In the context of current political turmoil, cities and citizens are at the heart of the next great transformation. OuiShare Fest brings together entrepreneurs, thought leaders, grassroots activists and public officials to think critically about digital transformations and to lay the foundations of the future of cities.
The program has been designed to highlight innovative ideas and projects, to make it a unique learning experience and ultimately to spark action. It was conceived by OuiShare in collaboration with its editorial partners: Re:Publica, NewCITYzens and FabCity.
Our workshops, brainstorming, participatory sessions and masterclasses will be focused around four main tracks.
Discover our key programme topics below.
How can citizens help revive our cities and take back power?
With nation-states in crisis, cities are now facing a challenge; can they create networks powerful enough to influence decision-making at a global scale? Cities not only concentrate human capital and wealth, but are centers of innovation. Yet their rising power is also widening the gap between urban and rural areas. A collective response is urgently needed.
Within cities, civic tech is enabling new actors to reconfigure power dynamics. Digital tools are being used to provide transparency and improve decision-making processes in cities, enabling more voices to be heard. Whether this new technological development will truly change the role of citizens and foster their active participation in government remains to be seen. But if Benjamin Barber is right and mayors do rule the world one day, they need to embrace their unifying role and create better alliances with their citizens.
How can digital innovation be used to create shock-resistant cities?
Cities are at the heart of some of today’s most pressing environmental challenges. As natural resources run out, natural disasters are increasing due to climate change. However these problems are not isolated and have political and social consequences, which must be urgently addressed.
Fab cities could be an answer to this: by drastically reducing energy consumption and the transport of materials around the world, Fab Cities are a model for locally productive and globally connected self-reliant cities. Food and energy self-sufficiency, the relocation of production, and the circulation of open data are all solutions for building resilient and sustainable cities. Similar to the interconnected nod image of the physical internet, models of urban resilience need to work in networks that range from the local to the global level.
How can we redesign our social contracts at the city level?
Cities are supposed to be places that are developed and eradicate poverty, yet today they foster exclusion and isolation. Unfortunately, cities will continue to do so if the privatisation of the public space and the development of excluding urban infrastructures isn’t stopped. Public spaces, once open and shared, are shrinking and being equipped with surveillance systems intended to reinforce our ‘sense of security’. In cities, as on the web, our attention has been given a market value, where the most vulnerable are often abused.
Lewis Mumford defines the city as “the theater of social action and the esthetic symbol of the collective unity”, yet today our capacity to relate to each other within cities remains difficult. Many have tried to fix these fractures and inequalities by developing new forms of solidarity. Since the technocratic approach of Smart Cities has failed, it’s now up to us, the citizens, to find ways to transform urban spaces into places that truly promote empathy.
Could decentralized and on-demand services mean the end of cities as we know them?
In 1901, H.G. Wells predicted that mega cities would disappear by the 21st century due to technological innovation in public transport and communications. Yet today, half of the world’s population lives in cities, which are becoming ever more attractive as they expand their infrastructure and services. While these services make cities more appealing places to live, they also raise many questions: Who should be providing these services, the public or private sector? How can accessibility be guaranteed for all? How can we balance the need for efficiency of services with data privacy?
With citizens playing an increasingly prominent role in technological innovation, today is the perfect moment to build and promote the development of more civic platforms that serve the common good.