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"UnBox LABS 2014 will provide a space for cross cultural dialogue and exchange of ideas to help channel existing knowledge and develop new prototypes for future cities."
The UnBox LABS 2014 seeks to catalyse cross-disciplinary projects that are built on collaborations and dialogue, through an immersive, hands-on lab experience over 10 days. Seventeen creative practitioners and researchers from the UK, along with twenty creative practitioners and researchers from India, will collaborate on and initiate exciting projects that respond to the challenges of our urban futures. The projects will centre around the broad theme of 'FUTURE CITIES', with participants exploring ideas and developing responses to the challenges of our futures cities.
The project is a collaboration between UnBox, British Council, the AHRC, Science & Innovation Network, supported by the REACT Creative Economy Hub.
UnBox LABS 2014 will see participants group together to work in small teams, along with local mentors and advisors, on-site in India at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad.
The UK creatives were selected from an open application process and represent a diversity of disciplines, including design, architecture, data visualisation and interactive arts. They are: Melissa Sterry, Design scientist & futurist, Bionic City; Julia King, Urban Researcher & Architectural Designer; Patrick Stevenson-Keating, Founder, Studio PSK; Dan Watson, Lead Designer, Satellite Applications Catapult; Carlo Zapponi, Data Visualization Specialist, Nokia; Louise Armstrong, Snr Sustainability Advisor, Forum for the Future; Ben Eaton, Co-director/lead digital creative, Invisible Flock ; Cassie Robinson, Director, Point People; Ben Barker, Co-Founder, PAN Studio.
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"Asking, how society will tackle the energy challenges of the future?"
The Future of Energy will welcome over 200 attendees from across the globe to discuss, analyse and debate the topic of energy in all its breadth and glory. Speakers and panels will be made up of politicians, economists, architects and engineers, all sharing their knowledge and expertise, showcasing the latest innovations and practises.
Philip Mawby, Professor of Power Electronics, University of Warwick
Reiner Grundmann, Professor of Science & Technology Studies, University of Nottingham
Martin Orrill, Head of Energy Technology & Innovation, British Gas Business Services
Melissa Sterry, Design Scientist and Futurist, Bionic City
Melissa Sterry, a design futurist and scientist, has also been considering the worst-case scenarios that climate change may wreak on our built environment. But she’s imagining a very different 2030 in which the concept of retrofitting has itself become redundant, with cities – taking cues from the ways natural ecosystems recover from disaster – are able to self-repair and sustain.
Ms Sterry argues that the key to progressing debate around housing sustainability is to get away from siloed and top-down models and to focus on involving end-users – in short, to take a more systems-based approach that focuses on social as well as technological solutions.
‘Housing associations often work with people at the low end of the economic spectrum,’ she says. ‘These people [have] had to buy services from an external system over which they’ve had little control. Increasingly people will be able to become part of that system, to be integrated and to use means other than money, including skills and expertise, and become part of research and design processes.
‘If you’re a big housing association, it’s absolutely the time to be looking at these disruptive models,’ she goes on. ‘You could save time and money, but also explore a model that would serve your end-user much better than some of the things you’re currently doing.’
Does this all sound a bit “blue-sky”? Ms Sterry admits that some of theideas she’ll be discussing represent ‘the outermost extremes’, but suggests housing audiences’ ‘smart people’ are often receptive to radical ideas they can move towards incrementally.
Exert from the feature 'Looking Forward' in the Autumn 2013 Issue of Sustainable Housing magazine.
"combining entrepreneurship, technology and science to re-work cities for the future."
Re: Work Cities, taking place on December 13th 2013, in Wapping, London, will combine entrepreneurship, technology and science to re-work cities for the future. Showcasing the opportunities of accelerating technologies and their impact on our urban areas, the summit features keynotes and presentations from 30 the world’s leading technologists and decision-makers and covers topics including Big Data, 3D Printing, Synthetic Biology, Robotics & Sensors, Internet of Things, Self-Assembly and Nanotech.
