A new innovation lab in San Francisco will bring together tech teams from academia, private industry and agencies from federal, state and local governments to solve problems facing urban communities.
Announced Tuesday, the Superpublic collaborative workspace — located in the same federal building that currently houses the General Services Administration's 18F and the U.S. Digital Service team members based in San Francisco, as well as employees from the departments of Education and Transportation — aims to break down the barriers between different levels of government, private technology firms, nonprofits and universities.
Collaboration has a new home in San Francisco.
On May 9, the mayor’s office and partners announced the upcoming launch of a new co-working space designed for cross-agency and cross-sector collaboration on the city’s most complex challenges. Called Superpublic, the 5,000-square-foot space is housed, spiritually and physically, right next door to the federal government’s innovation arm, 18F.
Partnered with the U.S. General Services Administration, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and City Innovate Foundation, the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Civic Innovation intends to use the space as a platform for cross-disciplinary work where previous institutional and geographic barriers would have made the work difficult.
What future do we want? What future do we envision for our cities? For our residents who live, work, and go to school in the cities they call home? What type of "smart" city do we want to build, to co-create, together?
These were some of the questions tackled by urban thought leaders from across the globe who gathered to brainstorm and learn from each other – about how to leverage The City as the platform for civic innovation and collaboration. Hosted by The City Innovate Foundation, a collaboration of the San Francisco mayor’s office, U.C. Berkeley, and the MIT Media Lab, participants included a cross-section of mayors, policy leaders, nonprofits, companies, and investors who "bragged" about city innovations from Philadelphia, New York, Sacramento, Los Angeles,Tel Aviv, Copenhagen, the Phillipines, and Japan -- to name just a few.
Whether it’s about municipal reinvention, investment opportunity or collaboration, the inaugural City Innovate Summit aims to deliver a host of lessons in urban ingenuity when it debuts in San Francisco this week, June 17-18.
Organized by the City Innovate Foundation (CiS), an innovation group composed of the San Francisco mayor’s office, U.C. Berkeley and the MIT Media Lab, the summit will gather 120-plus thought leaders, including a selection of U.S. and international mayors, nonprofits and venture capitalists, to discuss and debate key concepts in civic tech.
Foundation Chairman Peter Hirshberg said the hope is for the event to have a catalyzing effect for municipal discourse and venture-backed civic innovation initiatives, a dialog that will be rejuvenated each year.
A coalition of artists are taking over a derelict old theater in the heart of the San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, turning it into a tech-artists’ incubator, and opening the city’s first startup exhibition space and shop.
A startup shop?
“Yes. What if you tried to pack every startup into a gallery store? If a startup tried to build Best Buy, what would it look like?” said Robert Stephens, the former Best Buy CTO who invented the “Geek Squad” and is now advising on the storefront project. “What if you invited startups to have some physical space where they can demonstrate their stuff?”
He went on: “We’ll have like August Smart Lock, Skylabs, Electric Objects, Square. The lighting, I’ll maybe go with GE Wink. Every outlet, every sensor, every surface, even the glass,” Stephen said. “I’m sure there are companies that do LCD display glass and a chandelier made of projectors so companies can project their work on the wall if they don’t have a physical product.”
This storefront will be part of the new Gray Area Art & Technology Theater, which is rehabilitating the 10,000-square-foot and 70-year-old Grand Theater on Mission Street, and is today launching a campaign to raise $400,000. The complex is set to open officially in a few months.
DUBAI // Dubai and San Francisco are working together to share ideas about policies and practices of “smart cities” to promote innovation and overcome challenges.
The two metropolises started the collaboration earlier this year, according to experts and officials at the Smart Living City conference in Dubai on Monday.
Plans to turn Dubai into a smart city – one characterised by investments in technology and human capital, plus a high quality of life – were announced last October by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai. Among the plans are a parking app and public Wifi.
Achieving the smart city goal would promote sustainable growth, better city management and other improvements, but requires the Government, businesses and the public to work together, said Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, Minister of Economy.
The maker movement is helping to redefine manufacturing in New York City and around the world, a panel of city officials and industry experts said last month at MakerCon. The advent of smaller production volumes, collective workspaces, and refined equipment is paving the way for a 21st century Industrial Revolution, they said.
"I think a maker city is like a jazz city. Jazz is about individual performance, but it demands selfless collaboration," said Peter Hirshberg, chairman of The Re:imagine Group, quoting the trumpeter and urbanist Wynton Marsalis. "We call this a maker movement because we have a lot to get done. It is the core building block that will lead to the reinvention of our cities."
The Burning Man festival held every year on the desolate salt flats of Nevada is usually associated with the culturally avant tech crowd of the Bay Area – an image that is accurate as far as it goes. But the event is really much richer in implication than that. Burning Man is a rare space in modern industrial culture that actually invites people to give expression to some of their deepest artistic impulses and cultural fantasies while requiring them to show significant self-responsibility, cooperation and social concern. It is an immersive enactment of a different spirit of living that actually carries over into "real life" after the event itself.
Burning Man is a one-week commons of 60,000-plus people that has occurred every year since 1986. The event is, as Peter Hirshberg puts it, “a pop-up city of self-governing individualists.” That’s the title of his chapter in a new book, From Bitcoin to Burning Man and Beyond: The Quest for Identity and Autonomy in a Digital Society, which I co-edited with John Henry Clippinger of ID3. (The chapter -- copied below -- is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonComercial-ShareAlike license 3.0 license. The book is available in print and ebook editions, and also at the ID3 website.)
Speakers Include: Dean Kamen, Niki Werkheiser, Herbert Deutsch, and Peter Hirshberg
World Maker Faire, the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth, today announced the program line-up scheduled for Saturday-Sunday, Sept. 20-21, at the New York Hall of Science in Queens, New York. Joining the program are innovators and leaders of the maker movement as well as experienced makers who will share their trials and successes with Faire attendees. Program highlights include:
Dean Kamen, entrepreneur, technologist, and founder of FIRST, will give his insights on the future and importance of the maker movement.
Niki Werkheiser, NASA's '3D Printing in Zero-G' Project Manager, will share the ways in which 3D printing affects space exploration and why it's so important to the future of sustainable human exploration of the universe.
Herbert Deutsch, musician, educator, and co-creator of the Moog synthesizer, will share stories about creating the Moog as well as give a performance.
Peter Hirshberg, entrepreneur and cutting-edge marketer, will enlighten attendees about how maker culture is changing cities big and small.
"We are so pleased to welcome all of the phenomenal makers, experts, and leaders to the World Maker Faire New York 2014 program and give the New York maker community access to such a knowledge bank," said Dale Dougherty, co-founder of Maker Faire and president of Maker Media. "Attendees have been requesting to hear from Dean Kamen for a long time and we are delighted he'll be on hand to share his knowledge and discuss the importance of the maker movement. We know Dean and all of the other presenters provide such inspiration to makers everywhere, and we're excited to bring these pioneers and guides together at World Maker Faire."