Weeknotes 150; subversive cities

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Hi all. Thanks for subscribing and reading this newsletter! As every week a short update on noticeable things happened last week and looking into this week, with special attention on experiences from events I visited and calendar of possible events. And a short update on the work on Cities of Things.

To start with the latter, this has become rather a focus the last years and we found a good moment to make that initiative even stand more. We therefore established a foundation Cities of Things. Found more on our activities on the websites, and expect a lot more updates in the coming weeks; citiesofthings.nl/about.

The foundation is linked to research activities performed at TU Delft and the current students in the Delft Design Lab are one of the examples. This week Meike will graduate if all goes well, who worked on a Seabubbles-project with our partner Advier. Peicheng has set his graduation date to the 2nd of August and Yeonyu is about to plan her greenlight. Mohamed is shaping a new project with AMS.

As expected last week was occupied for a great part with MAB20, the Media Architecture Biennale that was postponed from 2020. I was part of the organizing team of a full-day workshop on Tuesday on Subversive Citizens Manual, and on Friday we organized a symposium on Cities of Things AMS-MUC field lab. I did a short introduction and Julia Christiansen introduced our partner the Munich Urban Colab. In a panel discussion with Euiyoung Kim of TU Delft, Marcel Schreuder of Springtime, and Marthijn Pool of Space&Matter we discussed the themes and approach of exploring cities of things and mobility challenges through a field lab and research through design approach.

This week we will do a workshop with a lot of Munich interested partners and hope to continue soon shaping the first projects together.

So far for this initiative. I also followed a couple of sessions at MAB20, like the keynote of Cameron Tonkinwise that focused on vision-led transition design and I really liked his framing of energy systems change by rethinking energy use to energy budgets. We need to rethink our mental models about energy. Not about kilowatts, but about use sessions per device. Interaction design for how to perceive energy; like your battery-indicator of your laptops depending on the energy available in your energy budget.

I agree with Kary Barnard on the discord chat: “Personally, what really struck me was the idea that even the smallest of interface design decisions can have a significant impact on our individual actions and have the power to change behavior for the future. Designers have a responsibility to think for the future, not just for easing the now.”

Also, the session on Public Digital Cultural Infrastructure had some great speakers and insights. On putting culture first and shaping cities starting from the streets (not the buildings), according to Dan Hill. But public space without people makes only sense in a legal sense, acc Sandi Hilal.

As always I missed more than I could see, but I hope to find time later to rewatch some sessions.

I did watch a view of the presentations of the DIS-conference on Social Robots, you can find them on Youtube, check first the program, otherwise, you drown in the playlist. And I joined an intimate session of the Billion Seconds Institute for members on energy that was on carbon impact mainly.

One thing to mention is the graduation reviews I did for AVANS in the beginning of the week. I was invited to join the team of teachers to experience the graduation work, that has a high level of installation vibes at AVANS. It was the first time I saw the graduation work so close and I liked the level for sure. Maybe I was lucky ;)

This week I do not have that much on my calendar. Primer21 Global would be interesting but does not fit my schedule, maybe yours. I will need some time though to read through these articles…

Read the articles captured from last week on robotics, and other intelligent things via the newsletter.

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I am a design director at Structural. I curate and organize ThingsCon Netherlands and I am chairman of the Cities of Things Foundation. Before I was innovation and strategy director at tech and innovation agency INFO, visiting researcher and lab director at the Delft University of Technology coordinating Cities of Things Delft Design Lab.