Better connected cities

Wednesday 9 December; 9:00-10:30

We love a good city. But what does that mean? What makes cities livable? Since we’re at ThingsCon: What roles do technology and data play? What are the interrelations between data, governance, policy, and quality of life? How can we make sure that as cities get more connected, citizen (not vendors) are front and center?

The Better Connected Cities session will be an informal, open and safe space to explore these questions together. Capped at around 30 participants, this session will last a total of 90 minutes and consist of two parts: Two brief opening conversations between up to 3 experts will set the stage and tone, followed by an active group discussion.

As topical “flag poles”, we think of these areas as particularly worth exploring in our conversation:

  • Equity & Fairness
  • Policy & Governance
  • Data & Power Dynamics
  • Resilience & Participation
  • Diversity & Inclusion

This session will be hosted by Simon Höher (ThingsCon, Hybrid City Lab) and Peter Bihr (ThingsCon, The Waving Cat, Berlin institute for smart cities and civil rights).

We will have introducing presentations by Usman Haque and Maaike Harbers.

Maaike Harbers

Maaike Harbers is a professor of applied sciences in Artificial Intelligence & Society at Research Center Creating 010 at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences. Her work focuses on the ethical and societal implications of artificial intelligence, and she researches how designers of AI-applications can account for the implications of their concepts on human values, like privacy, freedom and equity. Maaike Harbers holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence, and a MA in Philosophy.

Usman Haque

Usman Haque is founding partner and creative director of Umbrellium, designing and building urban technologies that support citizen empowerment and high-impact engagement in cities; and a search engine for the Internet of Things. Earlier, he launched the Internet of Things data infrastructure and community platform, which was acquired by LogMeIn in 2011. Trained as an architect, he has created responsive environments, interactive installations, digital interface devices and dozens of mass-participation initiatives throughout the world. His skills include the design and engineering of both physical spaces and the software and systems that bring them to life. He has also taught at the Bartlett School of Architecture, including the Interactive Architecture Workshop (until 2005) and RC12 Urban Design cluster, “Participatory systems for networked urban environments”. He received the 2008 Design of the Year Award (interactive) from the Design Museum, UK, a 2009 World Technology Award (art), the Japan Media Arts Festival Excellence prize and the Asia Digital Art Award Grand Prize. • •

Simon Höher

Lead Public Design zero360 Simon heads the Hybrid City Lab, the public design unit of Berlin-based innovation firm zero360. Since 2014 he co-chairs ThingsCon. In his work, he explores systemic concepts of technology, culture, and society in a global context. As a serial entrepreneur and strategy consultant, he works with organizations to co-create their future, fosters connections between people, ideas, and products. 

Peter Bihr

Peter Bihr co-founded and chairs the board of ThingsCon. Peter is the founder and Managing Director of The Waving Cat, a boutique research, strategy & foresight company. He explores how emerging technologies can have a positive social impact. Peter is a Mozilla Fellow (2018-19) and Edgeryders Fellow (2019), and Postscapes named him a Top 20 Influencer in IoT (2019).