Re-imagining Cities Through Urban Innovation

How can we re-imagine the 21st century metropolis? Which urban innovations are helping shape the city of tomorrow? How can cities cultivate an environment for innovation, and should they compete with each other to attract the best talent?

Last week, we teamed up with our member, frog (@frogdesign) to discuss these ideas in a Tweet chat focusing on “Re-imagining Cities through Urban Innovation”.

#Tweet Chat Organizers

New Cities Foundation @newcitiesfound
frog @frogdesign

#Tweet Chat featured guests

Kansara Hackney @Kanhack
Jibreel 2018 A.D. @1812x
Andreas Mehrtens @andreasmehrtens
The Crystal @thecrystalorg
Strawberry energy @e_strawberry
Tia @2050City
Kristina Ilić @_pepermint_
Christopher Swope @cswope
Zainab Imam @zainabimam
Hugo Santillan @Daiguchisan
Wanona Satcher @wajisa
Charles Mann @mrEmannE
Dallas Arts District @DalArtsDistrict
LivingCities @Living_Cities
dsnazarian @dsnazarian
KaBOOM!Verified account @kaboom
David Chang @DavidFernandoC
Mayo Nissen @mayonissen

#Tweet Chat Highlights

How can #urban innovation change the way we live, work & move around #cities?

  • Urban innovations can make information easily accessible and help citizens bring smarter decisions when moving around the city @e_strawberry
  • Urban innovation can help manage urbanization by responding to citizens’ needs more effectively via apps,civic tech @zainabimam
  • We discover new ways every day. That’s what makes #urban#innovation such a fun beat for @Citiscope to cover@cswope
  • But #innovation means different things in contexts. In D.C. solar roof is innovation. In Kolkata, it’s having a roof at all. @cswope

 Is all innovation good for #cities?

  • Through open discourse + conversation on social platforms, public helps determine innovation effectiveness@DalArtsDistrict
  • Urban innovations in service of their citizens are #WhatWorksinCities @_pepermint_
  • Non technological channels are needed to broaden innovation reach. Urban interaction design is community driven.@DavidFernandoC
  • Many don’t have access to tech. Urban innovation is bad if limited to those with access @zainabimam
  • But innovation also can create winners and losers. Ask D.C. taxi drivers what they think of Uber @cswope
  • In a city like NY #uber certainly is more equally accessible compared to curbside waving for cabs. @andreasmehrtens
  • Often innovation creates need that didn’t exist before. Difficult to say it’s only good if solves an existing problem@zainabimam
  • All innovation inherently empowers some while threatening others, necessarily creating contested outcomes. @mayonissen

Should #cities compete to host innovators? Why?

  • Absolutely. Innovation can have economic and social benefits, and cities should be eager to embrace these opportunities.  @thecrystalorg
  • We found that a competitive process often gets #cities thinking and working in new ways, even when not selected as finalists. @Living_Cities
  • Not compete, but collaborate, the overall #prosperity is what matters the most @e_strawberry
  • Attracting innovators multiplies + amplifies culture + spirit of innovation for current city residents @DalArtsDistrict
  • Sharing knowledge, resources and experience between cities can only boost innovations faster. Let’s learn from each other! @e_strawberry
  • Hosting an innovative businesses, cities are boosting their urban economies and creating more #jobs for high profile workers@_pepermint

Do recessions give rise to #urban innovation?

  • Possibly. Job losses are painful, but sometimes spark people to pursue an idea and go their own way. @cswope
  • If necessity is the mother of invention, recession may be a parent to innovation @DalArtsDistrict

Should governments do more to promote #urban innovation?

  • Governments certainly have a role they can play, potentially through tax breaks, employment laws etc.  @thecrystalorg
  • Making the regulations ‘business friendly’, governments can transform whole economies, and encourage#urban#innovations@_pepermint_
  • Cities should promote citizen co-innovation, promoting grass roots adoption – or healthy rejection – of technology @dsnazarian

Do you have any examples of brilliant #innovations that are transforming #cities?

Discover the greatest #urban innovators here!

Check out the highlights movie

Thank You !

Thanks to all our featured guests, and to all others who joined the conversation. We hope to hear from you again in our next Tweet chat session.

You can view more highlights of the conversation on Storify.