Speakers include Christine Outram, Founder, City Innovation Group; Philipp Rode, Executive Director, LSE Cities; Fahim Kawsar, Director, Scalable Systems Research, Bell Laboratories; Gilles Retsin, Co-Founder, Softkill Design; Erik Schlangen, Chair of Experimental Micromechanics, Delft University of Technology; Neil Spiller, Dean, School of Architecture, Design and Construction at University of Greenwich; Andrew Hudson-Smith, Director of the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London; Melissa Sterry, Design Scientist & Futurist; Enrico Dini, Chairman, D-Shape.
The abstract for Sterry's keynote reads:
Beyond Material Boundaries: Exploring the city as more than the sum of its material parts, Melissa will question some of the most fundamental assumptions commonly made about future cities. Drawing on her research into the city as a complex regenerative and adaptive system that mimics biological resilience strategies to worst-case natural hazard events, she will present how the ilk of big data, 3D printing, synthetic biology and self-assembly could enable a city that exits far beyond current material boundaries. Melissa will discuss how leading-edge science, technology and thinking could contribute to manifesting some of the most radical future city visions of the past, before presenting an overview of her Bionic City® project and some of the models she's researching and developing within it.
For more information visit the link above.
"We’re seeing the emergence of what are perhaps best described as ‘Case Study Cities’; city-scale laboratories designed to road-test new thinking and new technologies, but do so in a real-world context that not only accommodates disruption, but actively encourages it."
The future city is an elusive concept, says Melissa Sterry. Cities are humanity’s most complex creation and, until recently, predicting their future was no more than guess work. However, Melissa notes the emergence of what she describes as ‘Case Study Cities’ – city-scale laboratories designed to road-test new thinking and new technologies in a real-world context.
"What is comfort, how can we re-think comfort and what is the future of comfort?"
'The importance of sustainability is challenging our idea of comfort. How can architects enter this debate' is the question the Oslo Architecture Triennale will be exploring this autumn.
'Sustainability is universal and has, over the years, infiltrated all phases of how we construct our surroundings. The main conference of the OAT 2013 will focus on one of the most important conditions for the further development for production of architecture and cities. How can comfort be understood as a driver for the development, and how can comfort be regarded as premises for succeeding with sustainable goals? What alternatives can architecture provide?
By and large, the quest of “sustainability” consists in finding ways to minimise energy consumption, while maintaining the current level of domestic and social amenities, and even increase them. The latter is often confused with development. Our claim is that comfort must be understood as a condition. Sustainability cannot be discussed without discussing comfort at the same time. In which ways have and will the architects and architecture contribute to the development of the term?
Speakers include Carolyn Steel, architect, lecturer and writer, University of Cambridge (UK); Alfredo Brillembourg, founding partner, Urban Think Tank (VEN) and professor at ETH Zûrich; Minik Rosing, professor of geology, Natural History Museum of Denmark (DK); Chris Reed, principal, Stoss Landscape urbanism and Adjunct Associate professor at harvard GSD (US); Melissa Sterry, design scientist and futurist (UK); Domenic Balmforth, director at Susturb ApS (DK). Read more at http://oslotriennale.com
'The Future of Comfort' presented by Design Scientist and Futurist Melissa Sterry on September 20th 2013 at the Oslo Architecture Triennale, Norway.
'Reflecting on one of the American Institute of Architects’ (AIA) Repositioning themes, “Innovate” inspires ideas on building a better world. It brings to mind a new blog series called 'Building as Unusual'. It involves insights that are influencing the discourse of architecture and the built environment'.
“In an era of rapid scientific and technological advancement, the radical ideas of yesteryear are becoming the reality of the present. 3D printing, adaptive architecture, biomimetics, synthetic biology and living technologies are challenging and driving new aesthetics, systems and relationships within the built environment. In her quest to answer the question “how would nature design a city?”, Melissa Sterry has met many of the pioneering figures that are exploring the far-reaching potential of new science, new technology and new thinking within both the cities of the present and of the near and far future. ‘Building as Unusual’ will introduce you to a handful of these figures and their ideas, so that you too can explore some of the exotic new architectural languages that are evolving - and consider how these may help us to build a better world.”
