Deep City: Climate Crisis, Democracy and the Digital

March 24, 2021 - March 27, 2021
École Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne

Rolex Learning Center

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Big data, smart systems, machine learning – it is inevitable that these new technologies will change the way we study, build and manage our cities. At the same time resurgent interest in consensus and contributive action seems to oppose an exclusively data-driven urbanism. Is the opposition of machine intelligence and democracy inevitable, or are shared trajectories possible?

Politicians, social scientists, urbanists, and architects find their working methods and disciplinary knowledge challenged by insights derived from big data, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). As both citizens and experts in the many respective fields, our mission must be to bring in our disciplinary knowledge and civic engagement to support the appropriate development and discussion of data-driven tools, to consider both their biases and potentials, and to promote broader social literacy and criticality. Ultimately, it is a question of both decanting the technical quality of these new instruments of design, management and decision making, as well as enhancing democratic control over them. How do we do this?  Do our disciplines currently lack adequate strategies to understand, let alone critique or exploit the knowledge-products of machine learning, artificial intelligence and big data?

DEEP CITY will take place on the EPFL Campus in Lausanne, from March 24th to 27th 2021, with parallel and common activities in partner sites Singapore (in collaboration with SUTD Singapore University of Technology and Design) and Hong Kong (in collaboration with Hong Kong University). This social and cultural event will connect different cities and time zones, augmenting the physical experience through the digital and augmenting the digital through a unique approach to the physical. Within this framework, we will host keynotes and paper presentations, as well as a range of crossing formats such as workshops, political debates, table dinners, exhibitions and guided tours to collectively grasp and reflect on the DEEP CITY.


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February 24, 2021, 4:00am CET

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