You may have seen that Nesta is planning it's forthcoming Innovation Edge conference which is shaping up to be a really interesting day. In preparing for the event I casually mentioned to the organisers that it might be interesting to have a session on the topic of social networks as the new cities. This casual comment has now morphed into a great line up of speakers including Michael Birch (Bebo), Richard Leese (Manchester City Council), Jon Gisby (Ch4), Inkie (Street Artist and SEGA) and Charlie Leadbeater (We-think Author).
The session is getting very popular so I'm getting a little nervous about how the themes we should and could debate and discuss. So I thought I'd ask readers of this blog if there were particular points of view of questions you might have for any of the panelists that we can feed in to the preparation for this session?
My take, for what it's worth, is that cities have traditionally been the financial, social and creative of the world. However technology now enables new centres of gravity to form online and we now carry our 'communities' on the devices in our pockets? I think this is profoundly impacting on the way we connect, interact and collaborate and will fundamentally change our cities and traditional social hubs. Obviously the death of cities is far from being realised with most cities growing rather than contracting, so we still crave the interaction and benefits that close proximity affords. And yet many people complain that we don't know our neighbours and our communities are increasingly isolated. With our expanding and increasingly global social networks, what do you think this will mean socially, politically and geographically in 5, 10 or even 20 years time?
These are all huge themes and I'm not expecting complete answers, but I'd really welcome any thoughts and ideas you might have that we could pose to the panel to discuss and debate at the event. BTW, the event will be webcast so if you can't make it you will still be able to see what happens.