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.
Melissa Sterry, PhD, design scientist, systems theorist, biofuturist, and serial founder inc. Bionic City®.
Asking the question "how would nature design a city" since 2010.
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