The UrbanLabs Club?

UL2

It’s been a crazy, inspiring, tiring month or so with the Citilab presentation at the CCCB, my visit to Birmingham and then UrbanLabs – and a lot of time reflecting, analysing and plotting.

Something’s been bugging me for months now & I’m beginning to understand what it is – ever since my first visit to Birmingham I’ve been trying to put my finger on the “difference”, on what is happening there, what is (or isn’t) happening here, on the role of Citilab and on the part of Cataspanglish in all this.

It all seems to have gelled in the last 48 hours – the “difference” or “solution” is twofold, sharing & community.

The Birmingham scene is the way it is now after around two years of people getting together, doing things and having as much a relationship offline as on. Dave Harte showed in his UrbanLabs presentation how this had happened and backed up my own experience when speaking with peeps from Brum. Twitter seems to be the fabric that holds their community together and the other important point is the willingness in Birmingham of the people to come together and use their skills & knowledge to to participate in, criticise and construct a wider community (not just the geeks) throughout the city and now further afield.

Oh yes, and with a sense of humour.

Citilab Presentation October 2009 - Digital Cities-1

So everything seems so deadly serious here (usually – thank you Platoniq for the construction of the Twittometer for the Grande Finale of UrbanLabs!) and often the concept of sharing seems like something from another planet. There can’t be community when people won’t share and there are clearly many in Spain (& elsewhere of course) who are using social media as just the latest tool on the block. While I was in Birmingham I spoke about social media in Spain to a group of students and lecturers from the Birmingham City University, talking about the difference between the way social media is usually used in Spain and a few inspiring projects such as Copons 2.0 (created by Ricard Espelt). A Spanish student said that he doubted anything would change as in his opinion his fellow countrymen & women are too entrenched in the status quo.

Ironically while I’ve been writing this, Ana has already posted a call to arms – and that’s what I want this to be. If we are to form communities amongst those of us who are doing or want to do, we cannot have just have these great, inspiring events once a year. So what I want to suggest is taking the spirit and PRACTICE of UrbanLabs and turn it into something more frequent. Let’s have some sort of follow up on a regular basis, a Saturday morning every couple of months and with participation through video-conference for those who can’t be there in public. Let’s get the UrbanLabs Club going and continue the narrative, the dialogue and the sharing. Let’s make the bloody community!

If you are interested in making an UrbanLabs “Club” please leave a comment.

Pasemos a la acción!

UL1

foto de UrbanLabs'09 pool

 

 

Acabo de volver de UrbanLabs #ul09 donde he aprendido mucho, he escuchado cosas interesantes y algunas no tan interesantes, donde he conocido a gente que tiene unos proyectos muy interesantes y otros no tan interesantes, pero lo más importante es que hemos compartido ideas, conocimiento y risas entre los que estábamos ahí.

 

Mi cerebro no ha parado desde entonces, cuando asisto a jornadas así me cargo de energía “analógica” para transformarla en “digital” y enviarla al depósito del social media para intentar hacer “algo”, por qué de eso se trata ¿no? Está muy bien que nos reunamos y trabajemos juntos durante unos días, pero después qué ¿A dónde va todo ese conocimiento? ¿Emprendemos alguna acción?

 

Quizás es un poco pretencioso pero los que creemos en el social media somos revolucionarios, gente que queremos que las cosas cambien.

5 reasons why we'll be at UrbanLabs!

urbanlabs Around a year ago I went to Citilab-Cornellà for the first time to participate in UrbanLabs 08 – you can see my first impressions here. A year later I'm working at Citilab and taking part in the preparations for the event, which we will also be going to as cataspanglish. So here are some of the reasons cataspanglish will be attending:

  1. UrbanLabs is a hands-on get down & dirty event which aims to have a real impact and not just be a talking shop although there are some…
  2. Great keynote speakers – Adam Greenfield, Juan Freire, Ben Ceverny & Dave Harte. These are not your boring "circuit" speakers, but people with a real passion for what they're doing & thinking, people who get involved in things such as…
  3. The Ideas Bank which Platoniq are coordinating – real ideas & projects will be presented and the participants of UrbanLabs will be voting on the "best" one to give some financial aid to from the (low) fee from the event because …
  4. the motto for Urbanlabs  (a contribution of one of its founders, Enric Senabre)  is (read this post by Ramon Sangüesa): "Technocitizenship" (geeks with civic conscience and citizens with digital abilities) and "Socioinnovation"  (let technocitizens invent their collective future) – so come &
  5. let's invent our collective future!

