A City in Common: Infrastructuring communities with civic tech to address matters of concern

Citizen-led initiatives in Barcelona, Amsterdam and Bristol are currently demonstrating that it is possible to put people at the heart of smart city innovation and technology at the service of society. Tackling matters of concern by appropriating technology, discussing data ownership and privacy, and exploring commoning and sharing dynamics communities can co-create more inclusive, open and resilient cities. This keynote will present a participatory framework and case studies (such as #BristolApproach and #MakingSenseEU) to shed light on how citizens are catalysing a new wave in digital social innovation that challenges existing power structures, amplifies the range of available solutions to urban issues and therefore creates value and opportunities for all.



Mara Balestrini is a Human Computer Interaction (HCI) researcher and a technology strategist. She leads the Research Lab at Ideas for Change, a think tank and consultancy firm advising cities, businesses and institutions on innovation, open and collaborative strategies, civic tech, and exponential growth (see latest frameworks #pentagrowth and #BristolApproach). She is also a project manager at the Fab Lab Barcelona where she coordinates Making Sense, a European project that seeks to empower citizens through personal digital manufacturing applied to the design of environmental sensors. Mara earned a PhD in Computer Science from the Intel Collaborative Research Institute on Sustainable Connected Cities at University College London (UCL). She is a member of the UCL Engineering Exchange and teaches the course “Cities for citizens” in the Master in City Technology at the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC).