Conversations

The Synergistic Conversations are an open program of learning, thinking and innovation – creative ‘connect-think-do’ sessions. 

Each Conversation follows a leading question within a wider theme:  cities, economies, ecologies, technologies, politics and insights.   Each one has 3 main aims:   

  • Explore the application of ‘collective intelligence’ in this question, and the potential to move from crisis to transformation;
  • Map the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and possible ways to turn crisis into opportunity;
  • Outline practical steps towards an international research / policy program and network.

With the help of forward thinkers from around the world, the first phase (hosted in Johannesburg, Manchester, Chennai), has set the scene for some of the most pressing questions – pandemics, climate change, cities and foresight. We are now exploring each in turn, with insights on collective intelligence, and mapping out practical pathways ‘from smart to wise’.

And for all themes – climate change, fractured cities, invasive technology, etc – there are powerful insights from the new book Deeper-City-Collective-Intelligence-and-the-Pathways-from-Smart-to-Wise.   This maps the workings of such deeper challenges, and the pathways from crisis to transformation. Deeper City explores in practical detail the collective intelligence of cities, economies, technologies and so on, with the catalyst of creative systems mapping and visual thinking…

In the ‘Green New Deal 3.0’  for example, technology change is all mixed up with economic, social, political and cultural change. The opportunities and pathways are equally inter-connected – it seems that success depends on some kind of ‘collective green intelligence’ in putting these together… Some first rough takes are already in the Deeper City – so here we road-test, build a community, and take them forwards.

Each event is structured as a Mind-lab, with an international panel, working by dialogue and online visualization. We use the Synergistic Toolkit as a guide: the graphic here shows the basic visual templates, now with online format for remote working. These are the six key themes:

  1. CITIES theme: institutional design for land & livelihood with ‘collective urban intelligence’; for both urban & peri-urban;
  2. ECONOMIES theme: local-onomic recovery & transition; and the state to come, of ‘collective political-economy intelligence’; 
  3. ECOLOGIES theme: low carb circul-onomics with ‘collective climatic intelligence’; food / farming where hi-tech meets local-tech
  4. TECHNOLOGIES theme: thinking cities & CHAI ‘collective human-artificial intelligence’, with a Science-3.0 for the ‘unknown unknowns’;
  5. POLITICALS theme: unlocking the human resource with ‘collective local intelligence’; and new forms of ‘well-health’ with ‘collective service intelligence’;
  6. INSIGHTS theme: riding the turbulence with ‘collective anticipatory intelligence’; with the co-evolution of ‘collective intelligence-3.0’.

 

Each theme and topic here is affected in some way by the Covid pandemic, and so there’s an urgent and cross-cutting agenda – ‘turning crisis to opportunity’ – looking for possible transformations out of the chaos & division of 2020.  

Overall these Synergistic Conversations aim to explore the pathways towards transformation – across the board from cities to climate change, and from food to finance. They aim to design ‘next generation’ human systems around the principles of collective intelligence – an age-old theme, but now with new insights and tools.