See you there…

Ciudad Abierta/Ciutat Oberta/Open City

Nuestra contribución en el Banco de ideas de UrbanLabs 09 / La nostra contribució al Banc d'idees d'UrbanLabs 09 /our contribution to the Ideas Bank at UrbanLabs 09

 

 

 

[es]

 

Los datos de las ciudades, pueblos, países son nuestros datos: sobre nosotros, pagados por nosotros, y en teoría para nosotros. Las instituciones, la administración pública y las empresas privadas controlan los datos, a menudo (casi siempre) nos denegan el acceso, impidiendo a los ciudadanos utilizar la información acumulada para nuestras necesidades o para construir aplicaciones que puedan beneficiar tanto a la ciudadanía como a la ciudad.

Queremos explorar cuales son los datos más importantes que necesitamos, qué podemos hacer con ellos y cómo conseguir la información de quienes lo controlan o "hacking" los datos nosotros mismos. Muchas ciudades alrededor del mundo están liberando sus datos, reconociendo las ventajas y examinando las implicaciones de soltar información, mientras otros son más cerrados que nunca.

Ciudad Abierta/Ciutat Oberta/Open City quiere descubrir una metodología para liberar nuestros datos y construir aplicaciones colaborativas para el beneficio de los ciudadanos.

 

[ca]

Les dades de les ciutats, pobles, països són les nostres dades: sobre nosaltres, pagades per nosaltres, i en teoria per a nosaltres. Les institucions, l'administració pública i les empreses privades controlen les dades, sovint (gairebé sempre) ens denegan l'accés, impedint als ciutadans utilitzar la informació acumulada per a les nostres necessitats o per construir aplicacions que puguin beneficiar tant a la ciutadania com a la ciutat.

Volem explorar quines són les dades més importants que necessitem, què podem fer amb elles i com aconseguir la informació de qui la controla o "hacking" les dades nosaltres mateixos. Moltes ciutats al voltant del món estan alliberant les seves dades, reconeixent els avantatges i examinant les implicacions de deixar anar informació, mentre uns altres són més tancats que mai.

Ciudad Abierta/Ciutat Oberta/Open City vol descobrir una metodologia per alliberar les nostres dades i construir aplicacions col·laboratives per al benefici dels ciutadans.

 

[en]

The data of cities, towns, villages & countries is our data: about us, paid for by us, theoretically for us. However institutions, public bodies and private companies control that data, often denying us access and preventing citizens from using the accumulated information for our own needs or to build applications that can benefit both the public and the city.

 

We want to examine what are the most important data sets we need, what we can to do with them and how to get the information from those who control it or by "hacking" it ourselves. Many cities around the world are freeing up their data, recognising the advantages and exploring the issues involved, while others are more closed than ever.

 

Ciudad Abierta/Ciutat Oberta/Open City wants to discover a methodology for freeing our data and building collaborative applications for the benefit of citizens.

 

 

Developing Birmingham's Digital District – big pipes, money, creativity, innovation and chest wigs

digitalbirmingham

Last week I was in Birmingham to talk about Citilab-Cornellà at Developing Birmingham’s Digital District. The aim of the event was:

… to  provide an early opportunity for policy makers and stakeholders from Birmingham and the West Midlands to quiz other major European cities that are further along the journey in developing their own digital district. This dialogue will inform Birmingham’s policy thinking and ideas as the city embarks upon developing its own digital district.

Here’s my “presentation” which doesn’t make much sense on it’s own but thanks to Rhubarb Radio, you can listen along by clicking on the button below:

Listen to Developing Birmingham's Digital District Seminar on Rhubarb Radio

Click here to listen to all the presentations

Paul Hadley filmed the panel session –

Birmingham’s Digital District Part 2- the Panel Session from Paul Hadley on Vimeo.

There was some pretty lively twitter stuff going on too: #bhamdd

PodCamp Gives Back

seed

(image taken from the presentation "Citilab Model?" by Ramon Sangúesa at I+C+i at CCCB, Barcelona)

So it's pretty late and I'm thinking and watching the world go by on twitter and for some reason PodCamp Barcelona comes to mind. And I've got this idea that all of these incredibly talented, smart, creative, knowledgeable people coming together and sharing is great and that we are creating knowledge and social value with our peers, but it occurs to me that we should take it further. We still have to take an "official" decision about PodCamp Barcelona 2010, but as Cataspanglish we know we want to hold it in El Masnou. So what I'm thinking is that we should give back to the citizens of Masnou who have supported the PodCamp for two years. If all the people who participate in PodCamp are willing I would like to do some concrete things leading up the event itself, Birmingham style Social Media Surgeries, Podcasting workshops, mashup sessions, whatever. Let's share the knowledge and skills we have with the people who are giving us the opportunity to get together – what do you think? Are you in for giving back?