In June 2015, Google introduced Sidewalk Labs, an incubator which focuses on solving urban problems through technology. Sidewalk Labs further invested in Intersection, a company which seeks to create bonds between citizens and the cities they live in around the world.
As Larry Page says, “By improving cities, we can improve the lives of billions of people.” Under the leadership of former New York City mayor Daniel Doctoroff, these teams have taken on the task of spreading Link NYC, a project which turns old pay phones into free charging and WiFi stations.
American citizen activist Jane Jacobs once declared that it is not nations that lead economic development, but cities. Cities have the diversity to create demand, develop new products and services, and generate employment. This ability of cities to create (i.e., the Jacobs Effect) is best realized through bottom-up efforts by citizens and communities, rather than top-down from the government.
Companies like Sidewalk Labs are trying to leverage diverse knowledge and social capital to spur innovation in cities from the bottom up. In other words, they are aimed at citizen-centric urban innovation powered by citizen participation.
Urban innovation is still a large problem in Japan. Many academic institutions and professional service companies have published urban innovation rankings, but Japan has yet to crack the top 10 in most of them. On the bright side, however, Japan has much room for improvement.
As the hubbub surrounding the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics has made painfully clear, Japan’s major cities are in need of a redesign. Until now, however, Japan’s citizens have left city design to the powers that be. Google’s new projects should teach us that companies and citizens need to work together to create cities, and governments should act to support this new cooperative relationship.
At the 9th Topos Conference, we welcome a researcher in urban sociology, Professor Saskia Sassen of Columbia University; the creator of the concept of “edge cities”, Professor Joel Garreau of Arizona State University; one of the proponents of living labs, Bror Salmelin of the European Commission; President Hirofumi Nomoto of Tokyu Corporation; Vice President Takeshi Nakawake of Nikken Sekkei; and President Masao Hosoo of Kyoto’s well established Hosoo Corporation, to join us as we discuss the future of urban innovation in Japan.
|Wednesday, November, 18, 2015, 13:20 to 20:30 (doors open 12:20)|
Roppongi Hills Mori Tower 49F, Academy Hills Tower Hall
Address: 6-10-1 Roppongi, Minato-ku, Tokyo [Map] Phone：03-6406-6649
World Wise Web Initiative
Sponsors: TKC Group Limited
Fukoku Mutual Life Insurance Company
Kozo Keikaku Engineering Inc.
Co-sponsors: National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS)
Fujitsu Research Institute, Ltd. (FRI)
|Admission||JPY20,000 (tax incl.)|
Japanese, English (simultaneous interpretation)
※Subject to change
|13:30-15:00||Dialogue session 1|
|15:00-16:20||Dialogue session 2|
|16:35-18:00||Dialogue session 3|
※Speakers subject to change, listed alphabetically
Lincoln Professor of Law, Culture and Values, Arizona State University
Former reporter and editor, Washington Post
Executive VP and member of the board
Adviser for Innovation Systems
DG CONNECT, European Commission
Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology
Department of Sociology, Columbia University
Mayor of Kawasaki
Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography
Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY)
Professor, Tama Graduate School of Business;
Professor emeritus, Hitotsubashi University;
Topos Conference Committee
FRI Economic Research Center/Practical Knowledge Research Center
Web: Topos Conference inquiry form
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