…looking forward to forward thinking…

Conversations summary

  • Oct.20th: Lo-co-gov-3.0:  Many voted to ‘take back control’ – but what and where is this control? We need new models for local collaborative governance, unlocking human resources with ‘collective local intelligence’: (in combination with the Looper project).  
  • Oct 23rd: Deeper-city-3.0 (bio-regional): exploring the potential of social innovation & policy networks based on a ‘collective eco-urban intelligence’ (hosted by Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexicali). 
  • Oct.30th: Green-deal-3.0 (circul-onomics): new livelihoods with a ‘collective climatarian intelligence’ – how to get the science/tech, economics, politics, culture, psychology and urban systems all working together?
  • Nov.4th: Deeper-city-3.0 (civic-design): for the rethinking of post-covid cities, we need to talk about designing with power structures and synergy structures, on the principles of ‘collective socio-urban intelligence’; (hosted by the World Planning Day in S Africa);
  • Nov.12th: Foresight 3.0: (game-changers):  exploring the potential of ‘collective anticipatory intelligence’ for grand challenges (hosted by Higher School of Economics, Moscow)
  • Nov.20-21st (tbc): Food 3.0:  less land + more people??  exploring collective food intelligence for global-local agri-food systems, combining hi-tech with ancient wisdom (hosted by Alara Wholefoods London). 
  • Dec.4th:  Smart-wise-3.0 (mobility):  If the price of smart city AI is total surveillance & social control, let’s talk about ‘Collective Human-Artificial Intelligence’ (with the Shanghai Pudong Smart City Research Institute).
  • Dec.11th: Peri-cene-3.0: around 1 million arrive each month in the peri-urban zone, in the path of fire, flood, drought, tide & storm… what do we know and what can be done?? (double session for east & west, in combination with the Peri-cene project).
  • Jan. 2021 (tbc): Prosperity-3.0: (local-onomics): for peripheral or declining cities and regions, how to mobilize a just transition with deeper human resources?  (in combination with the EU ‘Industrial transitions’ program).

·         (Note – “3.0”  is shorthand here for ‘Mode-III collective intelligence’:  times are shown for UK, check for local equivalents)

Phase I Conversations

(resources are available on the links below, feedback is welcome, and various follow-ups are in progress).

  • Sept 18th: Anti-city 3.0: ‘Cities but not as we know them’: building collective peri-urban intelligence in a fragmented world (hosted by the Auroville Institute for Sustainable Architecture, India).
  • Sept 11th: Deeper Covi-City 3.0: the pandemic has brought conflicts to the surface, but also potential for transformation – here we explore the ‘collective urban intelligence’ in turning crisis into opportunity. 
  • Sept 4th: Foresight 3.0:  amidst disruption and turbulence, how to look and plan ahead? This calls for futures / foresight methods with next generation learning & thinking built in. 
  • Aug 25th: Pandemic-city 3.0:  the post Covid-19 urban agenda, ‘from crisis to transformation’ (hosted by the South African Centre for Cities).
  • July 10th: Smart-wise-cities 3.0: building the CHAI – ‘Collective Human-Artifical Intelligence’ – with the International Smart City Forum (hosted at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference Shanghai).

Lo-co-gov-3.0

new models for ‘collective local intelligence’

Tuesday October 20th – 1600-1730

Online

(in association with the Looper – www.looperproject.eu )

Many around the world have voted to ‘take back control’ – but what is this ‘control’ and where is it taken? Recent work on collective local intelligence shows the opportunities and challenges, in transforming from top-down ‘government’ to a more synergistic ‘co-governance’.

This is the agenda of theLo-co-gov-3.0′:  more than just smart tech-enabled government, it’s about how people and organizations and public services can learn and think together, and create new ways of living and working – an overall collective local intelligence.  

This Conversation has 3 main aims:  

  1. Test a practical model for ‘collective intelligence-3.0’ in ‘local collaborative governance’; with the practical question of ‘community trusts’ for land / housing / ecosystems: (ownership, stewardship, collateral, management etc).
  2. Map the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and possible ways to turn crisis into opportunity;
  3. Outline practical steps to take this forward:  i.e. research / policy programs, funding, networks;

As ever the session aims to turn insights into action – for policy, research, business and grassroots action …

It also draws on insights from the new book Deeper-City-Collective-Intelligence-and-the-Pathways-from-Smart-to-Wise,

The session also follows on the launch conference of the Looper, SUNRISE, Cities-4-people and Metamorphosis projects – welcome to join this on https://www.polisnetwork.eu/event/mobilising-mobility-towards-sustainable-mobility-one-neighbourhood-at-a-time/

Panel:  Beth Perry, Univ of Sheffield: Jonas Bylund – JPI Urban Europe: Karen Lucas, Univ of Manchester: Andy Karvonen – KTH Stockholm: Evelyn Gustedt – ARL Akademie fur Raumforschungund und Landesplannung: Patrick Hanfling, Manchester City Council

