CityCamp London

Dominic and his team at FutureGov did a fabulous job of running CityCamp London this weekend.

Sadly I could only make Friday afternoon’s ‘stimulate’ session, which saw a roomful of people at the RSA get together to listen to some great talks about cities, technology and design.

But following the tweets over the weekend for the ‘participate’ and ‘collaborate’ sessions it seems like there was an incredible amount of energy and desire to improve things. It will be fascinating to see what projects emerge from the event.

I must say, my thoughts on Friday were focused around the idea of place, and how places work as systems. I’ve never lived in a city – except on a part time basis when at University – and so I couldn’t help but wonder how an event based around a village, or a market town, would turn out.

Cities, especially vast ones like London, are so big, and so complicated, that they are very difficult to fix, I think. However, whilst villages and towns are obviously on a smaller scale, they also lack the numbers of people wanting to be involved, and having the skills needed to make stuff happen.

This is probably something I need to think about a bit more, and will return to when I have something half-sensible to say.

Anyway, I made some notes during Matt Jones of Berg’s presentation. They are a mixture of things he said, things I wanted to look up and my own thoughts. I’ve pasted them in below the video of Matt’s talk and I will leave you to decide how useful they are.

Matt Jones, Design Director, Berg from aquila on Vimeo.

  • Networked urbanism ? Ruralism?
  • What about villagecamp or towncamp?
  • How do we improve where we live and how does the Internet as a platform support that?
  • Unintended consequences of complex system design. Build it and they come, and you didn’t build big enough.
  • Never waste a good crisis.
  • City (place?) as a system.
  • Use of a system does not equal need for the system.
  • How much is a town or a village a system? Are they multiple systems or one big one? How can the systems be plotted and improved?
  • Government is just a part of these systems.
  • Where does open government fit in? Government must be more open to be an effective part of the system.
  • Data is not truth.
  • The works, Kate ascher (book)
  • Always design a thing thinking about it in it’s next largest context.
  • Shirky – situated software. Look it up. Also the nearlynet.
  • Synecdoche. The part that represents the whole.
  • Open data makes information Hunan scale. Tom Armitage.
  • Hertzian Times (book)
  • Doorway – simon unwin. Porch and doorways – interfaces between public and private.