On November 13th – 14th Connected Places Catapult, part of the Future Cities Catapult, gathered city, industry, academic and thought leaders to share insights and ideas at their inaugural ‘Cityx: The Future of Connected Places’ business expo. Held at their offices in Clerkenwell, London, the event explored how businesses may harness emerging technologies and unlock radical new solutions, while encouraging the relationships and collaboration needed to “drive-forward connected places for everyone”.
Featuring an exhibition, pitch sessions, workshops, awards, several talks, and a networking and drinks reception, the event focused on the future of housing [day one] and mobility [day two]. Joining the keynote line-up, I was delighted to close day one by delivering ‘Human Dot to Non-Human Dot: Connecting Human Places to Abiotic and Biotic Systemic Spaces’, in which I presented aspects of my several-year study into building resilience to wildfire at the wildland urban interface, including a cross comparison of the Great Fire of London with contemporaneous wildfires in the high-severity fire regimes of the western United States, together with a discussion of how leading-edge satellite, ariel, and terrestrial communications, both electronic and biological, together with new material systems present radical new architectural and urban opportunities both near and far. Facets of the talk will be further discussed in forthcoming publications for Connected Places Catapult.
Amongst the many pioneering start-ups and SME’s that exhibited at the expo were the outstanding Biohm [pictured below], which presented a suite of their bio-based materials for insultation, interior architectures, and furnishing, including several mycelium and plant-based biocompounds produced from food waste, all of which are synthetic additive and chemical free, thus 100% natural, biodegradable, and vegan. Biohm are currently working on a swathe of stand-out research projects, including plant-based concrete in development as a low-energy alternative to traditional concrete; biologically self-assembling materials for the macro construction market; and Triagomy, which, an interlocking construction system that does not require permanent binders or fasteners, could potentially enable high-quality buildings that can be deconstructed and reconstructed at any stage of their material life.
Read more about Cityx here.
Connected Places Catapult: its mission is to “help British businesses address the grand challenges of today in order to created connected places fit for the future”, while acknowledging, “the complexity of the systems which must be navigated to introduce new products and services in this space, coupled with strict regulatory environments… conservative commissioning cultures and constrained public budgets”.
Melissa Sterry [right] with Biohm's Business Innovation Manager, Oksana Bondar at Cityx: The Future of Connected Places.
Perhaps best described as speleology through a kaleidoscope, earlier this month I visited Dylan Gebbia-Richards outstanding Kinesthesia exhibition at Unit London. Comprised canvas and wax works formed from a unique chemical reaction, the exhibition pieces, which Gebbia-Richards describes as, microcosms "of the natural world", appeared like scenes from a synthetic cave system. Organic yet artificial, inspired by Jungian philosophy, each piece evolved to "become something greater beyond" its "physical and visible parts". The exhibition's name come from the instinctive, "uncorrupted" creative process by which Gebbia-Richards created the works, "kinaesthetic sense".
See above a selection of images from Kinesthesia, including the works 'Omni' , 'Phoenix' , and 'Home in the Fire' . Read more about Gebbia-Richards here.
Celebrating exceptional talent and visionary ideas from they established and emerging in architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture and design, product design, furniture design, lightening design, transport design, fashion design, and graphic design, the International Design Awards 13th edition are open for entries. Inaugurated in 2007, the jury include Professor Severin Filek, Managing Director of Australia’s national representative body for professional designers DesignAustralia; Lynn Wang, Head of Overseas Affairs Dept, Asia Pacific Design Centre; Kahi Lee, host ‘Design on a Dime’, amongst other shows; Professor Murat Soygenis FAIA, Founding Partner at S+ Architecture; Hans Fonk, Editor-in-Chief, OBJEKT International, and I, amongst others.
View past winners and entry details at https://idesignawards.com
Save the Date :: November 13th-14th 2019 :: Cityx: The Future of Connected Places Business Expo 2019
A two-day expo organised by Connected Places Catapult taking place at the Urban Innovation Centre in London from 13 – 14 November 2019, Cityx will bring together leading thinkers, city leaders, academics and businesses to explore today’s foremost city and mobility challenges. Focused on how embedded intelligent connections integrated laterally across social infrastructure can make places work holistically for the wellbeing of people and planet, day-1 will focus on housing, and day-2 on mobility.
I’m delighted to be joining Cityx to deliver the Closing Keynote on the Future of Housing on day-1, of which further speakers include Nicola Yates OBE, CEO Connected Places Catapult; Sophie White, General Manager Infrastructure & Complex Projects at Homes England; and Alan Somerville, Executive Director / Head of Building Performance Group at BRE. Further activities taking place at the event include exhibitor pitch sessions, workshops, and networking.