London Real's Brian Rose and artist Alex Ward in conversation with Melissa Sterry, talking futurism, biomimetics, bionic city, 3D printing, medical bionics and more. Listen on iTunes and YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EEe4mDg6Jac
On the evening of July 10th 2013, Design Scientist and Futurist Melissa Sterry will join Jon Turney, author of 'A Rough Guide to the Future', to present the future of post-industrial cities. Chaired by Jurgan Maier, Managing Director of Siemens UK Industry Sector, the event is taking place at The Biospheric Project in Salford, as part of the Manchester International Festival - a biennial international arts festival, with a specific focus on original new work.
Sterry will give a 45-minute presentation on possible future urban scenarios born of emergent and likely future developments in science and technology, including biomimetics, synthetic biology, 3D and 4D printing, hydroponics and information communications technologies.
Throughout MIF13, The Biospheric Project will have a free programme of daily events including talks, tours, film screenings and ‘how to’ workshops, as well as a weekend of activity for families.
"Bionic City talk at Write the Future"
On May 1st 2013 Design Scientist and Futurist Melissa Sterry present 'The Bionic City of the Future' at the Write the Future micro-conference, held at the Royal Society, London. Her talk spanned good and bad practice in futurism; the science of Biomimetics; applications of Biomimetic materials, engineering, architecture and systems in cities; past visions of life-like cities; the importance of gender equality and demographic diversity in city design and planning; the benefits of bringing science and science fiction / scientists and artists together (STEAM); her research journey and the approach, process and ambitions for her Bionic City® project. Other subjects explored at Write the Future included building living interstellar spacecraft; emergent digital media for publishing and film; best practice in science and science fiction writing; humanity's relationship with the living and non-living world about us; the realities of climate change; current and likely future impacts of climate change on ecological systems; whether common themes in science fiction, including teleportation and time travel may ever be viable; the role of science fiction in imagining and building the future. Melissa will be producing a follow-up piece to her Bionic City keynote, in the form a of short science fiction story about the city, which is scheduled for publication summer 2013.
Write The Future is a micro-conference organised and curated by the Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction literature and the Royal Society, London. For a discount ticket of £35.00 use the code: whatthefuture
Fast, forward-facing and fantastically futuristic, Write The Future condenses the best bits of a typical two-day conference into a single afternoon of compelling content, inspired by the life and work of science fiction author, inventor and futurist Sir Arthur C. Clarke.
Wrangling Shamans, Snake Oil and Science Fiction: Arc Magazine editor Simon Ings and New Scientist's Sumit Paul Choudhury.
Kinking Reality and Imagining the Future: award-winning novelist and writer for comics and screenplays Lauren Beukes.
Free Your Words and Your Mind Will Follow. Language as Technology and Ludwig’s Talking Lion: Creative Director at Harper Collins Publishers, Ben North.
The Bionic City of the Future: Futurist and Design Scientist Melissa Sterry.
Botworld. A Printer That Prints Its Own Face, and How The Web Won't Stay Trapped Behind Glass: CEO and Principal at BERG, Matt Webb.
Future Now: A beginners guide to the cutting edge of scientific research: Presentations by Fellows of the Royal Society, London.
Wired (UK Edition), February 2013.
Wired's February 2013 issue asks "How will domestic technology change our homes in the next decade?" Several design experts answer, including Brian Jones - Director of Home Research at Georgia Tech University, Kerstin Dautenhahn - Professor of AI at University of Hertfordshire, Melissa Sterry - Design Scientist and Futurist, Daniel H Wilson - Roboticist and author of Robopocalypse and Amped, Jodi Forlizzi - Assistant Professor of Design at Carnegie Mellon University.
