This website is a record of conversations between researchers at the University of Melbourne, coordinated by Melbourne School of Design, and Sony Computer Science Laboratories Inc., centered on the topic of '21st century urbanism'. The conversations are held on a sporadic basis; once new sessions are held this website will be updated accordingly. We intend to cover a wide range of topics, including transportation and mobility, climate change and biodiversity, renewable energy, agriculture and food systems, democracy and inclusion, economic inequality, artificial intelligence, social and cultural production etc.
A common thread underlying the discussions is that existing efforts to build so-called 'smart cities' have largely failed to deliver on their promises, by focusing on novel infrastructure and engineering at the expense of human qualities, natural systems, interdisciplinary cooperation, or simply the everyday complexity of existing cities. We have curated a series of discussions between speakers from our two organisations, and through these discussions, we aspire to imagine and help realise diverse possible futures for cities, where technology is treated not as an end in itself but instead supports and shapes broader ideas of culture, nature, community, politics, and economy within complex, interconnected urban systems.
These discussions are a part of an ongoing collaboration between our two organisations investigating the future of urbanism. A brief manifesto helping to frame the discussions and collaborations can be found from the link below. The manifesto is a working document, and will repeatedly be revisited and revised as we move forward with the collaboration.
All discussions will be in English, and video recordings will be made available through this website. Whilst these dialogues are a way of us working towards research collaborations, we are motivated to openly share them in public, offering up the work-in-progress discussions in the spirt of 'legible practice', and hoping that you might also find them engaging and usefully provocative in some way.