'Long Live the City', the second version of Designboost, took place in Malmö October 15 - 17. As the name suggests, this year's event focused the city: how to promote its wellbeing and ensure a development which regards as many sustainable criteria as possible. The subheading wrote: 'A city has to first hand make use of its inherent capacity to be sustainable'. Any development mainly founded on resources claimed from elsewhere could be a showcase of 'sustaining the unsustainable'. However, there is one important exception: knowledge resources could be claimed from anywhere and contribute to 'wasted' places within a city becoming part of a positive development. 'Wasted' place are not necessarily rundown areas or deserted industrial estates (to mention a few preconceptions) but also places whose potential; mix of dwellers, location, cultural diversity, quality of buildings etc. is simply unused.
I acted as 'Sustainable Editor' for Designboost 2008. This very special title means that I had the responsibility for the factual content of all communication including the Designboost magazine, excluding signed articles, and the Boost show, the exhibition which is on another 2 weeks.
The event gathered a very professional, international crowd, with about 100 participants in the workshops and another 200 joining for the talks the following day. The media coverage was extensive and predominantly positive. Comments from participants during and after the event were with no exceptions praising. The event is already after two years regarded as very important even if with room for organisational improvements.
A first short conclusion of Designboost 2008 is attached below but one single word describes well what was emphasised in the Boostchats and talks: connectivity promotes the longevity of a city. Connectivity is not merely about physical means of connecting the different parts of a city and its surroundings but also, and probably more importantly, about connceting its future to its history, to ensure that new developments regard and connect to the existing cultural and social environment and that a city facilitates human interaction. Hard values become non-values if they are not combined with soft values.
Retrospective: The first version of Designboost took place on October 17 and 18, 2007.
It focused on many of the key aspects of sustainability and design through workshops (boost-meetings), lectures and panel debates (boost-duels) and an exhibition (boost-happening).
The event got excellent media coverage and was professionally regarded as a success: a step forward with regard to improved ways to 'do conferences': allowing the delegates to be active and the participants to listen to a wider variety of approaches than a conference normally permits. I took part as 'spin-doctor' and was even praised in media for critically analysing and clarifying the existing plethora of denominations. I was further quoted when saying that it is time to learn more about the influence from inside us than to focus merely on the context. Designboost is planned to become a yearly event.
Designboost takes place in Malmo, southern Sweden. Malmo has become a vibrant university town recovering from the setbacks of closing industries and profiting from being adjacent to Copenhagen, only a bridge away!