City of Sound is about cities, design, architecture, music, media, politics and more. Written by Dan Hill since 2001.

Spot of admin, forgive me. I’m doing a presentation at Creative Social tomorrow night (Thursday 14th May 2008), here in Sydney. This particular edition of Creative Social is organised by my friend Tim Buesing, and forms part of a wider global network of workshop-style sessions and presentations aimed at creative directors. I’ll be doing something around these themes of urban informatics, or how information and communications technologies are re-shaping all things urban: form, everyday life, planning, wayfinding, architecture, public space and so on. Keynote is glaring at me from the dock, below, so I’d better get to it shortly.

I gave a precursor of the talk at a public lecture organised by University of Technology Sydney, a couple of months ago. I was invited by Adrian Lahoud, and it formed part of an excellent series of public lectures around architecture and urbanism. If you’re at a loose end in Sydney tomorrow evening and would prefer an alternative to my talk, you could do worse than go and see the next installment in the lecture series, delivered by none other than the Lord Mayor of City of Sydney, Clover Moore MP. She’ll no doubt be majoring on their recently launched Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy, much inspired by Jan Gehl’s recent report for the City of Sydney. I’ll post my own thoughts on all that soon enough.

For my lecture, I essentially ‘performed’ my Street as Platform piece, augmented with candid pics from a recent trip to Melbourne. I think it worked well, as a kind of freeze-framed narrative, in terms of conveying how much the street weighs these days, as Bucky might say, when you take into account the largely unseen digital communications. I called it The Not-So-Quiet City this time, as a nod to Aaron Copland’s lovely ‘Quiet City’ piece of 1941, and to play up the sensory design aspects. This was partly due to it being a roundtable on ‘Atmospheric Urbanism’, where I was presenting alongside the excellent Nadia Wagner, a researcher in ‘urban olfactics’. Her work is absolutely fascinating, and most Pallasmaa. The reason I think the two lectures worked well is that we got some absolute corkers in terms of questions afterwards, many of which have been percolating through my mind ever since. And I’m still not sure I have particularly concrete thoughts on them. "What is the creative challenge for architecture, in response to all this?" was one intriguing question in particular, a googly bowled by the ever-thoughtful Lahoud. (He’s organised a follow-up roundtable too.)

Next week, Duncan Wilson and I are attending the Pervasive 08 conference here in Sydney. Our position paper was accepted by the workshop on Pervasive Persuasive Technology and Environmental Sustainability
and so Duncan and I will be taking part in that, alongside a bunch of international researchers and practitioners in this area, such as the likes of Eric Paulos, Paul Dourish, Tom Igoe et al. I’m looking forward to the whole conference hugely and hope to post our paper shortly, including reflections on the workshop.

One of the workshop organisers is Marcus Foth of QUT (previously, here), and in June I hope to be attending a related conference at QUT, organised by their Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation (CCI). Called Creating Value: Between Commerce and Commons, the workshops on ‘Broadband innovations and the creative economy’ and ‘Creative Industry development agendas: design as value-add’ look great. Richard Allen of Cisco is a particularly good addition to the cast of speakers (see also Henry Jenkins.)

Finally, in July, I’m speaking at Design Capital, part of the State of Design festival in Melbourne, as part of the ‘Convergent World’ session on day 3. It’ll be great to hook up with friends like Allan Chochinov of Core77 and Michael Trudgeon of Crowd, and to meet a few new people too.  Also happy to say I’m a judge in the 2008 Premier’s Design Awards there too.

Do get in touch if you’re in town at the same time, or want more info on any of the events.  More news to follow, and then a return to your usual programming.


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