Accelerated innovation and adoption of ubiquitous computing, mobile devices, and rich sources of data are changing how we live, work, and play in urban environments. Increasingly, a digital landscape overlays our physical world and is expanding to offer ever-richer experiences that augment—and in some cases, replace—the physical experience: “The city is the platform, the network, the sensors, and the interface,” as frog creative director Rob McIntosh put it in a recent talk.
Many metropolitan regions and infrastructure players have joined forces and announced ambitious projects, and the (pop-)cultural debate is zooming in on it: See Cisco’s strategic initiative with the city of Barcelona, this film by Ericsson on “Thinking Cities”, or Gary Hustwit’s new documentary “Urbanized.” TED awarded its 2012 TED Prize to “The City” (for the first time it didn’t go to a person), and The Atlantic devotes an entire section to it.
I attended the New Cities Summit in Paris a couple of weeks ago, the inaugural annual conference of the New Cities Foundation. The New Cities Foundation (NCF) is a new global platform for innovation and exchange on the future of urbanization. NCF’s membership base includes GE, Cisco, Ericsson, Orange, GDF Suez, Citynove – Groupe Galeries Lafayette, the Ford Foundation, Metropolis, NYU, the SENSEable City Lab at MIT, CITRIS, HEC Paris, the Urban China Initiative, the Climate Group, and USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab, and, my company, frog. The Summit in Paris brought together thought leaders in technology, infrastructure, architecture, energy, transport, national and local government, the media, academia, and the non-profit sector from all regions of the world.
As part of frog’s partnership with the NCF, we published a special online issue of our design mind magazine, devoted to “The Future of the City." Online magazine The Urban Times is republishing the issue as a series of articles this week.