New York, USA May 2011
Eikosphere was invited to participate in IBM’s first thought leader forum on sustainable cities, as part of its Smart Planet Initiative. Among many of the world’s most gifted designers, architects, and urban planners; Catherine could offer her perspectives on the future viability of world cities from her natural science filter. The event was sponsored by IBM, Cisco, Rockefeller Foundation, ESRI, and others. There Arbend Carbonell (Lincoln Institute) gave us 5 ways to view city systems, sparking a dialogue about the metabolism of cities. Chris Ward (port authority NY/NJ) shared the reality of managing large, complex city projects, budgets, and people. Mike Burns’ insights into centralized heating/colling systems and smart grids got at the heart of incentive systems for energy companies. Justin Cook pulled us into the world of system’s thinkers like Peter Senge and Donella Meadows to open a discussion about optimal leverage points in a broken system needing transformation. Matt Dalby offered insight into smart growth in rural communities from his office window at the EPA. Colin Harrison questioned at what point do our system’s designs become too complex and undigestible by the client. Tom Stoner argued for user-generated graphic model/decision-support tools. Sarah Williams gave us some compelling examples of her work in statistical visualization from transportation projects in Kenya and air pollution marketing campaigns in China. Richard Saul Wurman reminded us that 50% of the world population live in cities now and will soon reach 80%; so local leaders (addressing the mayors in the room) should dedicate 10-20% of their budgets to “outside the box” initiatives. Stweart Brand, Geoff West, and Paul Rohmer ended the session strong with a discussion on strategic competition among developing world cities, informal communities, a world without cash…that could have gone on until late night.
See the Cities, Smart Planet, 2011