Archive for the ‘General’ Category

CoCities Salon Amsterdam

De Verdieping 051
Photo by Juha van ‘t Zelfde – CC by-nc-sa

We have been awfully quiet about our little event in Amsterdam, haven’t we? Apologies for that.

It’s only one more week to the event and while the timing is short, we hope to see many of you at our first iteration of the Cognitive Cities Salon in Amsterdam.

While being silent, we haven’t been idle. It is our combined pleasure to introduce you to the speakers that will engage the conversation about the future of cities at De Verdieping on the evening of June 30th.

James Burke, Co-founder of VURB
Katalin Galayas, Policy Advisor to the City of Amsterdam
Kars Alfrink, ‘Chief Agent’ of Hubbub
Edwin Gardner, VOLUME Magazine

The four of them will present their thoughts on urbanity, technology and how we are in the middle of it all. But the Salons are not intended to give only the speakers the stage. While sometimes it is important to only receive curated information, we are very much hoping for a lively debate at the event. Be challenged by the speakers, but also do your best to challenge them.

A special call for participation for the next IoT workshop by Volume and VURB will be delivered by Vincent Schippers, Alexander Zeh and Caro van Dijk. The workshop is for architects, planners, coders and others interested in prototyping applications for a more writeable city.

The evening will be moderated by Juha van ‘t Zelfde, host of Visible Cities.

Here are the details

Date: 30th of June
Location: De Verdieping
Begin: 19:00 (we will start at 19:30)
End: 22:30
Entrance fee: 10 Euros

Details about the location:
De Verdieping

Please RSVP to our
Facebook Event

We will provide some drinks and snacks, just to make sure that everybody is powered up for a great evening full of conversations.

As always, a big shout out goes to our partners in crime:

Visible Cities
Volume Project

If you feel like it, please spread the word!

Cognitive Cities Salon: Amsterdam

“What’s next for CoCities?”, “When is the next conference?”, “You guys know you’ll have to do another one, right?”

Those are just a few of the questions that we had to answer – or more precisely: to evade – over the last few months. The first iteration of the conference was a full successful, but we needed some time to digest and process. After all, the team was not doing this full time – it was a side project.

After a few months of wrapping our minds around it we decided to push CoCities into the next gear. No, we are not announcing the next big conference, nor are we saying that there will be one. The first conference was a big experiment. We poured our combined experiences from other conferences into one and attempted to create something new. That worked out well, but doing just the same thing over doesn’t seem appropriate.

That’s why we are happy to announce Cognitive Cities Salons today. The first one will be in Amsterdam on June, 30th. More precisely, it will happen at De Verdieping (Wibautstraat 127, Amsterdam).

The general idea behind the salons is simple: create an local event, from locals, for locals – curated by CoCities. Those will be small events, not larger than 100 people. A major part of those events is to find the appropriate partners. Luckily, in Amsterdam we are very well served. To say it with Juha’s words:

30 June is a go! Visible Ciites + Cognitive Cities + VURB + Volume Magazine = OMG Cities!

With VURB, Visible Cities and Volume Magazine, we have a great lineup of partners to create an exciting event for Amsterdam. There will be an entry fee, but we will try to keep that as low as possible.

That is it for the moment. More announcement will be streaming in soon, but we hope to see you soon in Amsterdam.


CoCities is a wrap

Thank you

Photo by Stefan Erschwendner

As we wind down from the weekend, we're rubbing our tired eyes and asking each other “Did this really happen? Did it really exceed all our expectations?”
The answer is – Yes, indeed, it did. We had an absolute blast having you all as our guests. We're super grateful for your participation, your enthusiasm and your feedback.

We're now trying to connect all the conference documentation and artifacts to make sure that the content and conversations continue and expand.

Photos, Videos & Decks

There's a flickr group where you can add your photos from the weekend.
flickr Group

We're working hard on compiling all the video footage and will publish all the talks and videos as soon as possible. We'll let you know when.

Here are some of the presentations on slideshare:

Urban Information Design
by Sami Niemelä

Bananas Pineapples and Mangos
by Dannie Jost

Spice Up Your City: Add OpenGov
by Ton Zijlstra

City analytics
by Matt Biddulph

Networked citizens and the city
by Magnus Christensson for day 2


We don't want to miss the chance to hear from you about what worked and what we could do better next time. So please feel free to drop us a line.

Now we're going to go out, change the city and create something to present at the next conference. We hope you do too.

Talk to you soon

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Congratulations, Scavenger Hunt Winners!

CoCities would like to congratulate the winners of our official scavenger hunt, Team World 5-0! (5-0 is American slang for police.) The winning team, consisting of (from left to right) Kat Hoffman, Victoria Marshall, Henning Knopp, and Louis Belpaire, have a varied background, coming from the U.S., France, and Germany.

Coming up in second place was team Faster Pussycat. Portugal, Germany and the U.S. were represented. Good job guys! Just go faster next time.

For those of you who chose not to brave the cold in the name of glory and fame, you can still partake in the scavenger hunt – just without the  glory. Clues with answers below.