Flyer Lo-co-gov-3.0 – flyer

Materialslo-co-gov-3-0-materials and –  Looper-summary-brochure

Registration –    https://www.eventbrite.com/e/lo-co-gov-30-tickets-123021904829

Green New Deal 3.0

‘towards a collective green intelligence’

Friday October 30th (“30-10-20”): 1400-1530 UK time

Online

The pandemic showed for the first time this century, a different kind of city, one with clean air and human-scale streets….

this is the agenda of the Green New Deal, not just to cut CO2, but to transform towards prosperity and sustainability. But we are surrounded by conflict and division – as 8 billion people all try for economic growth on one small planet, some argue for technology, others for markets, finance, regulation, lifestyle or cultural transformation….

We need ways to fit these together, to realize the potential synergies, and to map the pathways towards them.  We need to step up the ability for collaborative learning and thinking – a kind of ‘collective green new deal intelligence-3.0’. And it seems the ideas from Deeper City have some useful insight here…

Again we explore around four key questions:

  • What problems and system challenges have surfaced with the global pandemic?
  • Which possible futures and scenarios lie ahead (i.e. not already in the textbooks)
  • What opportunities and synergies for new models based on collective intelligence?
  • Which pathways and strategies could take these forward & what next steps?

This Mind-Lab is both visionary and practical.  While there are countless topics on policies, technologies etc, we look for the fundamentals of how things work (or not).  Overall this aims towards a continuing international research & policy program on a Green New Deal 3.0.

PanelSarah Davies, Environment Agency: Paty Romero-Lankao, National Renewable Energy Laboratory & Univ Chicago: Suresh Rohilla, Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi: Sayeed Mohammed, Arab League for Climate Change, Doha:Tatiana Fernandez, Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona: Henry Leveson-Gower, Defra & Promoting Economic Pluralism

FlyerGreen-new-deal-3.0 – flyer

Materials – Synergistics – visual guide – zero-carbon cities 

Registrationhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/green-new-deal-30-tickets-119864334451 

Bioregional 3.0

rethinking the socio-eco-city

Friday 23rd October – 1700 UK time (0900 PDT)

Online

(hosted by Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexicali).

This session is about the learning-thinking city-region, in touch with its ecological-cultural roots – a ‘bio-regional 3.0’. 

But all around there are other powerful forces – global finance and supply chains, international migration, extraction and privatization of water and energy and materials, and meanwhile the growing vulnerability of cities to every natural disaster – fire, flood, drought, heat, storm, tide and hurricane…..

So the bio-region has never been so crucial and so challenging.  We need to raise the game, to explore the potential of social innovation & policy learning, for a ‘collective bio-regional intelligence’

So we focus on leading questions, in the North American context –

  • starting from the typical system of exclusion and fragmentation, how can a ‘collective bio-regional intelligence’  work? 
  • Can this connect between social, technology, economic, ecological, political and cultural forces? 

We look forward to discussion leading towards action…

Panel: coming shortly

Materials: bio-regional & eco-urban materials

LInk to live feed: https://www.facebook.com/fadmexicali/  (no registration needed)

 

Foresight 3.0 in action

making sense of ‘unknown unknowns’

Thursday Nov 12th 1330-1530 (UK time)

online, hosted by the Moscow Higher School of Economics

This is a follow up session to the first Foresight 3.0 in September.

Many cards are up in the air with the pandemic – a ‘hyper-wicked’ problem, with deeper threat multipliers all around. How to manage such transformations, and steer from crisis to opportunity? Can we envision a next-generation practice of futures and foresight? Such a Foresight-3.0 follows the principles of collective intelligence, both within the foresight process, and for the transformations around it.

This interactive dialogue or Mind-Lab explores a post-pandemic ‘foresight of foresight’, and practical pathways towards it.  It’s also a launch of Deeper-City-Collective-Intelligence-and-the-Pathways-from-Smart-to-Wise – which brings some first thoughts on Foresight 3.0.  The session follows from the first Foresight 3.0 in September,  and continues to develop a program of dialogue and research / policy. 

