What an epic 7 days at Melbourne Knowledge Week.
Commune + Co set out to understand the ways in which big data in open data networks can do to build a framework around urban issues we face in the built environment. There were a number of trailblazing and noteworthy guest speakers leading panels from multidisciplinary industries, many of which brought some astute points to the table.
My question is: Is the data we are mapping now able to identify gaps in which we can utilise to provoke better ways of designing and building the urban environment? The resounding answer appears to be yes, but i question the privacy issues surrounding data i.e who owns it? and personally, are we not mapping data around existing use attuned to our current built environment? Is there a missing component to mapping data for potential unrealised urban programming?
One of the common themes around the week's discussions centred largely on technology, its use and how to promote a lack thereof in order to decrease social isolation. How do we discard screen practice and reconnect more? We believe that it requires an interfacing of both technology and grass roots practice in order to derive the answers.
We have constantly witnessed the power of ideas harnessed from thinktanks and group thought, which screens will and can never replace. Emotional wellbeing comes largely in part from group participation and feeling like we are part of a larger picture striving to find better solutions for specific solutions.
My main takeaway from the week is that no participant can replace the lived experience participant. Basically, it's easy to plan from a distance and not be directly involved if you don't actually live there. We need to take charge of our own communities and champion our own vision of place, and let data mapping inform the imagination of our future cities.