The Hunt (5 points per answer; 2 answers per clue)

  1. Name your team and take a team photo in front of an U-Bahn station sign. (Name; picture)
  2. Who is the renowned female North American urban planning theorist of the 1960s? The first 3 letters of her first name are the first 3 letters of an U-Bahn station. Go to the station 4 stops north of this on the same line. Upon arrival, exit east out of the station and continue until you see the noticeable main attraction. (Theorist; station name)
  3. As you walk through this attraction, notice that the sale of a particular type of item, only sold in pairs, is extremely popular. The first two letters of this item are the first two letters of a trendy coffee shop in very close vicinity. Go to this coffee shop. (Item; coffee shop name)
  4. Here at the coffee shop, a popular item on the menu could also be an apt description for one of Le Corbusier’s most famous buildings. The third letter of the first word of this menu item is also the first letter of a month. On the street named after this month, you’ll find a design bookshop. Go there. (Menu item; name of bookshop)
  5. When you’re here, check-in on Foursquare. (Bonus: topple Third Wave co-founder Johannes K. as mayor for an extra 20 points) Now find the fifth word of the 5th article in the current issue of McSweeney’s. (Screenshot of check-in; 5th word) And while you’re here, why don’t you read up on De Stijl?
  6. Which park shares a name with a style of architecture prevalent in late 19th century Western Europe? One of the streets leading into the park also shares a name with an eminent Swedish film director. Who is this director? (Name of park; name of director)
  7. Near the park is a culinary establishment dedicated to serving Berlin’s unofficially official dish. The name of the establishment includes the year in which Berlin’s Olympic Stadium was built. Instagram a picture of the team in front of this establishment, sign visible, eating one of their dishes. (Name of establishment; screenshot)
  8. Trivia Round: How many times did Warren Ellis take a sip of whiskey during his keynote? Which member of Yourneighbours is not blonde? (Drink of choice; name of non-blonde)
  9. Complete any 2 bonuses
  10. The architect Norman Foster was bestowed with a meritable title for his contributions to architecture in 1990. This title will help you find the name of the street on which your next stop is. There, the 4 letter name of a company that is unofficially known as the eBay of crafts is your answer. (Name of title; name of company)

You should now be a few steps away from the place where we will reconvene – and you’re now ready for your final clue:
Which strait-laced painter would have refused to walk down this street? (Painter’s name)

Bonuses. Completion of a bonus adds points to your score.

  1. Assume Foursquare mayorship of an establishment and add a tip. Screenshots optional – just tell us the name of the place. (5)
  2. Find a born-in-Berlin native (harder than it seems) and interview them on video. Ask them how the city has changed during their lives. (15)
  3. Where is this glass construction? (10)
  4. Take a picture of the team pushing a stroller in Prenzlauer Berg. (5)
  5. What is the name of the practice of determining an object’s geometric properties from photographs? (10)
  6. Take a team picture with Warren, Ben Hammersley, or Adam Greenfield (10)
  7. Receive an @-reply from Warren on Twitter. Send us the link or screenshot (15)
  8. Get Warren to follow a team member on Twitter. Send proof. (50. Each.)
  9. Take a picture of a team member eating a Japanese crepe or Bibimbap. (10)
  10. Record a video of a team member drinking a shot of Absinthe. (15)

Immediate Win if each team member receives an entrance stamp to Berghain. Email picture.


1. –
2. Jane Jacobs, Jannowitzbrucke
3. Boots, Bonanza
4. Flat white, Do You Read Me?
5. –
6. Viktoria Park, Ingmar Bergmann
7. Curry 36
8. 3, Floris Dekker or Guido Schetters
9. –
10. Sir, Etsy
Final clue: Mondrian

Applicable bonus answers:
3. Galeries Lafayette Friedrichstr.
5. Photogrammetry

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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!

Meet Krauted Haus

Here at the conference headquarters, we’re dedicated to our mission to enliven the urban discussion – and that most certainly includes the discourse on the importance of sustainably-grown, locally-sourced food. As dedicated foodies, it’s especially important to us that our catering choices align with that mission.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that the Cognitive Cities Conference will officially be catered by Berlin’s own underground supper club:

Krauted Haus.

Founders Samantha Garfield and Sophie von Oswald (pictured above) put on amazing dinners for those in the know. According to their website, “A week prior to each meal, the menu is released to Krauted Haus’s mailing list subscribers and then published on the website. The first interested parties to RSVP enjoy a multi-course meal and wine, beer or cocktail pairing at prix-fixe.”

For those of us who haven’t yet had a chance to partake, now’s your chance. Take a look at the upcoming menu designed exclusively for us:

8:00 – Breakfast

  • orange juice
  • herb and ricotta omelet roulette
  • zucchini muffins with walnuts and cloves
  • mixed berry salad macerated in lemon, mint, simple syrup and cinnamon

11:30 – Snack

  • homemade peanut and coconut granola bars with soy protein

13:00 – Lunch

  • medley of:

    red lentil hummus
    broiled eggplant and feta
    mediterranean salad with capers, chickpeas, olives and arugula

  • served with sumac and olive oil pita chips

16:00 – Coffee Break

    choice of 2 smoothies:

  • avocado, chili and ginger
  • peach, cantaloupe, soy and almond

*coffee, tea (served with sugar rock candy), bottled water, Bionade, and Club Mate available all day
**vegetarian and vegan options available

We can’t wait.