneva (Lac Léman), but as opposed to Geneva which is at the end of the lake, Lausanne is in the middle. The view over the lake and mountains is just breath-taking. If you’re coming for a one-day conference and plan to spend a nice week-end somewhere while you’re at it, Lausanne is ideal. The city is lovely and walkable, France is 20 minutes away by boat (just across the lake), and the surrounding countryside and lakeshore is also worth a visit (for example, [Le Lavaux](, Unesco world heritage site, is just to the east of Lausanne). I’ll be digging out photos to convince you to come if you’re not sold yet ;-).
– Even though Switzerland is a rather expensive country (by European standards), holding an event in Lausanne is going to be **more affordable** than London, Paris, or Geneva.
– Lausanne is a **human-sized city**: it’s the [fifth most important city in Switzerland]( with 120’000 inhabitants in the city itself. It has everything one needs, but it’s not so large that you can get very lost in it or spend insane amounts of time commuting from one part of the city to the other. Public transport is very efficient.
– Finally, Lausanne will be **a welcome change** for all of us on the “2.0 conference circuit”, as it’s not one of the usual “conference cities”, and probably a city you haven’t visited before much (which is a pity! you should!).

Check out:

– [Official Lausanne website](
– [Official Lausanne tourism website](
– [Lausanne on WikiTravel](
– [Lausanne on Wikipedia](
– [Lausanne Flickr Pool (photographs)](

So, here we go. [Going Solo]( will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland — I’m looking forward to welcoming you all here in a few months.

Now tell me — did I do a good job of selling you Lausanne as a conference-city? 🙂

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Steph+Suw Podcast: First! [en]

[fr] Suw et moi avons enfin enregistré le fameux podcast-conversation dont nous parlons depuis notre première rencontre, en mai 2004. C'est en anglais et c'est assez long, mais on s'en est pas trop mal sorties pour une première!

Each time [Suw]( and I meet, we talk about recording a podcast together. [We met for the first time in June 2004](, and if I believe the [Podcasting and Beercasting Thoughts]( I wrote a little less than a year later, that was indeed when we first started talking about using audio to record conversations.

I’m definitely sure that we talked about it at [BlogTalk 2]( I don’t think Skype was in the air then, but we talked about hooking up our phones to some audio recording device, and left it at that. At that time, people were getting excited about “audioblogging” (did we already talk about “podcasting” back then? It seems a long, long time ago) and we agreed that were audio really became interesting was in rendering conversations. (See the [Podcasting and Beercasting Thoughts]( post for more about that.)

Anyway, now we have [Skype](, and [Call Recorder]( (which reminds me, I need to write up a post about the ethics of recording audio conversations), and we finally got round to doing it. It’s a bit long-ish (40 minutes — not surprising if you know us!) and has been slightly edited in that respect, but honestly, it’s not too bad for a start.

Here is roughly what we talked about.

– [San Francisco](, web geek paradise
– City sizes (see this [London-SF superimposition map](
– Segways
– The cat/geek Venn diagram ([Twitter error message](
– I really want a Wii
– IRC screen names
– The difficulties of pronouncing S-u-w
– When geeks name children: A unique identifier or anonymity?
– Stalkers and geoinformation
– Perceptions of security
– Giving out your phone number and address, and personal boundaries
– Airport security ([background…](
– Risk and expectations of risk
– Death, religion, and the medical industry
– Naming our podcast… something about blondes, apparently
– Clueless marketeering from the Fabric nightclub in London
– The repercussions of having a blog that people think is influential (even if
you don’t think it is)

Let us know what you liked and didn’t like! [View Suw’s post about this podcast.](

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