Conference Season: Takeaways from Conferences, Congresses and Seminars in Asia

For the last month, Living Labs Global has turned to conferences as an opportunity to engage new audiences, learn about the diversity of urban challenges and identify worthwhile solutions.  Here is my top-five conference take-away of at times provocative and challenging statements.We joined the gathering of CIOs from cities around the world at the soon-to-be-inaugurated World E-Government’s World Cities Conference in Seoul , INTA’s 33rd World Congress in Taiwan on Innovation in Urban Development (Kaohsiung and Taipei respectively) and the Institute for Information Industry’s 2009 International Seminar on ICT Utilisation for Regional Revitalisation just 10 days ago. Living Labs Global partnered with both INTA and the Institute for Information Industry to develop the concepts for these events and conduct lectures, workshops and visioning seminars on urban service development.

Each of these conferences  had some truly provocative moments. Here is a loose top-five conference takeaway; I will elaborate in later posts:

1. Larry Barth, Professor of Architecture at the Architecture Association and a research collaborator of Living Labs Global in London, commented on the value of the Olympics from an urbanist’s perspective:

‘The Athens Olympics were successful as a land clearing strategy.’

---INTA33 Congress on Urban Development, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, October 2009

2. ‘In developed countries, as much as 33% of the population is functionally illiterate.’

---Domnique Laousse on making cities accessible through meaningful mobility, INTA33  Congress on Urban Development, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, October 2009

3. Ki-Joune Li of Pusan National University talked excitedly about the disconnect between the ubiquity of outdoor GIS and immature indoor GIS.  With funding from the Korean Land Spatialization Group (KLSG), Li and colleagues launched the Indoor Spatial Awareness Project (ISA).  This ambitious project aims to extablish new theories, data models and database management systems for indoor spatial data and subsequent application development.

---Among CIOS from 40 cities around the world at the World Cities CIO Forum, Seoul, South Korea, September 2009

4.  Motoo Kusakabe from the Open City Foundations emphasized the need for innovation in social inclusion iniatives, stretching the scope of public policy to marginalized community; Kusakabe emphasized the social fragmentation of people and their experiences on a neighbourhood to neighbourhood basis, noting that there is no systematic solution.  With Kusakabe’s leadership and a team of 50 programmers, the Open City Foundation has launched several pilot programs in Liverpool, Tokyo and Melbourne which aim to track the well-being and the degree of social exclusion of the population.

---INTA33 Congress on Urban Development, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

5.  'As planners, we must manage change.'

---Michel Sudarskis, Secretary General of INTA, discussing urban and rural innovation and regeneration at the 2009 International Seminar on ICT Utilisation for Regional Revitalisation , Taipei, Taiwan, 2009