Archive for February, 2011

CoCities Conference is here

How we got here

When we started the Cognitive Cities blog, it was just a place of a few friends to share their findings about this emerging topic around cities and technology with each other. We are all geeks and were thrilled about the new possibilities of using our smartphones and other gadgets to interact with our urban surroundings.
The more we dived into the field, the more excited we became by the opportunities of all kinds of disciplines involved like architecture, design, mobile, city planning, politics, gardening and technology in general. Finally, being interested in everything made sense. Unfortunately, almost nobody else in Germany seemed to know about this field. So we decided that the best way for us to push it forward was to organize a conference.

It’s really happening

So here we are. Speakers are landing at Tegel all day. We’re making last minute changes to the schedules and adding more details (Did you know that we got Dietmar Offenhuber from the MIT SENSEable City Lab on Saturday afternoon?). The office has been buzzing for the last days and we are realize that it’s going to happen.
Day 1 will introduce you to some of the most interesting thinking around our topic. We already had a look at some of the decks from the speakers and can’t wait for them to present the material. And yes, we will tape it all and put it online afterwards.
Day 2 will be a great encore with all kinds of different events like a scavenger hunt, a screening of Utopia London and many more sessions to listen, share and collaborate.
We will continue to do our best to make sure that you will have a great time as our guests. We want to provide a platform for you to get inspired, make new contacts and push the topic of the future of cities forward. But most of all, we’re really looking forward to meet you all. We hope that this weekend will be a good start for a on-going conversation about the future of cities in Germany and beyond.

We’re honored to have you as our guests. Let’s do this!

Third Wave, Your Neighbours, Martin, Fabian, Markus, Axel, Wiebke, Adrienne

Some last minute updates

We will have coffee and croissants waiting for you behind the registration from 8am on. So no need to grab breakfast before showing up at Heimathafen for day 1.

We will provide list of some of our favorite restaurants around the venue. So if you want to grab a bite between the conference and the party, make sure to sign up so we can book some tables. That’s also a great way to meet more of the other attendees.

CoCities Party
We will end day 1 with a lot of booze at out CoCities party Saturday night around 9pm at Edelweiss in Görlitzer Park. The party is open to everyone so bring your friends and partners.

Schedule for day 2
We have put a schedule for day 1 into your badges. So no need to print it out. For day 2, we have prepared a pdf to download:
Day 2 Schedule

Wifi & Hashtag
The badges also have the wifi password (cocities2011) and the hashtag (#CoCities) printed on them. The buzz around the hashtag is already building up:
#CoCities on Twitter

Public Transport in Berlin
If you come to the Heimathafen via public transport (the station is Karl-Marx-Straße on the U7 line), which we highly recommend, the BVG has a surprise for you. For this weekend, single tickets work as day tickets. So buy one for 2,40 € and you can take the tube and the tram all day.

Keep in contact
Please follow @cocities so we can update you throughout the weekend with latest news and changes.
Also, please sign up for our CoCities newsletter on the home page so we can keep you informed after the conference is over.
If you have any last minute questions, feel free to contact us at at any time.

Sponsor Appreciation Time – smart

No conference works without sponsors. That’s the truth of the game, and everybody knows it. No sponsors, no conference, it’s that simple. Yet it can be hard to find the right sponsors. You need to balance them, try to find those who really fit into what you want your conference to be and that work well overall.

Fortunately, we are in the incredible position to have an outstanding partner for our conference who agreed to act as the sole and exclusive sponsor for our event:


We’re extremely glad about this cooperation.

You see, cities are ecosystems. And one of the big problems of cities is mobility. With cities growing further, we need sustainable methods of transportation. Smart is pioneering solutions to that problem. Their CAR2GO system, for instance, takes “access beats ownership” to the next level. You don’t need to buy that car anymore, which then stands dormant and isn’t utilized properly. Instead, you get to use a car when you need it – and if you don’t need it, others can use it. And with that, Smart suddenly went from car manufacturer to mobility provider.

Of course, there’s always those who have to use their car more often (or just like the concept of ownership) – worry not, smart has you covered. Their leading electric drive series provides a clean, silent and sustainable car which is perfect for cities.

And that’s why they fit so well. That’s why we’re so glad we can have this conversation about the future of cities with their help. So check out their sites.

smart electric drive

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Recommended Restaurants

After Day 1’s events, we know you’ll be hungry post-conference and pre-party. So we’ve rounded up some restaurant recommendations in the vicinity of the conference hall and party venue for a memorable Saturday evening dinner. Here’s our official restaurant map:

View CoCities Recommended Restaurants in a larger map

German Cuisine
Nansen: a small, cozy, and wonderfully charming meat-centric restaurant
3 Schwestern: a huge, fun place for huge, fun groups
Markthalle: good, traditional German food
Little Otik: seasonal menus with an upscale American twist

World Cuisine
Hasir: Berlin’s most famed Turkish establishment
Santa Maria : fresh, authentic Mexican food
Cafe Jacques: French/Mediterranean cuisine by the riverside
Kimchi Princess: Korean BBQ at its finest
Il Casolare: specializing in excellent pizzas
La Raclette: classic French in a romantic atmosphere

Quick Bites
Pizza a Pezzi: pizzas by the slice
Burgermeister: for great burgers
Curry 36: home to Berlin’s official food, the Currywurst
Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap: Berlin’s favorite veggie kebap, right next to Curry 36
Mo’s Falafel: the best falafel in town

Recommended Accommodations

Because Berlin is host to a great number of tourists year-round, hotels fill up quickly. Be sure to book your reservations as soon as you can. Here, we’ve compiled a hefty list of our most recommended hotels:

Circus Hotel & Hostel
Meininger City Hostel & Hotel
easyHotel Berlin
Pfefferbett Hostel
EastSeven Hostel

Hotel Amano
Michelberger Hotel
Cosmo Hotel
Soho House
Hotel Q!

The Weinmeister
Casa Camper
The Mandala Hotel

For those of you looking for an experience off the beaten path, we suggest staying in a holiday apartment. For the price of a hotel room, you can luxuriate in the multi-room quarters of a furnished apartment and live as a Berliner for a few days. Here are our recommendations:

Air BnB
IMA Lofts
Brilliant Apartments

Looking forward to seeing you!

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Announcing Warren Ellis

They say as a conference comes together, there comes a point when the organizers finally let loose and decide to do something crazy and unforgettable. We’re no exception here at CoCities.

Our lineup thus far has exceeded our expectations, but we thought – why not more? Why not a final, mind-blowing surprise for everyone? So we sat down for about two seconds before we got the greatest idea ever:

Warren Ellis

There’s a good chance by now that you’ve stumbled upon his presence at some digital crossroads or landed on his Twitter or his blog, both of which enjoy tremendous popularity – and rightfully so. You may have read some of his comics or novels. Transmetropolitan ring a bell?

Well, now he’ll be our closing keynote speaker at Cognitive Cities. Truth be told, we didn’t expect any of this to happen – the guy’s one of the pre-eminent futurists of our generation, after all. But a tweet and a few emails later, the deal was done.

The lineup for Day 1 is completely set now while Day 2 is filling up nicely. We’ve got some cool things in store.

Looking forward to seeing you there!