"Systems will control heat, humidity and light as they respond to feedback from sensors. We'll see smart structures that enable us to shift walls, so we can sculpt our space as required. 3D printers will bring a new dimension to DIY: we won't buy good online, we'll buy designs that we download. Many goods will be 'made at home'." Melissa Sterry
"Completely awesome magazine on biomimetics by Melissa Sterry" Mike McCue, Founder, Flipboard
Bionic City magazine, December 2013 issue. Free to view in tablet, smartphone and web formats on Flipboard, with over 98,000 readers and featuring leading-edge developments in biomimetic systems, biotechnologies and bio-inspired concepts for the built environment. Search 'Bionic City' in the 'Tech & Science' section of Flipboard app or website to subscribe.
Scientists from London created the futuristic boudoir based on current technologies, as well as what a study found were the most desired bedroom features.
'With more of us watching TV and using gadgets from our bed it was only a matter of time before technology became part of the bedroom, inside mattresses and even bedsheets. Images showing what the bedroom of the future could like have been created by London-based design scientist and futurist Melissa Sterry, and feature beds that monitor health as someone sleeps and bedsheets that can respond to changes in a sleeper's temperature...'
'The innovations in the futuristic designs were based on the results of a study carried out by The Sleep Council. It asked more than 2,000 people what they most want to see in bedrooms of the future. All the technologies are currently being worked on and developed in research centres across the UK in one form or another. The most-desirable technology, according to the study, was self-cleaning and bacteria-resistant mattresses that can sterilise germs at 47 per cent. In second place, with 42 per cent of the votes, were mattresses and bedsheets fitted with adaptive materials able to heat up when its cold, and cool down automatically when its hot, in response to a person's body temperature.
A third of people want to see smart beds that track vital statistics while a person sleeps, which can warn them if they have an infection, an oncoming cold and even if they're about to have a heart attack. The stats could be shown in real-time on large touchscreens at the end of the bed. Lights that turn on during the winter months to help people wake up in the morning came in fourth at 32 per cent, with floors and fixtures that harvest reusable energy coming in fifth with 24 per cent of the votes.'
Published in the Mail Online, October 25th 2013.
To read more click on the link above.
Bionic City magazine, October 2013 issue. Free to view in tablet, smartphone and web formats on Flipboard, with over 90,000 readers and featuring leading-edge developments in biomimetic systems, biotechnologies and bio-inspired concepts for the built environment.
"Homes is the leading London event for the social and affordable housing sector. Held in partnership with CIH and supported by NHMF, Homes will address the critical strategic and operational issues around asset management, repairs and maintenance, sustainability and retrofit. The first event to unite these areas."
Homes 2013, taking place on November 20th at Excel, London will bring together the latest thinking, practice and policy, as well as showcasing the leading technologies, products and services.
Speakers include Steve Oxley, Editor of Sustain magazine, Michael Newey, President of RICS, Melissa Sterry, design scientist and futurist and Sir Ken Knight, former Chief Fire & Rescue Adviser. For more information click the link above.
Self-Repairing Cities: When Retrofit Becomes Redundant. Fast-forward to 2030 and to an era when from the nano-scale upwards the smart city has come into its own. Buildings now behave like biological organisms and maintain self-sustaining processes, such as passive heat/humidity control, and resource harvesting. Urban infrastructure operates like an ecosystem; its various parts making real-time collective decisions on both the social and environmental changes taking place. Retrofit has become an antiquated concept, as has the notion of 'waste'. The 'paradigm shift' towards new design and production methods, that we speak of today, has already happened - and yet more radical ideas still, are now emerging. What are the new challenges and what are the new opportunities this brave new built environment world presents? Are there any current developments - be they near or far, that could give us any clues? Melissa will explore these questions and more as she introduces us to 'Self-Repairing Cities' of the future. To register for the event visit http://www.homesevent.co.uk
Having generated a readership over over 30,000 since its launch nearly four months ago, Bionic City magazine, which is currently featured on Flipboard.com's homepage, is now available for web, as well as mobile. Click the link above to read on mobile, tablet or PC.
