Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent


Editor’s note: the following was originally posted on John’s blog.

Time for the annual pilgrimage to Austin for South By Southwest. I’ve been on panels before but, with zero disrespect to previous co-panelists, the one I have currently lined up is going to be really freaking good, maybe the best ever. Here’s detail.

Tuesday, March 16
11:00 AM
Room 9ABC
Austin Convention Center

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The panel is a great cross-section of perspective on networked urbanism. We got non-profit, academia, start-up, city government, and faceless mega-corporation (me).

Ben Berkowitz runs, a tool that allows communities to report non-emergency issues to those responsible for the public space. This app has changed the conversation around civic engagement and prompted a number of municipalities to rethink their 311 strategy. Also, NPR likes it.

Assaf Biderman is the Assistant Director of the SENSEable City Lab at MIT. The work from the lab itself is amazing (flying LED robots, trash-tracking, city bikes that are also environmental sensors!), but it also approaches art, having been featured at the Venice Bienalle, Centre Pompidou, and Ars Electronica. Also, he’s the suavest panel member.

Dustin Haisler is the CIO and Administrative Judge for the City of Manor, Texas. Words can’t do justice to the amazingness that is Dustin. But a link might. He’s just completely rewritten the rules of city governance and engagement. Also, he’s younger than you.

Jen Masengarb is an Education Specialist at the Chicago Architecture Foundation where she educates the public about cities and the built environment. Jen gets what it takes to translate the urban world for its citizens and is a template for how we might do so in our second cities of data. Also, she’s the femalest member of the panel.

And then, me, of course. I’m just stewarding the awesome above.

We’re going to tackle three question areas, broadly.

  1. What is the physically-built urban environment’s relationship to the digital environment that is being built atop it? Put another way, is there a mandate for information architects to be thinking as critically about cities as they do about websites?
  2. What is the design imperative: how do we train the makers of today to think about the city as a platform?
  3. What is the role of citizens in this design? This is different than focus groups and user studies. Citizens shape the machine that is the city in completely indirect and informal ways.

If you’ll be in Austin for South by Southwest — and you’re hanging around until the last day of Interactive — I’ll bet you a taco and a beer you’ll learn something from this panel.

Recap post and podcast to follow.

[Editor's note v.2: For those who will be at SXSW, we are hosting an informal networking gathering Sunday evening to talk about the future of Cities. If interested, email Adam Christensen at acch (@)]

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May 15, 2015
8:26 pm

Yes! Finally someone writes about kk.
homepage (Bea)

Posted by: Bea
March 14, 2014
9:48 pm

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It is the little changes that make the most significant changes.

Thanks for sharing!

Posted by:
November 10, 2011
7:10 pm

Nice post!

Posted by: hospital hershey pa
March 19, 2010
10:35 pm


Wanted to take a second to thank you for an incredible segment, which may have been the highlight of SXSW for me. I’m reading through your project and would love to stay engaged. Incredible stuff, and with you the best of luck.

Posted by: Erine Gray
4 Trackbacks
March 22, 2010
5:05 pm

[...] For more information, check out this preview of the panel by A Smarter Planet. [...]

Posted by: What I learned at SXSWi « Capital Area Food Bank of Texas Blog
March 17, 2010
7:12 pm

[...] mechanics even pervaded talks on other subjects. On the otherwise tepid “City As A Platform” panel, Dustin Haisler rocked my world with his presentation of Manor Labs, which attempts to bring [...]

Posted by: adaptive path » blog » Peter Merholz » Game mechanics EVERYWHERE!
March 16, 2010
1:54 pm

[...] a session that took place this morning titled, “City as Platform,” and outlined on this Blog post from the Smarter Planet blog. The objectives of the session was to discuss the role of information [...]

Posted by: SXSW Tackles "City as Platform" | Spatial Sustain
March 12, 2010
5:59 pm

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This post was mentioned on Twitter by smarterplanet: Hey SXSWers! A Panel Preview: The City as a Platform & join us for Smarter Cities networking (see bottom of post) #SXSW…

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