Sensing City – New York meetings

In New York I’ve had four shorter meetings, and here’s the highlights:

The first was Arup, where I discussed the concept with Ashok Raiji. We had a great discussion about the concept, what worked with Songdo in Korea and some of the challenges that project faced. Ashok made some introductions into a range of large organisations that he thought would be very interested in the concept, and discussing the potential to be part of a living lab.

The next stop was BIG – the Bjarke Ingels Group.  Bjarke is great, and to get an idea of his thinking check out his very entertaining TED Talk. I met with with Iben Falconer, the Business Development Manager for the group. I was interested in bouncing the Sensing City off an architecture firm, and seeing where the conversation went.  One of the interesting threads developed around feedback loops in buildings, and how sensors in structures could be useful in showing just how sustainable a building is.

Next I met  Naureen Kabir at the New Cities Foundation. They’ve been hugely supportive of the Sensing City concept, and have made many useful introductions.  I updated Naureen on how meetings on the trip had gone and the reaction of various organisations.  One of the more interesting discussion points was the role of lamp posts in a sensor city, and the Vancouver V Pole was mentioned:

…slim utility poles connected to underground, optical wiring that would provide neighbourhoods with a menu of services. Beyond WiFi, mobile wireless and electric vehicle charging, they would offer LED street lighting, process parking transactions and act as an electronic neighbourhood bulletin board.

Last but not least I had a great chat to David van der Leer, the Curator of the BMW Guggenheim Lab and Mary Ellen Carroll, an artist in New York. I was particularly interested in their thoughts on how artists might use the data from a Sensing City. They were excited by the idea, and thought it was totally unique. This was encouraging as I think that while at one end of the spectrum the data can be used for ‘conventional’ purposes, at the other end it would be great to invite artists and musicians to create extraordinary things based on real time city data.  David was also very interested to hear about Gap Filler, the Ministry of Awesome and the Student Volunteer Army, and wanted to know where Christchurch was telling that story.

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