CityCity Magazine is a quarterly magazine about cities around the world.
In her latest feature, titled 'Case Study Cities', Design Scientist and Futurist Melissa Sterry considers possible futures for cities...
“it’s a drag, it’s a bore, it’s really such a pity, to be looking at the board, not looking at the city” sang Murray Head in the Chess concept album hit ‘One Night in Bangkok’ in 1984. The lyrics define the city many know and love, in that they speak of a physical entity; a place defined by amongst other things, ‘bars, temples and massage parlors’. Since time immemorial the city has been conceived as such.
Many are musing over the future of the city, as has been the case for millennia. Not so long ago several futurists speculated that the future city is extra-terrestrial, whether located on the Moon, Mars, floating about the Solar System, or in some far-flung distant galaxy. Today, others speculate that the future city is a megacity – a place to which many millions will migrate in search of new opportunities. Attend any conference about the future city and you’ll hear statistics abound, such as a prediction that by 2050 the population will have reached 9 billion, of which 70% will live in cities and developed urban areas. This statistic, along with so many others, was devised on the assumption that the future will be the exponential expansion of the present.
The future city is elusive; now and then we think we catch a glimpse of it, but like a jaguar slinking its way through dense forest in the black of night, it’s difficult to define. Is the future city in space? Is it super-sized? None of us really know; we’re all best guessing.'
Read more in City City magazine, Issue 2, Summer 2013. For availability contact the publisher via www.citycitymagazine.com
DIY Cities: Post-Industrial Urban Futures, a keynote presentation given by Design Scientist and Futurist Melissa Sterry at 'Future Cities', held on July 10th 2013 at The Biospheric Project, Salford, as part of the official programme of the Manchester International Festival 2013. To read the accompanying speech notes click http://www.slideshare.net/societas/diy-cities-post
Biomimetics for the Built Environment
Bionic City magazine on Flipboard, July 2013 issue. Free to download, with over 19,000 readers. Features leading-edge developments in biomimetic systems, architecture, engineering, construction, planning, design and information communications technologies.
Bionic City magazine on Flipboard, June 2013 issue. Free to download, with over 12,000 readers. Features leading-edge developments in biomimetic systems, architecture, engineering, construction, planning, design and information communications technologies.
A comprehensive guide to the science, art, tools, and deployment of innovation, brought together by two Editors of the prestigious International Journal of Innovation Science, with ground-breaking contributions from global innovation leaders in every type of industry.
McGraw-Hill Professional, Publication Date: Feb 20 2014, ISBN-10: 0071792708, ISBN-13: 978-0071792707, Edition 1
Edited by Praveen Gupta and Brett E Trusko, the Global Innovation Science Handbook comprises 800 pages of insights from "a veritable "Who's Who" of the global innovation world".
Available on Amazon for a pre-order price of £59.09, with free delivery in the UK, the book features a chapter on cutting-edge and likely future developments in Biomimetics, authored by Design Scientist and Futurist Melissa Sterry. Exploring the convergence of innovations in myriad fields, 'Biomimetics: Learning from Life' presents possible developments in healthcare, design, manufacturing, distribution, retail, built environment, communications and business.
US futurist Joyce Gioia joined UK futurist Melissa Sterry to become the latest Mensa members in conversation for the series. Their conversation explored several areas of Melissa’s research, including Biomimetics; the Bionic City® and transferring knowledge embedded in flora and fauna species and ecosystems to applications for the built environment; medical bionics, including neurological prosthetics, and their profound implications for human health and wellbeing - including reframing ageing and perceptions thereof; Resilience Theory and its role in protecting society from natural hazards; smart cities and how emergent ICT is re-inventing both urban and rural dwelling; disruptive innovation as a catalyst for social, cultural and economic change; 3D printing and its potential impacts on individual and community lifestyle choices, business organisation and population distribution; perceptions of place and the merger of the real and the virtual world...
Wired asks a selection of academics and business types for their thoughts on this month's big question: "How will domestic technology change our homes in the next decade?"