I have just returned from a conference at the University of Malta organised by the EU COST Action on Cyberparks which I am participating in. The conference was on the theme of the I-city, enhancing places through technology and featured keynotes reflecting on and critiquing the notion of the ‘Smart City’ from different disciplinary and methodological perspectives and with reference to projects taking place across Europe. Valletta, where the conference took place, is going to the European Capital of Culture in 2018 and one of the presentations was from the Foundation team, offering some interesting insights into how preparations would focus on technologically-driven community regeneration.
Discussion in the parallel sessions which followed was organised around three tracks (Digital Methods and Social Practices; Ethnographic challenges; People, spaces and technology) led by COST Action members. The organisers also organised two field visits for us, looking at how technology is being used for the regeneration of public spaces and historical building in Valletta. Following the conference, I also participated in the working group meetings for the project, where discussion centred on dissemination and networking, and plans for future collaborations between members.
This was the second COST Action meeting I have attended so far and it was good to see how the project and collaborations between members are progressing. I have learned a great deal from working alongside colleagues from a diverse range of disciplines and cultures, and hope I will be able to attend the next meeting, which will be in Skopje in Macedonia in October. As well as myself, FMC Visiting Fellow Sue Thomas is also involved in the Cyberparks project and in addition to being a working group member is also on the project’s Editorial Board.