Panel:  Prof. Ozcan Saritas, HSE Moscow: Prof. Ian Miles, Univ. Manchester: others to be confirmed

Materials –  flyer, program, background papers on foresight 3-0 materials

Information: this session is hosted at the 10th academic conference on Foresight and STI Policy, at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, Moscow  https://issek.hse.ru/en/forsconf-2020/

Registration https://issek.hse.ru/en/forsconf-2020/polls/405651180.html

 

 

Post-Covid-Design-3.0

planning for pandemic distance

Wednesday November 5th – 1400 (World Planning Day)

Online 

The pandemic impacts and lockdowns have sucked the life-blood from our cities, and divided them into zones of safety and danger. There are massive effects on local economies, jobs, transport, housing, schools, and the most vulnerable are the hardest hit.  If the pandemic continues, how to live with it: or if contained, how to turn the crisis towards transformation?

Many aim for a cleaner, greener city – but all around there are other forces, of gentrification, financialization, exclusion, surveillance…

Urban planning and design is then on the front-line – way beyond rule-books, maybe more like a catalyst, for mobilizing some kind of ‘collective urban intelligence’, where people and communities can learn, think, collaborate, create and produce…. 

To explore this we focus on one leading question –

  • how can urban planners / designers contribute to the post-covid restructuring, from neighbourhoods to city-regions, and from physical layers to social, economic, ecological and cultural values?

This session has three main aims –

  • Map the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on urban systems, and the planning & design response;
  • Explore how ‘collective urban intelligence’ can help to turn crisis into opportunity & transformation;
  • Outline steps to take this forward: research / policy programs, funding, methods, resources, networks & communities;

The session is highly interactive, with online pre-event materials and post-event reports. We look forward to discussion leading towards action…

The session is highly interactive, with online pre-event materials and post-event reports. We look forward to discussion leading towards action…

Flyer:   world-town-planning-day-webinar-the-paradox-of-planning-implementation/

Materials:   pandemic design materials

Registration:   WPD registration

 

 

 

Food 3.0

hi-tech innovation + local-tech wisdom

Note – due to the pandemic situation this date is re-planned for early 2021 – aiming for blended on-site / online interaction

London & online

The global food system is the greatest single disruptor of climate and ecosystems, with growing gaps between the under-fed and over-fed.  The principles of collective food intelligence can help to design global-local agri-food systems, which combine new technology with ancient wisdom, with new kinds of socio-eco-enterprises.

The principles of agro-ecology and food democracy are now established – but to make them work we need collective intelligence in finance, trade rules, supply chains, land management, urban-rural linkages and so on.  (For post-Brexit UK this is especially topical…)

As for Food 3.0 – we can begin by mapping some different Modes of systems organization –

·         ‘Mass’ food in a Mode-I industrial production system;

·         ‘Smart’ food, a Mode-II system of finance, innovation, lifestyles: along with displacement, expropriation, depletion etc;

·         ‘Wiser’ food, a Mode-III combination of eco-efficient production, social responsibility and well-health, linking global chains with local livelihoods.

This first scoping Mind-Lab will build on the agro-ecology and similar movements:  we will use the synergistic methods and tools, to explore new inter-connecting opportunities and pathways towards action.  

(hosted by ‘the world’s most sustainable food company’ – Alara Wholefoods

Panel – coming shortly

Flyer – coming shortly

Materials –   Synergistics – visual thinking guide – Food-III

Registration – coming shortly – (to register an interest visit www.urban3.net or contact joe.ravetz@manchester.ac.uk)

Smart-wise cities 3.0

towards a CHAI (‘collective human-artificial intelligence’)

Friday December 4th 1300-1430

Online

Can smart technology save cities which are congested, polluted and falling apart? Or if technology is part of the problem, what other pathways are possible?