To find out more visit https://cityxpo.org.uk
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of joining fellow researcher Fakhar Raza in conversation for the University of Greenwich's Scholars in the Spotlight series. Recorded in London in the spring, and discussing several aspects of my research, including the imperative to accommodate of diverse perspectives and cultures when planning and designing future cities, the podcast is now online at sites including Spotify. Click here to listen.
2019 marks several significant built environment sector centenaries. In 1919 the world's most famous "school of building", the Bauhaus, opened its doors, as did the University College of Estate Management, and the Canadian Institute of Planners. Providing thought-leadership and representation to over 7,000 members practicing in one of the fastest-changing environments worldwide, the latter is marking their centenary with a year-long schedule of activities both on and offline, and encompassing many of the most critical issues, both environmental and social, of our time, of which the highlight is its annual conference. Themed 'Generation', and featuring 100+ speakers, 60 sessions, 8 workshops, and 14 learning tours, the conference will take place in the first week of July at the Westin Hotel in Ottawa, which is located on the unceded territory of the Algonquin Anishinaabe Nation, and the home of the inaugural meeting of CIP's antecedent organisation [the Town Planning Institute of Canada]. I'm delighted to be joining Anishinaabe, Adjunct Professor, Academic Advisor, and Executive Director of the Yellowhead Institute, Hayden King, as a keynote at the conference. An event that will bring together a truly diverse community of researchers and practitioners from across all facets of planning and its affiliated fields, Generation looks set to be one of the most dynamic and thought-provoking events in the 2019 built environment calendar. With places limited to just 800, those interested are recommended to register early to avoid disappointment.
Read more here.
As Dazed magazine dive into the potentialities of our future world, Prof. Rachel Armstrong and I share our thoughts on bioenergy, solar, and more in its latest issue, out now in print and online at this link.
On Thursday May 16th I'll join Executive Director of CBRE, Amanda Clack, Founder of Alpha Property Insight Dan Hughes, and CEO of Cast, Mark Farmer, as we share our thoughts on the built environment of the future at the University College of Estate Management's VIP centenary celebrations at The Crystal, London. Presenting 'Places Beyond: Future cities past, present, and possible', I'll be discussing perceptions of 'the future city' in the UCEM's inaugural year , together with some of the factors that influence perceptions of 'the future city' today, and what both my research and that of peers suggests may be the future 'cities' of tomorrow. They that, but for the distance, would like join us can tune in to our presentations and panel discussion via livestream at UCEM's Youtube Channel at 16:30 GMT.
Established in 2010, Istanbul-based Konsept Projeler magazine brings together insights near and insights far on developments in architecture, design, and the built environment more generally. Produced in both Turkish and English, digital and print, thanks to considered editorial and partnerships with leading architecture festivals and events, it's become firmly established as a formidable force in the architectural print-publishing sector.
I'm delighted to join contributors including Kengo Kuma, Ken Yeang, and Carlo Ratti in sharing thoughts on emerging trends at the intersection of architecture and nature, including a critique of the concept of 'vertical cities'; why and how leading multinational PLCs across multiple market sectors are embracing biodesign and its sister disciplines; and a few words on projects current and pending. Find the article in issue K61, available now online and in-store.
Find more details here.
In March, I had the pleasure of joining the board and scientific committee of the European Centre for Ecotoxicology and Toxicology of Chemicals to deliver the keynote at their annual dinner. Its members tasked with tackling some of humanity's most complex, therein difficult challenges, such for example as how the ilk of environmental pollution of myriad variants can be prevented, ECETOC bring together world-leading experts around leading-edge science, technologies, and thinking both in, and beyond, chemistry.
Titled, 'Through the Looking Glass: Journey's through Time and Space', my keynote examined why and how we perceive of future urban and societal possibilities as we do, using case studies past, present, and possible future in the process, before examining how new approaches, both ideological and technical, may enable us to align the materiality, design, construction, and maintenance of cities with they of the natural world - with the cycles of Earth Systems. Evidencing their understanding of how, technically speaking, chemistry, not money, makes the wider workings of the world 'go round' [how, from the molecular level upwards, material flows], ECETOC's board and committee members shared many compelling questions, reflections, and ideas on the subject.
But, keen to carry on the conversation, we've taken our discussion online, in the form of #ScienceChats which will be shared via ECETOC's social media. An initiative that will see various members and affiliates of the ECETOC community contribute their thoughts, you can join the chats via @ECETOC on Twitter, amongst other platforms.
"What role does chemistry have to play in building a better future?"
"What is the value in looking to nature when seeking to solve human problems?"
"How can we communicate about science today?"
Find out more about ECETOC and their work here.
Melissa Sterry, PhD, design scientist, systems theorist, futurologist, founder Bionic City®.
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
© Melissa Sterry 2019 All Rights Reserved