Urban Future Conference March 2016

fourLINK Blog

Urban Future Conference: March 2016 in Graz, Austria

10th March 2016

Urban Future Conference 2016 Graz Austria

Sustainable ideas stream at the Urban Future Conference

We have recently returned from the Urban Future Conference which was a two-day event held in Graz, Austria. The annual event attracts over 1600 delegates from all over the world to discuss urban issues facing our world.

It is widely understood that change in the city is necessary: in fact, change is inevitable. The Urban Future Conference serves in speeding up the concept of inevitable change through supporting the best and most sustainable ideas stream. This was the message from Siegfied Nagl the Mayor of Graz,  – a very considerate host – when he was explaining why he choose to support the event.

Implementation Methods in the Urban Future

A key question was the implementation methods: what are the tools to really speed up the process in developing our cities? There were a number of answers:

a) the conference networking, through the large number of stakeholders and experts in the field.

Thomas Pucher an Austrian signature architect presented the necessary tools that are the roadmap to implement through providing:

b) projects, and then setting up the

c) finances.

The climate questions were focused on what would happen if we in the EU – as well as the rest of the world – do not develop our cities relevant to the pace of becoming a more technologically (and in other aspects) advanced society.

The Urban Future Projects (B platform) already deals with 60 smart projects which are scattered around 30 cities all over the globe. The financial fund is available as well (C platform).

The city is the place of choice for living for today’s mankind. The quality of that life depends a lot on the developmental stage in which the city has evolved. It is not simply about the megacities. The EU, for example, is itself formed by many, many towns and cities of varying sizes. In order to tune with the current transformation which is taking place, all city delegates need to participate in the processes of the city development.

The Change

The inevitable change is happening: the keynote speaker Jonathan MacDonald provided a breath-taking insight and inspiration about how to deal with the change itself. “When the winds of change are blowing some build a wall and others build a windmill” – Chinese proverb.

When the personal or professional change comes, do you build a wall and hope that the wind will pass you? Or do you build a windmill and use the power of the change to your benefit? Let’s perceive the change as a power; as a fuel.

In this Chinese proverb the KNOWING is equal to the wall and the ACTION is equal to the windmill. Adjusting the meaning of the change to the contemporary perception is the biggest change we see is this technological overpowering; overpowering up to the point where we could even ask ourselves could we lose the humanity in it? There is no point in sustainability if we lose the humanity.

The Lectures and Workshops

The Urban Future Conference prepared a complex platform where a participant could pick from a range of 36 lectures and 5 workshops in the four different fields: mobility, living & city planning, resources, communication.  The busy, yet at the same time relaxed atmosphere was enhanced by the variety of the themes.

Through this approach with a variety of themes, a real interest and exchange of ideas was encouraged. One could take his/her personal time and pace to explore more of a particular subject.  In the workshops one could really feel the influence that such a conference emits.

The participants in the Copenhagen Climate Plan workshop led by Per Boesgaard were presenting the climate and sustainability issues from all over the globe: Canada, Shanghai, the EU Commission and EU private / public sector. The events in the Conference were an opportunity where one could sense the latest streams on the movements in the sustainability field.

It is the time to further deepen the sustainability discussion…