The smart city is here but ‘unevenly distributed’. We have traffic lights which see us coming, and toilets which check our health.  We also have smart cities in the service of political surveillance, corporate data extraction or extremist hijack.   Manchester for example has pioneered digital city systems for 30 years, but one result so far is the rising numbers of hungry, homeless, depressed, abused and excluded.

This workshop explores some grand challenges with topical case studies:

          How can ‘smarter’ technology systems work with ‘wiser’ human systems?

          How can ‘smart-wise’ systems resist corporate data extraction or the ‘surveillance state’

          How to map or design the pathways from ‘smart to wise’?

Panel: coming shortly

Materials:  Synergistics – visual guide – Smart-Wise Cities 

Registration:   smart-wise-cities-30-tickets

 

Peri-cene 3.0

climate-proofing the city-between

Friday December 11th : double session 0900 (eastern) and 1700 (western time zones)

Online

Global urban expansion and its destructive effect is well known – but the ‘peri-urban’ hinterland, the areas between and around cities, is even more challenging.  Many such areas are like ‘anti-city-regions’ –  uncontrolled sprawl, pollution, inequality, disruption and disconnection of many systems – social, economic, ecological, political.  And then climate change throws another wild card into the mix…

This workshop explores the Peri-cene, the peri-urban side of the global Anthropocene.  The Peri-cene project – https://peri-cene.net/ – works with a Policy Lab of 21 case studies.  We look at the material facts of peri-urban development and climate change, and also the synergistic effects of wider / deeper social, cultural, political dynamics. Again the synergistic method is a guide to the key questions:

  • What problems and system challenges have surfaced with the global pandemic?
  • Which possible futures and scenarios can we see ahead?
  • What opportunities and synergies for new models can we envision, based on collective intelligence?
  • Which pathways and strategies could take these forward, and when / where are the next steps?

This workshop is part of the Peri-cene project – http://peri-cene.net – and its Policy Lab of 21 partner cities around the world.  Others with an interest in peri-urban / climate challenges & pathways are also very welcome.

Panel: Joe Ravetz, Uthra Radhakrishnan (IIT Madras), Prof. Chella Rajan (IIT Madras), Andy Karvonen (KTH Stockholm): others to be confirmed

Materials:  http://peri-cene.net

Registration: coming shortly (to register an interest please visit www.urban3.net)

 

 

Previous Conversations

Deeper Covi-City 3.0

Friday Sept 11th – 1300-1430

online 

Many cards are up in the air with the pandemic – and the future of cities is crucial.  Should we expect divided cities policed by surveillance cameras and paramilitaries?  Or can we realize the aspirations for clean air and social inclusion? How to turn the urban crisis towards transformation?

This interactive Mind-Lab explores the post-pandemic ‘Deeper Covi-City’ – one where the many layers of economies, technologies, cultures, psychologies, and social systems all connect.  

It’s also a launch of the new book – 

Deeper-City-Collective-Intelligence-and-the-Pathways-from-Smart-to-Wise,

with a road-testing of ideas by online visual dialogue, for a concept proposal for international funding. 

With: Joe Ravetz, University of Manchester UK

Panel (from east to west): Sheila Sri Prakash, Shilpa Architects, Chennai: Christina Garzillo, ICLEI:  Maria Cerreta, University of Naples: David Rudlin, URBED:  Rachel Cooper, ICA, Lancaster University: Ulysses Sengupta, Manchester School of Architecture: David Feeney, Chief Planning Officer, Leeds: Peter Marcotullio, City University New York.

Materials –   Deeper covi-city-3.0 – flyer – & briefing paper on Pandemic 3.0

Registration –  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/deeper-city-30-tickets-115378233402

 

Anti-city-region 3.0

Friday Sept 18th – 1200-1400

online 

‘Engaging Cities, but not as we know them’: collective peri-urban intelligence in a fragmented world. 

(hosted by the Auroville Institute for Sustainable Architecture, with the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability: both in Tamil Nadu, India).

On a global scale, the challenge of urban development is a peri-urban problem, with huge populations now in harm’s way – extreme heat and wildfire, sea level rise and hurricanes, flooding and water stress of all kinds… And the pandemic is not making this any easier….

It seems that conventional models of ‘resilience’ or ‘adaptation’ are not enough in the face of deeper and wider challenges – we need transformational models to get the science/tech, economics, politics, culture and psychology all working together – a kind of ‘collective resilience intelligence’.

This session is the third in a larger program ‘the City & its Region’, organized by the Auroville Institute for Sustainable Architecture, together with the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability, Tamil Nadu, India

It’s also a launch of the new book –  Deeper-City-Collective-Intelligence-and-the-Pathways-from-Smart-to-Wise,

with a road-testing of ideas by online menti-meter…

With: Joe Ravetz, University of Manchester UK

Panel: Joe Ravetz, (UOM), Uthra Radhakrishnan, Sudhir Chella Rajan (IGCS) (host Christopher Woiwode, Lalit Bhati (AISA)

Flyerhttps://www.facebook.com/EngagingCitiesInitiative/ 

Materials: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fnvztutg85k8k1j/AACqlche8HgcoQcdGpe8f19va?dl=0

Registration: https://www.facebook.com/EngagingCitiesInitiative/ 

 

Pandemic-City 3.0

Tuesday Aug 25th 1000-1230 (SAST)  (0900-1130 UK time)

Online – see registration link below

The post Covid-19 urban agenda ‘from crisis to transformation’

Hosted by the South African Cities Network and University of Witwatersrand School of Governance

In combination with the book launch – 

Deeper-City-Collective-Intelligence-and-the-Pathways-from-Smart-to-Wise

The pandemic impacts and lockdown responses have sucked the life-blood from our cities. If the pandemic continues, how to live with it? If it is contained, will cities just bounce back to the old ways, or just possibly forward to some kind of transformation?  This is the agenda of the Pandemic-City-3.0:  not only public health, but also economies, technologies, governance, urban design and so on. We look for possible synergies and transformations in each of these, based on collective intelligence, i.e. deeper and wider learning and thinking, between all concerned.

This first session is hosted by the South African Cities Network and the University of Witwatersrand School of Governance. The focus is on Southern Africa but the session is open to others interested in the bigger picture.

MaterialsPandemic-City-3.0 – flyer

Briefing papers on Pandemic 3.0   & Dealing-with-covid-19-in-the-towns-and-cities-of-the-global-south/

Registration –  Pandemic-City-3.0 -ResponsePage

For more information please contact Sadhna Bhana at sadhna@sacities.net or 082 505 0669

.

Foresight 3.0

Friday Sept 4th 1300-1430

online

Many cards are up in the air with the pandemic – a ‘hyper-wicked’ problem, with deeper threat multipliers all around. How to manage such transformations, and steer from crisis to opportunity? Can we envision a next-generation practice of futures and foresight? Such a Foresight-3.0 could follow the principles of collective intelligence, both within the foresight process, and for the transformations around it.

This interactive dialogue or Mind-Lab explores a post-pandemic ‘foresight of foresight’, and practical pathways towards it, using online visual dialogue.  

It’s also a launch of Deeper-City-Collective-Intelligence-and-the-Pathways-from-Smart-to-Wise – which brings some first thoughts on Foresight 3.0.  The agenda is open to follow up and new initiatives.

Panel:  Ian Miles, Effie Amanatidou, Ozcan Saritas, Geci Karuri-Sebina, Sohail Inayatullah, Gill Ringland, Rafael-Monika Popper, Sudhir Chella Rajan, Cat Tully, Clem Bezold, Angela Wilkinson, John Robinson,

The follow up event is now in preparation at the Russian Higher School of Economics international conference on Foresight – November 12th – details shortly

Materials –  Foresight 3.0 – flyer  Deeper City – 9-4 – Foresight-III

Registration –  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/foresight-30-from-crisis-to-transformation-tickets-115369298678